PETERSBURG, August 21, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:
My telegram of the 17th sent asking for assignment of Generals MacRae and Conner is recalled.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF N. CAROLINA AND SOUTHERN VA.,
August 21, 1864
Brigadier General JOHNSON HAGOOD:
(Through Major-General Hoke.)
GENERAL: General Beauregard directs that you will forward tomorrow morning as early as practicable a list of the casualties of your command sustained this day. He desires also a report of all the circumstances attending the recapture of a flag of your command.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
August 22, 1864.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR,
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the enemy's superiority of numbers has enabled him to effect a lodgment on the Weldon railroad. Two attacks were made upon him when he first approached the road, in both of which he was worsted, but the smallness of the attacking force prevented it from dislodging him. By the time re-enforcements could be brought from the north of the James River the enemy had so much strengthened his position that it was found impracticable to drive him away when the attack was renewed yesterday. When the army first assumed its present position I informed you that I doubted our ability to keep the road open, owing to the proximity of the enemy, and his superiority in numbers. If driven from the place he now occupies he could not be prevented from striking the road at some other point, as our forces are insufficient to guard its entire length. These considerations induced me to abandon the further prosecution of the effort to dislodge the enemy, as it could not be done without a greater sacrifice of life than we can afford to make, and the benefits secured would be only temporary. I think it evident that the enemy has abandoned the effort to drive us from our present position by force, and that his purpose now is to compel us to evacuate it by cutting off our supplies. I think his intention in the late demonstration north of the James River was not only to cause the removal of troops from Petersburg, but also to try to break through to Richmond. Being foiled in that effort, the forces engaged in it have been brought back to this side, except those at Dutch Gap.
Under these circumstances, we should use every effort to maintain ourselves by our remaining line of communications. The most intelligent and energetic officers should be charged with the duty of superintending the transportation of supplies over all the roads upon which the army depends, and be strictly enjoined to give their unremitting personal attention to the matter. All the transportation that can be