War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0381 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

October 27, 1864-5.15 p.m.

General HANCOCK:

Ayres is ordered to you, but will not get beyond Armstrong's Mill. Order him up if you think it is necessary, and use him as you wish. If you think that with Crawford and Ayres you can attack successfully, do so; if not, withdraw, as directed, or during the night, if you think it best.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

Let the commanding general know what the condition of things is and your opinion.

A. A. H.

Duplicated at 6.15 p.m. by one of General H.'s staff officers. General H. authorized to withdraw at any time he thought best, if he considered an attack in the morning with the forces named would not be successful.

A. A. H.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

October 27, 1864-5.15 p.m.

Major-General HANCOCK,

Commanding Second Corps:

Upon receiving your message by Major Biddle, the commanding general at once ordered General Ayres to move to your support, but it is so late that he will not be able to get beyond Armstrong's Mill, on the run, from which point he will report to you can make such use of him as you see fit. If you think that with Crawford and Ayres joined to your own troops you can attack successfully, the commanding general desires you to do so. If not, you can withdraw as directed, and during the night if you consider it best. Since writing the above Captain Dresser has come in and reports that you attacked the bridge, but did not succeed. This, the commanding thinks, may be the origin of the report brought by Major Biddle. Left the commanding general know what the condition of things is, and your opinion as to what is best to be done.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

If you wish Ayres to come up, will you send an orderly back with this escort, so that he can show General Ayres exactly where to find you.

A. A. H.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

October 27, 1864-6.20 p.m. (Received 8.35 p.m.)

Major-General HANCOCK,

Commanding Second Corps:

Your staff officer that left you about fifteen or twenty minutes after Captain Mason has just arrived and delivered your message. The commanding general directs me to say that you can withdraw at once if you deem it most judicious, or at any time during the night. Captain Jay