War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0248 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

October 16, 1864-12 m. (Sent 12.30 p.m.)

Major-General HANCOCK:

Major Michler will to-day make an examination in reference to the subject of your dispatch of yesterday. I am inclined to the opinion the enemy's works on the left bank of the Appomattox are defensive and erected with a view to guard against a movement on our part in that direction. An idea very generally prevails, derived from the reports of deserters, contrabands, and refuges, that the enemy are preparing to abandon their lines around Petersburg south of the Appomattox. Though not yielding myself to this opinion, yet if any such intention either exists or has been mooted, it would be a legitimate consequence on their part to strengthen their works both above and below Petersburg on the left bank, as the result of such a withdrawal would undoubtedly be followed by an attempt on our part to cross the river. Major Michler is directed to examine such parts of the river as would offer facilities for crossing and see what works, if any, on our part are necessary to check any such movement.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,

October 16, 1864. (Received 9.30 p.m.)

General HUMPHREYS,

Chief of Staff:

A man came over from the enemy to-night claiming to belong to the band of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry. He says he was captured near Spotsylvania about the 15th of May and has escaped once or twice. Finally he got on rebel dress and was conscripted and sent here to the Twenty-fifth South Carolina. He does not appear to have much information. Says the enemy were fortifying at Danville when he passed through; also that, as far as he could judge, the troops opposite are in a demoralized and despondent condition. He has been the gallery of the mine reported, and says they are still at work on it, but he does not know whether it is more than a countermine. To-night just at dark, as I was riding in rear of the Dunn house, a rocket was thrown up from a hollow not far off, so as to show plainly to the other side of the river. I was unable to find out anything about it. It is also reported to me by officers that one was thrown up last night from the rear of Fort Rice or Sedgwick. My signal officers know nothing of it. I mention it to you, not understanding it myself.

WINF'D S. HANCOCK,

Major-General.

HDQRS. ARTILLERY BRIGADE, SECOND ARMY CORPS,

October 16, 1864.

Major SEPTIMUS CARNCROSS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Corps:

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that nothing of importance has occurred on the line during the past twenty-four hours. Lieutenant