War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0952 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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I can hardly think Warren was at Allen's Bridge last night, because his orders were positive to report his return and route in advance, and if he had started back I should have heard from him. If he has had much fighting, stragglers from his command may have found their way to Allen's Bridge. Considering the weather and the night, Potter and his command are entitled to great credit for the march they have made. The fact that Potter does not report any stragglers or fugitives at Freeman's Bridge, which is where Warren crossed and where their taking to the rear would be likely to be feared, looks favorable for Warren's success.



HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, December 11, 1864-1 p.m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

Two deserters have just come into our left. They report Gordon's and Pegram's divisions as holding the lines previously held by Heth and Wilcox. This gives as the force in my front, Johnson, Gordon, and Pegram, probably not over 15,000 men. The lines must, therefore, be comparatively weak, though as they are much shorter than my lines they are perhaps held stronger than Parke holds his. From all the reports of signal officers, I should judge the enemy were stronger on the left, as troops have been constantly seen moving that way, and as the enemy are expecting an attack on the South Side Railroad, Miles' movement would draw all their available reserves there. Hill undoubtedly went to Dinwiddie Court-house. Whether he moved the whole of his force beyond that point against Warren, or whether he only sent the cavalry and part of his infantry, is a point about which I am in doubt. His position at Dinwiddie is favorable either for operations against Warren, or to meet Warren in case he moved on the South Side road, or to attack in rear any force I should send in that direction. These considerations, together with the absence of any bad news from Warren, lead me to infer that Hill has perhaps not moved with his whole force against Warren, for, had there been heavy and severe fighting, I think Potter would either have heard something of it or would certainly have encountered some fugitives or stragglers from the field, as they would naturally return by the road they marched, which Potter is on. Under the supposition above indicated, in case we hear of Warren's returning in good order, I think there is a chance of carrying by a coup de main the center of Lee's weakened lines. For this purpose I would mass the reserves of the Sixth Corps, about 5,000, in the woods between Forts Howard and Alexander Hays,and, when Warren's column is within supporting distance, make an assault on the enemy's line between the Jerusalem plank road and the Weldon railroad, to be followed, if successful, by Warren's whole column. This operations is undoubtedly hazardous and will be dependent on the fact of whether or not we surprise the enemy. Should the first dash fail, the idea should be abandoned and the troops withdrawn; if successful in breaking through the lines and followed by Warren's column, we ought to be able to secure Petersburg. I make these suggestions for your consideration. If the Third Division of the Sixth Corps reaches in time in would be added to the assaulting column. The Second Corps would hold the left and look out for an attack from Hill, who should be expected in that direction and,