CITY POINT, October 27, 1864-9 p.m.
(Received 2 a.m. 28th.)
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington:
I have just returned from the crossing of the Boydton plank road with Hatcher's Creek. Our line now extends from its former left to Armstrong's Mill, thence by the south bank of Hatcher's Creek to the point above named. No attack was made during the day further than to drive pickets and the cavalry inside the main works. Our casualties have been light, probably less than 200 killed, wounded, and missing. The same probably is true with the enemy. We captured, however, 7 loaded teams on their way from Stony Creek to the enemy, about a dozen beef-cattle, a traveling forge, and 75 to 100 prisoners. On our right General Butler extended around well toward the Yorktown road without finding a point unguarded. I shall keep our troops out where they are until toward noon to-morrow, in hope of inviting an attack. This reconnaissance, which I had intended for more, points out to me what is to be done.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
October 27, 1864-8 p.m. (Sent 10.50 p.m.)
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT:
Soon after we left Major-General Hancock he made his preparations and was about assaulting the bridge over the Boydton plank road in his front, when he received a heavy attack on his right and rear, the enemy having crossed Hatcher's Run and advanced through the woods between his position and Crawford. Brigadier-General Egan, commanding the division, immediately desisted from his assault in his front, and, turning, met the advancing enemy; at the same time Mott, on the left, was assaulted, and Gregg in the rear. From this time till dark the fighting was sharp and severe, with varying results. At dark General Hancock maintained his position in the open ground, though he was obliged to yield the advanced line he held near the bridge to meet the direction of the attack on his right. Mott also was drawn into the plank road, but Gregg maintained his position steadily, covering the left rear.
Hancock lost a number of prisoners in the skirmish line in the early part of the action, but took several hundred during the fight, probably more than he lost. At one time two pieces of his artillery were given up, but soon retaken, as soon as troops could be collected for the purpose. On the whole, I should judge from the reports of staff officers, in the absence of any other dispatches, that General Hancock made a glorious fight, and, although having to yield some ground, punished the enemy severely. In accordance with your instructions, he was directed to withdraw to-morrow morning, but since receiving the above intelligence I have notified him I could send Ayres' division to re-enforce him, and if the condition of his command and other circumstances justified it I wished him to hold on to-morrow, but if, in his judgment, it was more judicious to withdraw he could do so to-night. One difficulty in his remaining is the want of ammunition, his train not having accompanied him, and the continuous fighting having nearly exhausted the sixty rounds carried on the men's persons. The defile communicating with him will be so filled with troops going to him and ambulances returning that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to