much in advance of his getting into position, so as "to determine his left." I should therefore have to take up a position while waiting his movements. From my previous acquaintance with this locality, gained in the movement made in February, I knew that to get a good position of my troops I should have to extend my left to include a high ridge at H. Hargrave's. This would place me within half a mile of the Boydton road should I be directed ultimately to move out on the at road, and leave the remainder of my force near the junction of the Vaughan and Quaker roads, so as to move up the latter if required to. In obedience to the orders the head of the column (General Ayres' division) moved out precisely at 3 a. m. The excitement of moving and the necessary preparations kept almost every one from sleeping any of the preceding portion of the night.
At 4.45 a. m. the head of the column reached the crossing of Rowanty Creek. A few shorts were fired by the enemy's lookouts there, probably as an alarm signal, but no opposition was made to our crossing. the engineers speedily laid a canvas pontoon bridge, and meanwhile the troops were scrambling across on fallen trees by the wrecks of a former ridge. As soon as the bridge was passable for horses I passed over with my escort, and we again began to advance. For the first mile our progress was somewhat impeded by trees which the enemy had cut down, and which were removed as we went along. The roads were dry except in the swampy places.
At 8 a. m. the head of the column reached the junction of the Vaughan and stage roads. This information I communicated to General Humphreys, along the Vaughan road, by Captain winslow and an escort of ten mounted men. I then went with the troops to superintend the taking up the position required, while awaiting the movements of General Humphreys. At 10.20 I received the following dispatch by Major Jay, written by General Webb at 8.45 a.m.:
Major-General Meade directs you to move up the Quaker road to Gravelly Run crossing. By throwing out parties on your right you will be able to find General Humphreys in the direction of J. Slaughter's (the most northerly). He is feeling out in that direction.
To this I sent back by Major Jay the following reply:
I have just received the dispatch by Major Jay. I think my skirmishers are out on the Quaker road as far as Gravelly Run. They had been ordered there, and I'll see that it is done. My command will be posted as follows: One brigade, with the trains, at the junction of the Vaughan and stage roads; two brigades at the crossing of the Quaker and Vaughan roads; a brigade up the Quaker road; one on the road leading to R. Boisseau; Griffin's division near Chapel, Scott, and Hargreave. Skirmish lines will be put well out, and as soon as things are in hand I will push out a force to R. Boisseau's on the plank road. Barringer's brigade, and perhaps a division of cavalry, passed down the Quaker road to Stony Creek yesterday. No enemy met; a few scouts seen.
At 12 m. I received the following from General Webb, written 11.20 a. m.:
From your last dispatch the major-general commanding would infer that you did not understand his last order by Major Jay. Your disposition to cover your left flank and rear are approved, but this must not prevent your moving your corps up the Quaker road across Gravelly Run, and then facing north, with your right connecting with with General Humphreys. This done, you can make disposition to cover your left, and you will cover and hold the plank road, if possible, with your corps.
I immediately ordered General Grigin's division up the Quaker road, and sent the following dispatch to General Webb, by Captain Emory, the bearer of the last dispatch received:
I did not understand till Captain Emory came that I was to move my corps up the Quaker road. My dispositions were preliminary to feeling out from my assigned