HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIFTH ARMY CORPS, January 31, 1865.
Chief of Staff:
After dark last evening I placed a squad of men at the point spoken of yesterday, with directions to withdraw at or just before daybreak. During the day we have a fair view of the river from our picket-line. I have thought that this arrangement would answer better than by having a permanent post at that point. I wait for further instructions.
C. A. HECKMAN,
JANUARY 31, 1865-10.50 a. m.
General Ord directs you to instruct General Wild to keep out a small picket party, not to exceed s twenty-five men, at the point I indicated to you yesterday, with a view of preventing boat parties of the enemy landing in the neighborhood of the graveyard. If twenty-five men should be more than sufficient take a less number. The idea of the commanding general is not to attract the attention of the enemy to such an extent as to draw his fire form the batteries on the opposite shore, as it would inflict injury upon our men in the trenches. The object in occupying this ground is simply to show to the enemy that they are forbidden to come onto this ground, and not to excite their suspicion that we are about to engaged in may enterprise.
JNO. W. TURNER,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES, OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER, Near Aiken's, Va., January 31, 1865.
Brigadier General C. A. HECKMAN,
Commanding Twenty-fifth Army Corps:
GENERAL: By direction of the major-general commanding, I this morning reported to Brigadier General W. Birney for the purpose of examining the ground in front and to the left of Fort Burnham to determine what dispositions should be made to prevent the enemy from massing troops under the fort and out of reach of its guns preparatory to an assault. It was decided that a rifle-pit should be dug-around the crest of the hill to completely command the ground at the base, extending from the front around to the left, and so constructed as to afford no cover for the enemy, and that a battery for one section of field pieces be erected in front of the camp of the Ninth Regiment of Colored Troops at the salient inthe line, so as to sweep the low ground before Fort Burnham and at of the plan, and desire that you will direct General Birney to carry it out, the rifle-pits to be finished before the battery is built.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY A. VEZIN,
Captain, Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Acting Assistant Engineer.