War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0178 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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removed. Preparations were also made to move, if necessary, all surplus property and the sick in hospitals to within the lines of City Point. Arrangements in regard to the further disposition of troops were directed in the event of a general move; those not previously designated for holding the intrenched lines to be formed into a moveable column, under the immediate orders of the commanding officer of the Second Corps. All work not necessary for the defense of the position held by the army was suspended. The movement had scarcely commenced when, in consequence of severe storms of rain, accompanied with sleet, the army was finally compelled to return to its old position, some considerable damage having been effected along the line of the railroad.

Comparative quiet again reigned throughout the army, with the exception of the attempt of the enemy's iron-clads to come down the James River on the 24th of January, 1865, until the 4th of February, when a movement of the cavalry was ordered for the following day, to be supported a small train of the enemy on the Boydton plank road and entered Dinwiddie Court-House. In consequence of the destruction of a bridge over Hatcher's Run, the Fifth Corps was detained for several hours in crossing, and the former, not being supported, fell back. A severe attack was made upon the Second Corps, but was repulsed, and little more was effected on that day. On the following morning (6th) the Fifth Corps was ordered to pass the stream at the crossing on the Vaughan road and take up position to the left of the Second, the cavalry protecting its flank.

Some severe fighting took place during the day. Early on the same morning he had been sent to select a line between Fort Sampson and Armstrong's Mill, and choose sites for works to hold and command the crossing at the latter place and the one on the Vaughan road. On the 7th orders were issued to intrench the line, but on the following day were so modified as to cause the line to be run direct from Fort Sampson to the Vaughan road crossing. The length of this addition to the intrenched line is nearly four miles, making the front line from the Appomattox to Hatcher's Run fifteen miles of continuous earthworks. Heavy storms of rain and sleet again disturbed this movement.

With the exception of the attack on Fort Stedman on the 25th of March, and its temporary occupancy by the enemy, no event of importance occurred until the inauguration of the campaign on the 28th of the same month. The distance from Battery No. 10, adjoining Fort Stedman, to the point of the enemy's line (Colquitt's salient), immediately opposite, is only 613 feet between the main works, the shortest distance between the two at any point, excepting at Elliott's salient (the locality of the mine). The picket-lines of the two armies were only 435 feet apart, those of the enemy only a few feet in front of his main works. One of the advanced Union pickets was only separated 205 feet from his opposite neighbor, a narrow boyau leading to his pit from the main line. Without the exercise of the most untiring vigilance on the part of the picket and the garrison, any sudden dash at the first early dawn of the morning might prove momentarily successful; but a position so well flanked by adjacent batteries, and commanded by others in its rear, proved so untenable as to cause the enemy to be most severely punished for his temerity, and to compel him to relinquish the object of an attack for which no reasonable explanation can be made.