War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0586 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS,

November 10, 1864.

Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: I have the honor to invite the attention of the major-general commanding to the following remarks:

General Mott's division, of my corps, took up the intrenched line near Petersburg from near the Norfolk railroad to the left on the 20th of August. On the 24th of September the other two division reliever the Tenth Army Corps, holding the line from the Norfolk railroad to the river. My corps has held the entire line from Battery Numbers 24 to Redoubt Converse since that time, Mott's division having been withdrawn on one occasion for a few days, Mott and Gibbon for a few days during the operations of October 26th, 27th, and 28th and Miles' division for two days after the return of Mott's and Gibbon's division. With these exceptions, when the troops were withdrawn to participate in movements against the enemy, my command has been under fire in front of Petersburg for two months and a half, holding the only part of the lines of the army in close proximity to the enemy. They have been subject night and day to the fire of Artillery, and have frequently been engaged in considerable picket skirmishes. I have about 2,000 men on picket daily, and 1,600 of these are in action, it may be said, day and night. The troops in the inclosed works and rifle-pits are subjected to a constant fire from the enemy's mortars and are obliged to live in underground holes and bomb-proofs, and are called upon almost nightly to get under arms and to be in readiness to resist an attack. They cannot even walk about in safety in their own camp on account of the danger of stray bullets, mortars shell or the fire of sharpshooters. They have no opportunity for drill or instruction. My command is composed largely of new men. From the left of my corps to the left of the army, I believe there is hardly a place where the enemy are in sight. The troops are nor harassed by being cal;led up in the night, or by constant skirmishing during the day, and their camps are not disturbed by the enemy's artillery. They are comfortably camped by regiments and brigades, with abundant opportunity for exercise, drill, and instruction. I submit that my command has been a long time without rest and in a state of constant and wearing staring, and has been very disadvantageously situated in every respect compared with the other corps. I do tot speak of it complainingly, and do not know that there is any remedy for it, but consider it a proper matter to lay before major-general commanding the army.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WINF'D S. HANCOCK,

Major-General of Volunteers.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

November 10, 1864.

Major General W. S. HANCOCK,

Commanding Second Corps:

GENERAL: Your letter of this date, inviting attention to the length of time (two and a half months) the Second Corps has been on duty in the trenches in the immediate present of the enemy, has been laid before the major-general commanding, by whom I am directed to say in reply that as it appears upon examination that the Fifth and Ninth