REAMS' STATION, August 23, 1864-8.08 p.m.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that this division has destroyed the railroad to Reams' Station. I have the division to-night in the rifle-pits on the Dinwiddie Court-House road, about one mile and a half from the railroad to the west. There has been skirmishing nearly all day between the brigade of Colonel Spear's cavalry (assigned to my command), some of my infantry, and the enemy. Hampton Legion is reported to be in Colonel Spear's front farther to the south and left, one mile and a half from the railroad, just about west of Reams' Station. General Gregg's division has been quite heavily engaged this afternoon. The firing has been quite heavy. The cavalry have stood their ground and repulsed the enemy up to this time, though firing has just now ceased. It breaks out now and then afresh. General Gregg has just informed me that his whole division has been engaged. He thinks the position a desirable one to hold and is afraid that from lack of ammunition he may have to withdraw his division to-night. He has intimated a desire to me to send a force to hold the position if he withdraws, but as my object is to destroy the railroad, I do not see the propriety of moving off to hold a position one mile or more from the railroad, which can be turned and which has no importance as an assistant to the object for which I am sent here. In the morning, if things are quiet, I shall continue destroying the railroad south. I have sent to General Gibbon for a battery, and if I am unable to obtain it there, shall send to corps headquarters for it to-night probably.
FRANCIS C. BARLOW,
P. S.- Infantry has occasionally been reported advancing on us, but I do not credit the report.
F. C. B.
(Copy to General Warren.)
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS,
[August 23, 1864]-10.30 p.m.
The major-general commanding instructs me to acknowledge the receipt of your note of 8.08 p.m., and to say that your view of the object for which you are at works it correct; but that if the enemy's resistance is so great as to prevent operations upon the railroad you will of course assist General Gregg's cavalry until General Gibbon gets up either at your own place or at his, if safe in connection with your operations at Reams' Station, for it is not supposed that the railroad can be destroyed before the enemy are driven off. General Gibbon has both your batteries, which you can call on at any moment. As General Gregg is so heavily engaged it may modify somewhat the order concerning Colonel Spear until such time as the enemy's resistance is removed. You had better send back for ammunition if you are likely to need more.
By order of Major-General Hancock:
F. A. WALKER,
(Copy to General Warren.)