War of the Rebellion: Serial 082 Page 0621 Chapter LII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,

In the Field, July 29, 1864 - 2.25 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

City Point, Va.:

Between 11.50 a. m. and 12.45 p. m. thirty-four wagons have crossed the pontoon over the James River, going east. They moved toward the river from the Petersburg and Richmond turnpike by three different roads, and across Chaffin's farm by two roads. The following rebel message was sent from the ram to shore, viz:

I mean the skiffs that came down from Richmond yesterday p.m. Numbers 3 and 4 are mine, and you have sent No. 2. Is it not a mistake?

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General.

JULY 29, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

Your instructions are quite clear and perhaps I ought not to trouble you, but fearing that I may misunderstand I venture to ask a word of explanation. You say:

General Foster had better lever the line of rifle-pits occupied by the enemy, and move his whole force to the side of the creek first occupied by him.

General Foster originally held two positions defended by works, one on the north side and one on the south side of the creek, the latter being held to prevent the enemy from commanding the former, which that position does. If Foster abandons the south side and places his whole force on the north side he will be overlooked by the enemy. By leaving a small force in the south work I thins he can defend both positions better than one. We will leave some pontoon boats. Is it your intention that we should literally obey the order or merely that Foster shall hold his old position if he can? If the latter, it may be telegraphed - hold the old position; if the former, obey instructions.

Respectfully,

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General, Commanding.

CITY POINT, July 29, 1864 - 3 p. m.

General BUTLER:

It if can be done hold the old position.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,

In the Field, July 29, 1864 - 4 p. m.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

City Point:

There is now a constant passing of troops across the river going west, with artillery in proportion. Foster has taken another deserter