War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0206 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

of cavalry passed toward our left during the forenoon followed by large wagon trains. The cause of this movement was not generally understood, as the enemy appeared to make no attempt to mass upon our left, nor did he evince any disposition to attack us at any point. The only conclusion at which to arrive was that he was trying to place his cavalry in our rear and, if possible, to annoy us in that direction, which supposition was afterward ascertained to be correct. The next morning all of the stations were on the alert for indications of any morning all of the stations were on the alert for indications of any further movements upon the part of the enemy, but after careful observation they failed to discover any. Their lines remained unchanged and nothing was seen, excepting small working parties engaged in strengthening their lines. Upon the 3rd and 4th nothing of interest was reported by our officers upon stations, excepting on the 3rd a movement of a regiment of cavalry and a battery of artillery toward General butler's front. They also noted additional labor being put upon various points of their lines. On the 5th a new station of observation was established near the Gibbon house. In the afternoon the enemy exploded a mine under our picket-line in front of the Eighteenth Army Corps, with but little or no injury to us. On the 6th the only movement of the enemy observed was the moving toward our right upon the Richmond road of a column of infantry, which consumed one hour and a half in passing a given point. Its strength was estimated at about 12,000; sixty wagons followed. The enemy also placed in position a battery of five guns in the redoubt in the rear of Whitehead's factory, on the north bank of the Appomattox River. During the three following days no movements were made upon the part of the enemy, but their energies appeared to be directed toward the completion at various points along their front, principally upon and in rear of their second line.

On the 11th the enemy moved about 1,000 cavalry toward our right and our lookouts reported a considerable commotion among their wagon trains, many of those also moving toward our right. On the 12th the enemy continued to move cavalry toward our right, one column being reported 1,100 strong, while straggling parties continued to pass during the day. These bodies of cavalry moved from beyond our extreme left through Petersburg and on in the direction of Richmond. They had not relaxed their efforts toward strengthening their works, nor did they evince any sign of so doing, having rather increased than diminished the strength of their working parties. On the 13th no movements of the enemy were reported as visible by our lookouts and no changes made in his lines, but at 5.45 p. m. of the 14th, the station near the headquarters of the Fifth Corps, reported infantry passing on a road to the right of Petersburg, going toward our right, followed by a train of wagons and ambulances. This column supposed to comprise one division and to be moving to the north bank of the James River to check the advance of the Second and Tenth Corps, which had crossed to that side. During this expedition of the Second Corps the signal officers connected with if performed good service, as per extract from Captain P. A. Taylor's report:

The Tenth Corps (General Birney) crossed the James at the same time at Deep Bottom, the whole force under command of Major-General Hancock. I at once established flag communication between Generals Hancock and Birney across Four-Mile Creek, sending Captain Thickstun to report to General Birney, with whom he remained until relieved by Captain Dana late in the day. Lieutenant Neel was placed on duty on station at General Hancock's. His station was moved several times to conform with the changes in locality of headquarters. This line of communication