War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0224 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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in the entrenchments on the left of the First Division, extending the breast-work to better protect the left and rear. It is proper to say here that the defensive position at Reams' was selected on another occasion by another corps, and was, in my judgment, very poorly located, the bad location contributing very materially to the subsequent loss of the position, and particularly to the loss of the artillery. Dispatches were sent to the commanding general at 10.20 and 11.45 a. m., informing him of the occurrences above narrated. These dispatches were sent to General Warren's headquarters, a distance of about four miles, from which point they were telegraphed. At about 12 m. the telegraph line was in operation to within about half a mile of my headquarters, and subsequent dispatches from me were sent by telegraph entirely. The first one sent by the telegraph was dated 11.45 a. m. At 12 o'clock the enemy drove in the pickets of the First Division on the Dinwiddie road, and at about 2 p. m. made a spirited advance against Miles; front, but were speedily repulsed. A second and more vigorous attack followed at a short interval and was likewise repulsed, some of the enemy falling within a few yards of the breast-work.

About the time of these attacks I received the following dispatch from the major-general commanding, at the hands of Captain Sanders:

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH CORPS,

August 25, 1864.

Major-General HANCOCK:

Warren has informed me of your dispatch announcing the breaking through your left of the enemy's cavalry. I have directed Mott to send all his available force down the plank road to the Reams' Station road and to take one of Parke's batteries, now at he Williams house, with him. The officer in charge of this command is directed to report to you on his arrival. I think, form all the information I can obtain, that the enemy are about assuming the offensive, and will either attack you or interpose between you and Warren. under the circumstances, I fear we cannot do much more damage to the railroad. That being the case, you can exercise your judgment about withdrawing your command and resuming your position on the left and in rear of Warren, either where you were before or in any other position which, in your judgment, will be better calculated for the purpose and based on the knowledge of the country your recent operations may have given you. Let me know by the bearer the condition of things in your front, and your views.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.

Captain Sanders inquired if the direct road along the railroad was open, and being told that it was, took that route back, carrying with him full information as to the state of affairs.

At 2.45 p. m., partly in answer to the one just given, the telegraph being open, the following dispatch was sent to General Meade:

Considering that the enemy intend to prevent any further destruction of the railroad, there is no great necessity for my remaining here, but it is more important that I should join Warren; but I do not think, closely engaged as I am at present, I can withdraw safely at this time. i think it will be well to withdraw to-night, if I am not forced to do so before. Everything looks promising at present, except that, being in an inclosed position, the enemy are liable to pass between myself and Warren and I cannot determine the fact, so that Warren had better be watchful until I can make a practicable connection with him. I shall try and keep my cavalry engaged to keep them off the plank road.

WINF'D S. HANCOCK,

Major-General.

Dispatches were also sent at 3.30 p. m. to General Meade. The first stated that the prisoners thus far belonged to Wilcox's division, and that A. P. Hill was himself present. The second dispatch gave an account of the second attack on General Miles' position, and stated that Anderson's brigade, of Field's division, was present. A few minutes