line on the Boydton plank road, running one-fourth a mile west, then refused to the rear until it again strikes the plank road near the junction of the Quaker road, from thence south on the plank road a few hundred yards. The left of his picket-line rests near a large branch of Gravelly Run.
At 6.10 a. m. March 31 the following dispatch was received from General Ayres, written at an hour not named:
I have the honor to request that the line of pickets now extending to the Dabney house may be relieved by other troops as soon as my division take up it snow position. I would relieve them by other troops of this division, but those troops new on are so well tired out (having been on picket at the last position on the Vaughan road) that I can't expect much service from them to-day, and the effective force of the division would thus be reduced.
The following directions were consequently sent at 7 a. m. to General Crawford:
Withdraw all your pickets south of those established by General Ayres; then move with your whole division and mass it by a horse occupied by a colored man; then replace General Ayres' pickets from left of General Humphreys up to a point north of negro house. Make your headquarters at that house. Leave the pioneers of two brigades to begin to make a bridge across the stream for the passage of artillery. Major Cope will go with you and assist you in carrying out this order.
Instructions were also sent to General Crawford to support General Ayres, and it was my intention to go in person to superintend operations at the point as soon as the giving and receiving instructions necessary for the operations of the day would permit. On this morning, as on the preceding one, the dispatches received and orders rendered thereby necessary to be issued retained me at the vicinity of the telegraph office till nearly 9 a.m.
At 7.35 a. m. the following dispatch was received from General Webb, per U. S. military telegraph, written at 7.30 a. m. March 31, 1865:
The general commanding desires you to report the position of your troops this a. m.
In answer to which the following was sent:
General Griffin's troops will be massed near Mrs. Butler's General Ayres' near S. Dabney's; General Crawford about half way between. They are along a wood road running from near Mrs. Butler's to W. Dabney's, on the White Oak road; it is not practicable now for wheels, and there is a very difficult branch of Gravelly Run that runs south from the White Oak Ridge, joining the main stream at the crossing of the plank road, which will take a long time to make practicable for wagons. I have all the pioneers I can spare to work on it. I will send you a sketch.
Finding myself still delayed in going to General Ayres position, the following dispatch was sent to him at 8.15 a. m. March 31:
During the night I received a dispatch, of which the inclosed is a copy. I infer from that that the small force of General Merritt which gained the White Oak road fell back again a short distance. The point called Five Forks, alluded to, is on the White Oak road, about four miles due west from S. Dabney's. You must, therefore, have your dispositions made to look out for any force coming against your left flank from the west, as well as from the north. General Crawford is to mass at the negro house in a field which you passed on your way out, and Griffin is where you camped last night. I send you a tracing.
At 8.40 a. m. I received the following dispatch from General Webb, written 8.25 a. m.:
There is firing along Humphreys' front. The major-general commanding desires you be ready to send your reserve, if it should be called for, to support Humphreys. There will be no movement of troops to-day.