War of the Rebellion: Serial 082 Page 0350 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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CAMP NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., July 20, 1864.*

I respectfully state that the Coehorn mortars were placed in position on the 11th instant at General Ayres' request to keep down the fire of the enemy that was injuring his men. They staid in position without firing until the 12th, when I gave the orders to receive directions from General Ayres. the delegation of authority from one officer to another is certainly proper in a case like this. General Ayres is a regular artillery officer of experience, and Colonel Kitching, commanding brigade, is colonel of a volunteer artillery regiment, also of experience. At this time I gave the order there were no engineer officers at work in this part of the trenches. Complaints of engineers of the kind asserted by General Hunt, I think, should have seen into it then, if I had not before. I believe I do not neglect my command or my duty. Probably is such statement had been made to the battery commandeers in a respectful manner, to wit, that they were firing unnecessarily and needlessly embarrassing the engineers, they would have stopped at once, or at lest referred the matter to their superior officer The engineers in the trenches compared with my troops are few in number, and it would seem hardly proper or just at this time to make my orders to relate altogether to them. If it is objectionable for me to control my artillery because I draw fire on engineer paries it holds equally good against General Hunt, who might, in the opinion of my division commanders, unnecessarily draw the fire on their men, or neglect to keep down the enemy's batteries.

My chief of artillery cannot, nor can any one man properly direct so many batteries along such a line at any time, especially during an action, and therefore I have given control of the artillery in position to the commander of the troops nearest. I do not agree with General Hunt in many things concerning the management of artillery, but presume a discussion on these points not wanted. I do not think General Hunt right in the tone of his communication, which virtually charges me with bad management, with producing mischief, with discourtesy, &c., which would make me feel very bad if I thought they could be substantiated.




No. 176. July 20, 1864.

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5. In compliance with paragraph 9, Special Orders, No. 191, headquarters Army of the Potomac, July 18, 1964, the following-named regiments and independent companies, the term of service of which expires before August 25, 1864, will at once be put en route for Washington, reporting on their arrival to Major-General Halleck, chief of staff, for further instructions: Eighteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, Companies L and M, Sixty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers.

The re-enlisted men and recruits of the Eighteenth Massachusetts Volunteers will be formed into two companies, under the direction of the division commander and will be officered by such officers whose


* Indorsement on Hunt to Humphreys, July 18, p.318.