HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, August 21, 1864-9.20 p.m.
I have just returned from the front. I found it impracticable to arrange any offensive movements for to-morrow. Warren expressed every confidence in his command defending itself against any attack, but advised against attacking. Hancock's men are completely exhausted with their march, and nearly a third behind on the road. Parke's people will be working all night on the connecting lines. Under these circumstances, I gave orders to act on the defensive, but in the event of the enemy's attacking again to follow up their repulse. I think now we have thinned our line from the Appomattox to the plank road as much as we ought to do. Ord proposes to send more men, but I do not think it judicious to weaken him any more, because the enemy, finding an accumulation on our left, might mass, and by a bold assault break through our weakened line. I don't think his probable, but it is possible. Warren reports taking some 400 prisoners to-day.
GEO. G. MEADE,
CITY POINT, VA., August 21, 1864-10 p.m.
Your dispatch of 9.30 [9.20] p.m. just received. I send you a dispatch* in cipher, from which you will see, when received, that I do not expect offensive operations to-morrow except in case of a success in Butler's front making it practicable. If we can retain hold of the railroad it will be a great advantage. Has much of the railroad been destroyed? After the men get well rested it will be well to support the cavalry with a division of infantry to destroy as much of the road as we can, if an advantage is not gained in the meantime making it unnecessary. If Butler does not succeed in the morning he will relieve the Eighteenth Corps from the lines,leaving it loose. With that as a reserve, our lines will be strong.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, August 21, 1864-11 p.m.
Your dispatch in cipher received.* I will be prepared to-morrow to act according to developments. Prisoners say that General W. H. F. Lee was mortally wounded to-day. I send this for what it is worth. The railroad party have been at work to-day, but I have received no report of their progress. Gregg's cavalry division are protecting them. In case it is necessary, a supporting force of infantry will be sent.
GEO. G. MEADE,
*See Grant to Meade, 8.30 p.m., p.357.