War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 0586 N. AND SE. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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February 18, 1865-9 a. m.

Brevet Major-General WEBB,

Chief of Staff:

I have the honor to report that nothing of importance transpired in front last night. A detail of 1,000 men from this corps is working to-day on the defenses near Hatcher's Run.


Major-General, Commanding.


February 18, 1865.

Major General G. K. WARREN,

Commanding Fifth Army Corps:

GENERAL: Ever since the 18th day of June, before Petersburg, Va., I have been thinking of the proposition I made you in July last. I feel that it is of so much importance as to justify a second consideration. I am satisfied in my own mind, as then, that the works of the enemy in front of Petersburg, or at almost any point on the line, can be carried by assault, and I think with less loss of men than in open field fighting. With their present extended lines, judging from our own, it is fair to presume that the enemy can have but a light line of men in their works. If that line can be attacked in force, without giving the enemy previous notice; if Fort Fisher, manned as it was, could be carried, I can see no good reason why we may not have equal success. I think two corps sufficient for the work. I would equip each file-closer with a shovel. The artillery and wagons should not be moved from park until the order of charge was given. I can but believe that their movement is a most treacherous tell-tale, and would be liable to put the enemy on his guard. I would move the troops by night from their cabins, in light marching order, on a short hour's notice. I can see no reason why two corps cannot thus be put in position, ready for the charge, with such secrecy as to preclude suspicion and without the knowledge of our pickets or the pickets of the enemy. My plan of assault is the same I suggested last summer. If you will permit me to select 1,000 picked men from the troops of your corps, permit me to officer them from the officers of the corps, allow me to drill them at least two days in each week until the time of assault, I will carry the work of the enemy at any point on the line that may be selected. The breach one made, the two corps can take position without opposition, and with the pioneer force then on the field, can so intrench before the enemy can make his dispositions as to make our obtained position perfectly secure. I would make the assault at early daylight, in two lines of battle. I believe I can reach the works of the enemy before he can get out of his blankets.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.