War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0020 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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could prepare several roads to the James on which to retire for supplies if necessary; or we could attack him or Petersburg, one of which would be held by half or less of his force. If we go on as we are going, with our ultimate point of occupation so distant, we shall finally become powerless for offensive operations, perhaps before it is reached, all our forces being required to hold our lines against attacks from the front or cavalry raids in our rear. We need time to get our new levies in order, and no matter how great the pressure, we cannot succeed with them till they have at least acquired the knowledge of the rudiments of their drill and discipline. Another effect of our operating at the same time on two such distant flanks is to make the commander at each point apprehensive of being greatly outnumbered by the enemy, which is always practicable for him to do at one or the other, and thus inevitably produce want of boldness and vigor on our part, unless we neglect more than any of us are willing to do. Then, I would again urge, let us give up all our investing line, except one point at most, and again take the field with our whole army. I do not wish to urge my views for any personal object, nor wish them to be considered as finding fault with other plans, but I am so convinced of the justness of what I advance and of its importance to our corps that I present them to you at all hazards, and you are at liberty to make use of this communication in any way you please to.

Respectfully submitted.


Major-General of Volunteers.

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS, October 1, 1864-1.45 p. m.

Brigadier-General AYRES,

Commanding Second Division:

GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs me to say that in his judgment the movements of the enemy indicate his intention to make a pretty strong attack upon us this evening. He wishes you to keep well on the lookout. A note just received from General Crawford states that there has been a good deal of picket-firing on the right of our line, about where the enemy broke through on the 19th ultimo. The enemy advanced a skirmish-line this morning (about 12 m.) upon our right of the railroad. The dense woods prevents the view of a line of battle should the enemy have one there.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Colonel LOCKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifth Corps:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I have about 500 men on picket in front of General Crawford's division. Those officers and men have been on three days, and I have reliable information that shows that they should be relieved this evening.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.