ARTILLERY HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 18, 1864.
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: Day before yesterday, whilst on the line in front of the Fifth Corps, the engineer in front in charge of the works reported to me that the unnecessary firing of the artillery of the corps and the consequent return fire needlessly embarrassed and obstructed operations. I immediately gave instructions to Colonel Wainwright, chief of artillery of the corps, to have the matter properly regulated or the firing stopped, if possible, when he stated to me that he had no control over batteries of the corps in position, as they had been transferred to other officers. I then called his attention to the Coehorn mortars which were keeping up a fire more or less continuous, and which not being assigned to divisions were under from General Warren direct to the battery commander. This order, a copy of which I inclose,* was exhibited to me at the battery. It was not sent through Colonel Wainwright.
I respectfully request that the use of all the corps artillery employed on the lines be placed under the general direction of the chief of artillery of the corps, through whom all orders, either from corps commanders, commanders of the trenches, or myself, may be given, and that for the employment of the artillery used in the siege they may be responsible to me. The object of this is not to prevent any proper control by commanders on duty over the use of the artillery, but to secure some system in the operation. An unregulated expenditure of munitions at the discretion of successive commanders, either of divisions or of the trenches, and directed according to their various views, cannot but produce mischief. In this case the control of the mortars at least belongs properly to the chief of artillery of the corps. They form no part of the division field artillery, yet have been transferred to a division commander, and the power delegated to him subdelegated to a brigade commander, who may, with equal propriety, further assign them to a regimental commander of field officer. I deem it, further, proper to call attention to the mode in which this transfer of duties has been effected, as one not merely wanting on courtesy to the chief of artillery of the corps, but as calculated to destroy on the part of his subordinates the respect due to his position and to impair his just authority.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY J. HUNT,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS, July 18, 1864 - 9 a. m.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
There has been no change in the disposition of my command since last report. There are no fatigue details absent from the command now.
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
* See Circular of July 12, p.192.