War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 0232 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,

In the Field, August 16, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

Commanding, &c.:

As soon as arrangements could possibly be made to get the men rested from their work, at 5 o'clock I sent on board the steamer Mount Washington, kindly loaned me by the navy, 950 of the working party at Dutch Gap, and landed about three-fourths of a mile below, at Aiken's, by which I was enabled to turn the enemy's battery at H. Cox's, and under cover of the gun-boats, which you heard, Major Ludlow advanced, turning the enemy's line, capturing it after a smart skirmish in which we lost one man killed, and we now occupy the work on the brow of the hill which you saw. It is a very strong line for the enemy. Our line of pickets extend from Cox's house at the turn of the river above Dutch Gap to the northeast and about half a mile toward Three-Mile Creek. We have not men enough to occupy all the works. The right has been occupied by rifle-pits and one piece of artillery, the line extending to Three-Mile Creek, but there is nothing now between us and Three-Mile Creek. Major Ludlow thinks this position a very strong one, if occupied by the rebels, to oppose any advance on our part. I have directed it to the held to-night. If you propose to go up to Deep Bottom to-morrow you can easily examine it yourself, or one of the engineers may be sent up to examine it. We have captured a prisoner there, and he says he is from one of Beauregard's brigades (Johnson's old). I have a report from Colonel Wooster, commanding at Deep Bottom, that he advanced a strong skirmish line until his entire line passed Kingsland road, his right resting on Four-Mile Creek and advancing beyond it as far as W. H. Ammons', beyond the New Market road, and his left beyond Ruffin's house. He developed only a strong skirmish line and two or three companies of infantry. He captured a prisoner of the Third North Carolina, which regiment belonged to Johnson's division and Steuart's brigade, which was supposed to have been captured with its general. I have also another prisoner who claims to belong to the Tenth Virginia of the same brigade, who says his brigade is out there and has been encamped there for some time. At 9 o'clock Colonel Wooster retired to his original position. With reference to this prisoner I have never, from all the prisoners or deserters, heard of this brigade on this line before and know not where they came from. Colonel Wooster had no killed and none seriously wounded. It would seem that there is no difficulty in advancing any body of troops in that direction. Our movement has certainly been successful as a reconnaissance, if nothing more.

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General.

CITY POINT, VA., August 16, 1864.

Major-General BUTLER,

Commanding, &c.:

If you have men to spare to hold the position secured by Major Ludlow until I can get up there I will have the ground examined, and if it is practicable to get through, will transfer a portion of the force with General Hancock.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.