War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0405 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

road, then to turn to the southward and endeavor to seize the bridge where the Claiborne road crosses it. This project was based upon information which led to the belief that the enemy's line only extended to the crossing of Hatcher's Run by the Boydton plank road, and that it was not completed this far and was weakly manned. The movement was promptly made as directed, but, instead of finding the enemy's line as expected, it was found to extend over the run nearly to Armstrong's Mill, was fully completed, and very strongly fortified by slashings and abatis. The consequence was that Major-General Parke, after driving in the enemy's skirmishers, did not attempt to attack, but Major-General Warren, on developing the enemy's position, made an unsuccessful effort, with Gregory's brigade of Griffin's division, to penetrate the line.

Finding this condition of affairs, and Hancock having effected the passage of the run and moved as ordered, I directed Major-General Warren to cross Crawford's division at Armstrong's Mill, with instructions to support Hancock, but instead of following the Second Corps, I directed Crawford should move up the right bank of the run and endeavor to recross and assault the enemy's line in rear, while Griffin assaulted in front. this, it was hoped, would enable Warren to cross near Boydton plank road and secure the connection between the Second and Ninth Corps. About this time, 11.30 a. m., in company with the lieutenant-general commanding, I proceeded to join Major-General Hancock's column, crossing the run at Armstrong's Mill. Major-General Hancock was overtaken at Burgess' Tavern on the Boydton plank road, some four miles from Armstrong's Mill. He had driven the enemy's cavalry from the run and up to the Boydton plank road bridge, capturing some prisoners, wagons, cattle, and tents. The enemy, however, disputed his passage of the bridge and had opened batteries on him from the opposite side, besides threatening his left flank with artillery.

It was very evident soon after joining Hancock, that unless the enemy was driven from the left bank of the run, where the Boydton road crossed, that our lines could not be advanced sufficiently to make a connection with the present intrenched line. Major-General Hancock was accordingly authorized to make the attempt to carry the bridge, was advised of Crawford's movement and the object of it, and informed by the lieutenant-general commanding that if these operations were not successfully executed during the day he would be withdrawn on the following day. Having given these orders, in company with the lieutenant-general commanding, I proceeded to Armstrong's Mill, from which point the lieutenant-general returned to City Point. Soon after my return Major-General Warren reported that General Crawford, after great exertions, owing to the dense thicket he had to operate in, had moved up the right bank of the run, past the terminus of the enemy's line, had driven across the run the enemy's skirmishers, and was endeavoring to find a practicable place to cross and assault, but found the run in rear of the enemy's line fortified by the felling of timber, the opposite bank being held in force.

Griffin, after feeling and examining the whole line in his front, found it so strong as to preclude the expectation of carrying it by assault. About this time, 5 p. m., whilst Major-General Hancock was just about to attempt carrying the bridge in his front, the enemy detached from the woods to his right and rear and attacked him vigorously, at the same time advancing on his left and attacking Gregg in the rear. Notwithstanding the several attacks and the necessary change of front of several commands, Major-General Hancock repulsed all the enemy's