War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 1084 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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troops herein enumerated and Richmond, except an artillery company in each of the detached works of that class numbered 23 on the map, and on the one at "Toll-Gate" and the "Race-Course." The continuous line of works shown on the map is wholly unoccupied. It will be seen, therefore, that these bodies of which we have knowledge, if the information is correct, should be 2,875 men, and it may be safely predicated that there are not 3,000 effective men outside of the limits of the city of Richmond on the north side of the river. It is upon this information, which is fully credited, that the movement is largely based.


There are between the Appomattox and the James less than 3,500 men holding a line nearly ten miles in extent, and the nearest considerable body of Confederate troops are massed some seven miles still farther off below Petersburg. Most of the force between the Appomattox and the James is directly in the front of your lines and cannot be much depleted. Their means of crossing the river are by the pontoon bridge, one between the fortifications of Drewry's Bluff on the west and Chaffin's farm on the east of the James. These fortifications are about a mile apart, and have two or three barbette guns bearing on the bridge-heads. There is no other tete-de-pont. This is a pontoon bridge and is above fortifications at Chaffin's on the one side and below Drewry's on the other. These fortifications are about a mile apart. Next a trestle-work bridge, with schooners for a draw, at a point opposite the place of William Throgmorton at the mouth of Falling Creek Landing on the westerly side of the river at the southerly side of the mouth of the creek; again, a trestle bridge at a point opposite Colonel Knight's house, another trestle bridge nearly opposite the battery marked 23 on plan. These last three have no tetes-de-pont on the north side.


A large element of the complete success of this movement depends upon its celerity and the co-operation in point of time of the several commands in the attack. It is proposed that Major-General Ord shall dispose one of the divisions of his corps in such positions as to mass them near Varina on the north bank during the night, silently, so as not to be observed by the enemy, and from thence just before daybreak, which is assumed to be 4.30. a.m., and that will govern in point of time, to make a sudden, sharpe attack in column upon the enemy's lines nearly opposite his position upon the Varina road. At the same time General Birney, having massed such divisions as he chooses, or using the Third Division of the Eighteenth Corps, at Deep Bottom, for that purpose, for which it will temporarily report to him, will make a like attack, substantially at the point where he attacked before in the late essay across the James, and endeavor to carry the New Market road and the heights adjacent, if he cannot turn them to the left without too great loss. If successful, and as soon as the way can be opened, General Kautz's cavalry, having been massed near the pontoon bridge at Deep Bottom, and crossing while the attack is going on, will immediately push out, attempt to cross the New Market road, turning the enemy's forces and left flank, if possible, avoiding a fight as a preference, and attempt to reach the Central, or, as it is called in the country there, the Darbytown road. If successful in striking that road General Kautz is to make the utmost diligence