CITY POINT, March 3, 1865. [Received 1.45 p.m.]
Colonel G. D. RUGGLES,
The Ninety-first New York Volunteers are now being loaded on the train. Transportation by rail could not be provided till this time. The entire regiment will be en route before 1.30 p.m.
M. P. PATRICK.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER, March 3, 1865.
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
SIR: In compliance with instructions contained in letter from the chief of staff, dated March 2, I have the honor to make the following report: The plan of attack proposed by Major-General Potter is as follows: An attacking column to be formed in our front line to the left of the Jerusalem plank road, a supporting column a little in rear, under cover of a ridge in front of Fort Davis. The first column to move forward, carry the rebel works to the right of Fort Mahone, then without delay attack the rear line on the heights. This column to be preceded by a pioneer party to clear away obstructions; the supporting column to follow as soon as the first line of works is carried. The plan of General McLaughlen is nearly the same. This column of attack is to push through the rebel line in front of Fort Haskell, and from thence to the works on the crest of Cemetery Hill. In addition to this, he proposes to destroy the dam built this winter by the enemy in front of Fort Stedman; overflow the ground in rear of the rebel left-thus cut off the retreat of that portion of the line. Both of these attacks must take place in the night, as by daylight the attacking columns would be exposed to a heavy artillery fire in front and on both flanks. There is great danger of troops moving in the night over ground obstructed by abatis, entanglements, &c., falling into confusion, firing into each other, or at least delaying long enough to allow the enemy to bring up his reserves. In case of a reverse, the returning troops must suffer severely, particularly on General Potter's front, as they would be exposed for a long distance to a heavy artillery fire. As an isolated operation, I consider the result of the proposed attack as very doubtful. If, however, a movement were made by our left, or by the Army of the James, sufficiently serious to draw off the rebel reserves, I think the proposed assault might be made with a fair chance of success.
J. C. DUANE,
Major of Engineers and Brevet Colonel.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, March 3, 1865.
Respectfully forwarded for the information of the lieutenant-general commanding.
I consider the success of the proposed attacks too doubtful to advise their attempt, unless strong evidence is obtained of the enemy's line