In commenced to rain lightly about 4.45 a. m., and it was very dark from the clouded state of the sky. Parts of the command soon got mixed up, and connections between parts of brigades were lost every-where in the command, on account of the darkness, soon after starting. I think quite impracticable, from this and previous experience, to move troops in the dark over any but the broadest and plainest roads, unless they are previously familiar with the route. It was light enough to see at 5.30 a. m., and we began to move the head of the column about this time into woods beyond our intrenchments. Clearing away the obstructions that had been placed in the road, we moved on slowly, keeping to the left of the Ninth Corps flankers, and this took us in a southwesterly direction to R. Thompson's house (see map). Finding we were getting too far south, and that all the roads ran in a north and south direction, I cut a road due west through the woods for half a mile, which brought me on the so-called Duncan road, just south of the Clements house. Here I struck a wood road leading west, and along which I advanced, striking the enemy's skirmishers at 9 a. m. General Griffin immediately formed General Gregory's brigade and advanced through the woods, driving the enemy into a line of breastworks with abatis and slashing, which was strongly held. He lost about 100 killed and wounded in doing this.
It was 9.30 a. m. and I received word from the general commanding that General Parke would probably not be able to force the enemy's line, and that it was important that a portion of my command should cross Hatcher's Run and communicate with Hancock as possible, informing me at the same time that General Hancock had crossed the run. I informed the commanding general and General Hancock that I should probably be compelled to cross at Armstrong's Mill. My original instructions contemplated y crossing about one mile below where the Boydton pike crosses. Ordering General Ayres and General Crawford to mass their divisions near to the front, I immediately sent Captain Gentry to communicate with General Hancock and Major Roebling with my escort to reconnoiter to my left for the end of the enemy's line, while I personally made a reconnaissance of our front to ascertain the practicability of forcing the enemy back. On my return about 10.30 a. m. I found General Grant and General Meade at my headquarters, to whom I explained what had been done, and the condition of the enemy's line in front. Major Roebling, who returned about the same time, report General Griffin's line as reaching down to Hatcher's Run. Captain Gentry report the rear of General Hancock's corps having marched up toward the plank road, past Armstrong's Mill. I then was directed to send a division across Hatcher's Run, place its right flank on the run, and them move up, supporting General Hancock, and upon arriving at the enemy's right of the line in front of General Griffin to attack it in flank, and endeavor to cause him to abandon the line, and thus open the way for the rest of my rest of my corps and the Ninth Corps. Ordering the division most convenient at the moment of receiving this ordered (which was General Crawford's), I sent him across the run at Armstrong's Mill and detached a brigade from General Ayres to strengthen him. I sent also a 12-pounder battery, but on account of the timber not permitting it to accompany the division farther that the run, it was left there and no opportunity occurred afterward to use it. leaving General Griffin in command, with his division and two brigades of General Ayres', I started with General Crawford to aid and direct operations in accordance with his movements. The head of General Crawford's division crossed Hatcher's Run at 11.45 a. m. His line was