our forces off to the left, we might perhaps, have repeated with better knowledge what failed on first attempt. The enemy is now too much on his guard. The assault in front of Bermuda Hundred seems to me a very doubtful affair, unless we are sure that the enemy is in exceedingly small force. I should look upon the most practicable point to be from the center and the right, simply because the rebel lines are near (about half a mile) and because from our lines we have fee egress. To attack between Swift Creek and Ashton Swamp requires a march of two miles after emerging from our necessarily narrow outlet. On this center of his lines the enemy can, in two or three hours, bring every disposable man from each end of his lines to meet our attack. Hence, unless we can carry the lines at once, we cannot do it at all. In the present state of military and political affairs it is better to do nothing until our forces are much more adequate than they are now to effect decisive results. At present everything is well enough, and Richmond must ultimately fall, unless the course of things is changed by a disaster which would strengthen the hands of the peace and "cessation" party. If it were concluded to postpone any decisive operation for some weeks there is one thing that might be done; that is, close up our lines of investment. Much as has been asserted about the uselessness of our artillery fire, I cannot believe that 100 guns enfilanding the enemy's lines and firing into the town can be without great effect. By extending our lines 500 yards westerly from Fort Davis we should have emplacement for guns, which would enfilade and take in reverse the whole rebel line facing us, from Fort McGilvery to Fort Rice. Continuing this line a little south of west we would strike our new lines beyond Fort Wadsworth. This would actually shorten our front, but it is not in this relation I speak of it. It would enable us to bring a destructive artillery fire on the enemy's lines, and would compel him to keep a great many more men in Petersburg than he now does, thus diminishing his power of opposing us elsewhere.
J. G. BARNARD.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES,
In the Field, October 15, 1864. (Received 9. 30 p.m.)
Provost-Marshal, City Point;
All of Pickett's division and Thomas' brigade are in our front between the Appomattox and James. The four regiments that were on the north side have gone there, and all lie in reserve in rear of the Howlett house battery.
JOHN I. DAVENPORT,
Lieutenant, Aide-de-Camp and Assistant Provost-Marshal.
CHURCH ROAD SIGNAL STATION,
October 15, 1864-9 a.m.
With the exception of nine wagons moving westward at 8 a.m. on Boydton plank road, we have been unable to detect any moves or changes from this station.
J. L. PRAY,