Burronghs, of the Engineers. The position were selected, and the troops marched north to take them, General Negley's division taking the groung before occupied by General Palmer's troops. The same afternoon and in the evening I made an inspection of pickets and grand guards of the army, and found that, while divisions had pickets all round them, there was not, in accordance with orders, a continuous line of pickets and grand guards on our front and along the line upon which the enemy seemed to march, and that the large gaps were left in the picket-line between division. I immediately issued a circular to the assistant inspector-general of corps to remedy this, and to notify the division and brigade inspector to close up the lines immediately, in accordance with the established picket system of this army, and to keep them closed. The assistant inspector-general promptly reported when this was accomplished. They day following (18th0 I received orders to devote my attention to our right and see that no delay occured in the movement of troops when ordered. General Negley was ordered to move up to relieve General Palmer, and General Palmer to move up toward our left. I proceeded to General Palmer's headquarters and sent you the following dispatch at 12,30 p. m.:
GENERAL: General Palmer has notified General Negley that he will leave his present position at 2 p. m. General Palmer's grand guards will not be removed until properly relieved. No demonstration on General Palmer's front so far. As I came out I think I heard brisk firing on Colonel Barnes' front. I did not like the position of this brigade on yesterday. General Palmer will make it all right.
There seems to have been delay growing out of some misunderstanding in this chance of troops, for General Negley did not get into position until late in the evening, some of General Palmer's brigade commanders refusing to be relieved. In the meantime Brannan's division had the road and it was impossible for General Palmer's troops to get into column and push up the left, as ordered. I reported this to you, and received orders to go and get all the troops ordered to the left up and into position; that they must get through, and not to leave until I could report it was accomplished. In this I was assisted by Captain Drouillard and Lieutenant James Reynolds, of your staff. General Brannan's division was halted and turned to one side of the road; all the train turned into the woods, and the troops of Van Cleve and Palmer marched past them with their trains and artillery. General Brannan then followed, and all were in position before daylight at the position designated by you. General Negley had to take position in the night, and it was nearly daylight before Captain Johnston, inspector of that division, was able to report the picket-lines all right and inspected. This was a hard nitgh't work for men and animals, but it was performed without a murmur, all feeling that it was of the greatest importance and feeling certain that the next day wound bring a battle. On the morning of the 19th, before yourself and staff had left the Crawfish, I was ordered by you to proceed to the right to "push forward the troops on the march from the right as rapidly as possible, to take notice of all that occured and report." Early the enemy began to show themselves along General Negley's front, and some sharp firing was kept up between the skirmishers. At 11 a. m. I sent you the following dispatch from General Negley's front:
GENERAL: The enemy are advancing on General Beatty. Should not General Sheridan be crowde up as rapidly as possible? The head of General Davis' column has just arrived at this point. General Sheridan will fall in after him. I would go down and crowd up Sheridan, but I consider it important to watch events here. One battery and line of infantry in sight of General Beatty.