CITY POINT, August 21, 1864-11.20 a.m.
It is hard to say what ought to be done without being on the field, but it seems to me that when the enemy comes out of his works and attacks and is repulsed he ought to be followed vigorously to the last minute with every man. Holding a line is of no importance whilst troops are operating in front of it.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, August 21, 1864-12 m.
Ord reports the enemy leaving his front. It is probably Martin's brigade, of Hoke's division, the only one left of that division in front of Ord last night, as reported by deserters. The enemy now holds his intrenched line with Johnson's division and part of Heth's, that is between the Appomattox and the plank road. I have asked Ord, if he cannot assault in his front, whether he cannot extend to his left so as to relieve part of Mott's division, Second Corps, now holding from Burnside's mine to the plank road. Hancock is now at the Strong house, west of the plank road, slashing trees to make on obstacle to the enemy's interposing between the plank road and Warren. If I can get a line of obstacles to be held by a skirmish line I can throw more troops to Warren's support. Warren reports the enemy moving to his left. I have sent him your dispatch, having previously advised him the way to stop the enemy's flanking was to assume the offensive and make him look out for his flanks. The difficulty of Warren's position is, the roads are impassable and his artillery cannot be moved. It is absolutely essential he should maintain his position, and I have no doubt of his ability to do so unless the enemy should bring so superior a force as to turn his left flank, in which case we cannot get our men to stand. They don't mind any orders when they find themselves outflanked, but move off bodily to the rear in spite of orders.
GEO. G. MEADE,
CITY POINT, VA., August 21, 1864-12.45 p.m.
If the enemy are moving to turn Warren's left, why can he not move out and attack between them and Petersburg, and either cut their force in two or get in rear of it? If the roads are impassable for our artillery it must be so for the enemy's, and it becomes an infantry fight. I will telegraph Ord either to assault or extend, so as to relieve more men. The enemy evidently intend to use nearly their entire force to drive Warren away, and we can either penetrate his or hold ours with a very small force.
U. S. GRANT,