HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 12, 1864-7.30 p.m.
Gregg reports encountering the enemy in force, cavalry and infantry, behind earth-works, at Reams' Station. No report from the force sent down the plank road. Hancock has sent a division to support Gregg and holds the balance of his corps ready to move. I have no doubt that by to-night the enemy will have all of Hampton's cavalry at the scene of action, supported by one or more divisions of infantry. With a superiority of cavalry it will require all of Hancock's corps, and if the enemy are strongly posted and
re-enforced from Petersburg it may be difficult for him to dislodge them. It becomes a question whether, under existing circumstances, it is judicious to make the attempt now, or whether we had better wait till all of Sheridan's cavalry can be brought to bear and some of our absent troops returned. I should like to have views on this.
GEO. G. MEADE,
CITY POINT, VA., July 12, 1864-8.20 p.m.
The present move is not intended as anything more than a reconnaissance to determine the position and designs of the enemy, and especially to determine if A. P. Hill's corps has left its position in our front. I would not permit any attack against the enemy in an entrenched position. It may be advisable even to direct your troops to start back to-night. What is the distance from Gregg and his infantry support from the other two divisions of the Second Corps? Unless near enough to be readily supported I would certainly direct their return to-night.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 12, 1864-9.30 p.m.
Your directions have been received and the necessary orders sent to Hancock and Gregg. Hancock's two divisions are at the Williams house in front of the left of Warren's line, with pickets on the line he picketed before we contracted our lines. His third division is supporting Gregg, and is down the plank road three miles from the Williams house, and four miles from Reams' Station, in good supporting distance. The last report from Gregg, 6.40 p.m., he had withdrawn from Reams' Station and intended to move down the plank road to Proctor's Tavern to feel the enemy in that direction and ascertain if they had infantry there. He reported to Hancock that he did not require the division sent him. Hancock has been instructed to withdraw the division sent to Gregg to-night, and
to-morrow, after daylight, to withdraw his corps within the line held by the Fifth Corps and ready to support that corps. Gregg is ordered to take a position on the plank road in front of our left, and to picket strongly in front of the left of the infantry and round on his own front.
GEO. G. MEADE,