by Mechanicsville turnpike. But for duties in the office I would have gone out to see you this morning, the firing being distinctly heard.
With my best wishes for the improvement of your health and welfare in all things, I am, very truly, your friend,
HEADQUARTERS LONGSTREET'S CORPS,
May 31, --7 p. m.
General R. E. LEE,
GENERAL: I am now relieving General Early. General Hoke has got into position, his right extending a little beyond Cold Harbor and his left a little this side of Beulah Church. There is some skirmishing going on in his front. I think he has nothing but cavalry opposed to him. General Early says he is satisfied that the enemy has no infantry this side (south) of the Matadequin. I will push forward a strong force at daylight in the morning on the road from Beulah Church to Mrs. Allen's, on the other side of the Matadequin, and another along the Old Cold Harbor and Old Church road, and find out positively what is before me. Two prisoners taken to-day by General Ramseur's skirmishers report the Fifth Corps intrenching on both these roads. This has just been told me.
I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
R. H. ANDERSON,
P. S.--Will General Hoke be under my command, or is his a separate and co-operating force?
R. H. ANDERSON.
MAY 31, 1864--4.30 a. m.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: I have just received the inclosed note* from General Butler. I have declined to send the regiment of infantry to him, because I don't think it prudent to detach it; but I am in position to protect Mechanicsville, and will do so. My troops are one mile west of Bethesda, connecting with Anderson's right, and my right cannot be more than three miles from Cold Harbor; perhaps not that. I picket nearly up to Bethesda. I saw a great number of fires along the ridge from Hundley's Corner to Linney's, and also a considerable light farther to the south, perhaps on the Matadequin lower down. I have heard nothing from enemy this morning. I think it abundantly evident that he has massed a very large force on the Totopotomoy (more than I think this corps can handle), and I have no doubt the enemy is making his way toward the York River Railroad and is fortifying along the ridge back of the Matadequin at Bethesda. There is a narrow ridge between the headwaters of Beaver Dam and the Matadequin, which renders it difficult to attack the enemy to advantage, as the swamp of