We lost one of the finest officers of this corps, Colonel G. A. Stedman, commanding Second Brigade, Ames' division, who was mortally wounded while in company with General Ames reconnoitering the ground and preparing to meet any attempt of the enemy to assault.
I inclose a list of casualties, which I am glad to say is small.* Every effort is being made on my part to protect the men in the trenches and reduce the daily loss of life.
I am, sir, respectfully, &c., your obedient servant,
E. O. C. ORD,
Major-General of Volunteers.
Colonel J. W. SHAFFER,
Chief of Staff, Department of Virginia and North Carolina.
Richmond, Va., June 15, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 28th day of September, 1864, in obedience to orders, I selected from my corps-then on duty between the James and Appomattox Rivers-about 4,000 men, from Generals Stannard's and Heckman's divisions, for a movement on the north side of the James against Richmond, in co-operation with another column under Major-General Birney, composed of his corps and Paine's division of mine; in all, that column was about 10,000 strong, and was designed to reach Richmond via Deep Bottom and the New Market road, while I was to engage the works nearer the river, and prevent the interruption of General Birney's column by re-enforcements which the enemy might send across from the south side of the James River, where they had a heavy force. The movement was to be a surprise, therefore I issued no written orders and my verbal orders were not communicated to the troops until after dark, when all communication should have ceased with our own picket-line. This precaution was deemed necessary to prevent the spies which abounded in our regiments from deserting and giving information of our movement to the enemy. My move began about 9 o'clock on the night of the 28th of September, when the men were drawn out of the trenches and marched to the enemy. My move began about 9 o'clock on the night of the 28th of September, when the men were drawn out of the trenches and marched to the river opposite Aiken's, where, between 9 and 12 p.m., a bridge was thrown over the James. By 12 p.m. my troops were at the bridge, and before daylight were across the river and formed. At the dawn of day I attacked the enemy's skirmish line with my skirmishers, and though the rebels were re-enforced we drove them right along toward Richmond, up the hills, and for three miles through the woods, until about 7.30 a.m., when we reached the open ground in front of Fort Harrison, the strongest rebel work on that front, which immediately opened upon us with several heavy guns. Here I reconnoitered and rapidly made dispositions to attack this work. Stannard's division, Burnham's brigade leading, was directed to push forward in column by division over the open in front of the fort, on the left of the Varina road, covered with the same regiment which had so far and so well driven the enemy's skirmishers. Heckman was directed, as soon as it could be brought up, to move with his division through and along the edge of the timber, which skirted the Varina road on the right, keeping his men under cover, until he came opposite to the fort (Harrison), and then attack it on the front toward the wood (that is, the east front) as rapidly as possible.
*List (omitted) shows 1 officer (Colonel Griffin A. Stedman) and 6 men killed and 3 officers and 20 men wounded.