War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 0751 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

did the brigade of heavy artillery, Colonel Kitching. The battle of the 10th of May cost us the life of General Rice, commanding a brigade then in the division of General Cutler. Losses in brigade commanders continued to occur frequently, but as they did not materially affect the organizations or divisions, I will not recount them. General Cutler was the only general officer belonging to the old First Corps remaining with us when we left Spotsylvania Court-House.

In this condition, without any time for reconstruction, we moved on and fought the battle on the North Anna, at Jericho Mills, and those at Bethesda Church. We also had numerous skirmishes, and, though known as such only, some days caused us a loss of 600 killed and wounded. While near Bethesda Church, the 29th day of May, General Lockwood, with re-enforcements, was assigned to duty with me, and I gave him the command of General Robinson's division, reunited for that purpose. That very day its adjutant-general and inspector-general were lost (being taken prisoners), and not deeming General Lockwood, under the circumstances, efficient as a division commander, and proper to be second to me in rank in the corps and my successor if I should become disabled, I applied to have him relieved, which was done. The time of the division of General Crawford (the Pennsylvania Reserves) expired just at this time, May 31, and I then assigned him to General Robinson's division, along with the veterans (constituting a small brigade) remaining of his former division. On arriving at Cold Harbor, June 6, the corps was placed for a few days in reserve, and a temporary reorganization was at once made. General Ayres, who ranked General Cutler, and was entitled to a division in preference, was given a division composed of his own brigade, the Heavy Artillery Brigade, and the Maryland Brigade, which had joined the old First Corps after Gettysburg. General Crawford retained the two old brigades of General Robinson's division and the veteran Reserves.

In General Griffin's division I replaced General Ayres' brigade by a brigade from General Cutler's division, which had belonged to the Third Division of the First Corps before the consolidation, and left General Cutler a division formed of the two brigades which he commanded before the consolidation and return of General Wadsworth. This was made after careful consideration and consultation with Colonel Bankhead, inspector-general of the old First Corps, and so far as I know was satisfactory to all the division commanders, except it might have been that General Cutler did not feel satisfied with two brigades. However, as one of the four divisions had to be composed of two brigades, I placed that condition on the junior commander in rank. The corps again lost very considerably by the battle before Petersburg, June 18, and after that I proposed to reduce the command to three divisions by uniting General Cutler's two brigades into one and placing it with General Ayres or General Crawford, in that case consolidating the Heavy Artillery Brigade and the veteran Reserves into a brigade for the other. The matter was referred to the commander of the Army of the Potomac.

As the officer whose feelings were most concerned, I consulted General Cutler on his subject, and found that he objected on the ground that it was breaking up the old First Corps. The changes I proposed making, though it formed new divisions, retained all the old First Corps brigades intact, except that it diminished the number by their consolidation as had been done with brigades of the old Fifth Corps. The commanding general, however, objected to my proposed reorgani-