right. During this movement the enemy opened with artillery from some breast-works near the Burgees house. It was for some time uncertain whether this was on the north or south side of Hatcher's Run, but reconnaissances which we made and prisoners taken showed it to be at the junction of the plank road with the White Oak road.
I went out on our picket-line, after it had been advanced, to see the enemy's breast-works, and found these were well located and constructed and defend by infantry and artillery, wherever the trees enabled us to see them. The timber had been well slashed to give effect to their fire, and where the fallen trees did not obstruct the ground abatis had been laid. It rained very hard during these operations.
While occupied in the above manner, I sent, at 12,40 p. m., the following:
I have just received notice from General Humphreys that Jesserters inform him that Heth's and Wicox's divisions left Petersburg this morning, and are now in the lines this side of Hatcher's Run. P. S.-Prisoners just captured (four of them) in front of First Division picket-line report that they understood that two of the divisions that came down were Heth's and Pickett's.
About 1.20 p. m. I received the following dispatch from General Webb, written at 1 p. m.:
In view of the information received from the cavalry, and of the state of the weather, General Meade directs more to state you are not to shorten any line you may have developed, but you will push that well up to the enemy, and, having entrenched, you will await orders. your dispatches of 12.40 is received.
At 1.20 p. m. I received from General Webb the following from Colonel E. S. Parker, on Lieutenant-General Grant's staff, written 12.45 p. m.:
The lieutenant just in from General Merritt's with dispatches from Sheridan. Merritt says that the reconnaissance sent out from near Boisseau's encountered the enemy in considerable force. They went to about two miles of the Five Forks; found the enemy occupying the orad. Those going north proceeded to about a mile of the White Oak road, and found the road also occupied by the enemy. Nearly all the forces met these cavalry. All the roads leading toward the White Oak road are covered by the enemy. No engagement reported.
At 2.30 p. m. I sent the following report to General Webb-the first paragraph relating to General Griffin's front; the latter, to General Ayres, from I had just heard:
I have advanced my line of battle to cover the junction of the Dabney Mill road with the plank road, and made a heavy advance with my skirmisher. The enemy opened with artillery from a fort near Burgess' Tavern, and also from a point near T. Pentecoast's. General Ayres' advance is near S. Dabney's, meeting that far with no opposition. From his advanced point he saw infantry moving west on the White Oak road. Soon as our attack began near the plank road there was a movement of their troops back toward Burgess' Mill. The reports about their late movements are a little uncertain. I have received the report of General Merritt's operations. His skirmishers could be heard due west from J. Stroud's.
At 3.15 p. m. I sent the following to General Webb:
We have captured one officer of Pickett's division near S. Dabney's. He was in charge of a guard to the train that was passing west. I was mistaken about Griffin's firing causing these troops to return; they have all gone on. Cannot General Humphreys extend a little more to the left, and let me have Griffin's division to move out with, as well as Ayres and Crawford? I am already advanced as far as I think it would be prudent to take up a continuous line. The cavalry skirmishing is now heard southwest from Dabney's.
At 4 p. m. I again addressed General Webb on the same subject, as follows:
General Ayres' advance now sees the White Oak road near W. Dabney's for three quarters of a mile. There is a difficult swamp between the plank road and that