Court-House to report to General Sheridan. This division will go down the boydton plank road. Send Griffin's division. General Humphreys will hold to Mrs. Butler's.
Whereupon I issued the following order to my command, which was sent out 9.35 p. m.:
I. General Ayres will immediately withdraw his division back to where it was massed yesterday, near the Boydton plank road.
II. General Crawford will follow General Ayres, and mass his troops behind the entrenchments near Mrs. Butler's.
III. General Griffin will immediately withdraw General Bartlett to his present position; then move back to the plank road and down to Dinwiddie Court-House, and report to General Sheridan.
IV. Captain Horrell, with the escort, will remain where General Griffin's headquarters now are till daybreak, and then come back to the plank road, bringing in all stragglers.
V. Division commander sin executing this movement, which is ordered by General Meade, will take care to see that none of their pickets or any portion of the troops are left behind.
VI. General Ayres and General Crawford will have their troops under arms at daylight, and the chief of artillery will have all the batteries in readiness to move.
At 9.50 p. m. I received by telegraph the following from General Webb, written 9.20 p. m.:
The division to be sent to Sheridan will start at once. You are to be held free to act within the Boydton plank road. General Humphreys will hold to the road and the return.
To this I immediately replied:
Your dispatch of 9.20 is just received. I had already sent out my orders, of which I send you a copy. You directed General Griffin to be sent to General Sheridan at once. It will take so much time to get his command together that I withdraw the other divisions first, they being unengaged, but this will not retard General Griffin. The bridge is broken on the plank road, and will take I hardly know how long to make practicable for infantry. I sent an officer (Captain Benyaurd, engineers) to examine it as soon as your first order was received. He now reports it not fordable for infantry. It requires a span of forty feet to complete the bridge, and the stream is too deep to ford. Nevertheless, I will use everything I can get to make it passable by the time General Griffin's division reaches it.
General Griffin's division, in addition to the delay of assembling General Bartlett's brigade, had to withdraw his picket-line in front of the enemy, and if he over first, the others, pending it, had to relieve his picket-line.
The bridge over Gravelly Run we had found broken by the enemy on our occupation of the plank road on the 29th. As I was required to operate independently of the cavalry and protect my own flanks, it was desirable to me, being in my rear, as I forced the enemy on the White Oak road, that it should remain so. Even the dispatch this evening from General Meade, which I received at 8 p. m. (previously given), would have justified me in destroying it had it yet been standing intact.
I had no pontoons with me now. The supply with which I had started on the 29th had been used in bridging Rowanty Creek and the Quaker road crossing of Gravelly Run, and the boats and engineers were kept there for the service of the trains. I directed a house to be torn to pieces to supply materials. At 10.15 p. m. I received by telegraph the following dispatch from General Webb, written 9.40 p.m .:
Since your dispatch of 8.20 p. m., the general commanding finds that it is impossible for Bartlett to join Griffin in time to move with any promptitude down the Boydton plank road. He therefore directs that you send another good brigade to join Griffin in the place of Bartlett's in this movement.
Sheridan was attacked by five brigades from Gordon's corps-three from Pickett's, possibly by two from Gordon's, one of them being Hoke's old brigade.