War of the Rebellion: Serial 082 Page 0416 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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July 23, 1864.

The undersigned, having examined so far as practicable the ground in front of General Butler's line, submit the following: There appear to be two points on the line from which an attack on the enemy's line might be made-the first on the right center, to move to the left of Ware Bottom Church; the second to be toward Port Walthall Junction, the troops crossing Bake-House Creek, near its mouth. The troops for the first attack might be formed within a few hundred yards of the enemy's line in the woods, or might move over to open. They would meet a line of works, much weaker than those held by us, but yet of such strength and so manned as to make success, except by surprise, doubtful. The changes of success are thought to be against us in this attack. The second plan of attack would not permit a surprise as at Port Walthall, as our lines are separated by a considerable distance from those of the enemy. This part of the line is not so well known as the other, but is believed to be continuous, and is known to have abatis in a part of its front; still it is not supposed to be as strong as that part first mentioned. The chances of success are thought to be the same as in the case of ordinary rifle-pits, the assault not being a surprise. It is supposed that the enemy have about two divisions for the line north of the Appomattox, massed at the principal points. General Weitzel has not seen the ground in General Burnside's front. The other signers think the prospect of breaking through the enemy's line in General Burnside's front better than at the first point mentioned, in General Butler's front, and at least as good as at the second point. It should be recollected, however, that if the estimate of the enemy's force is correct in General Butler's front there would not be more than 1,500 or 2,000 men per mile in the enemy's line.


Major of Engineers.


Lieutenant-Colonel, Aide-de-Camp.



JONES' NECK, July 23, 1864.

General WEITZEL:

The bridge is ready for the passage of troops. General Foster informs me that you granted my request to have charge of both bridges. Captain Cruso, I learn, arrived here this evening, but as yet I have not seen him. The men of his command assisted me in laying the bridge. I suppose from what General Foster says that Captain Cruso and his command will return to their camp.


Captain, &c.

BERMUDA, July 23, 1864.

General WEITZEL,

Chief Engineer:

I have just returned from Jones' Neck. Your dispatch was forwarded at that place, and have not received same. Shall I report to you in person?


Captain, Commanding Train 17.