War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0384 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Army of the Potomac was engaged at Hatcher's Run. December 5 [7] the Fifth Corps, supported by the Ninth, made a march toward Weldon. On such occasions the moving columns were generally directed in orders to be provided with a small stated allowance of subsistence, forage, and ammunition wagons and ambulances. The main trains remained parked in safe and convenient positions near the outer defense of the City Point depot, but always loaded and fully prepared to move forward whenever and wherever needed. It was the rule after having passed the James in June, 1864, that each corps should generally be followed by its own trains.

On the evening of the 23rd of January, 1865, it was known that the rebels were apparently preparing to make a raid down the James, with their fleet of iron-clads and wooden boats, for the purpose of destroying our depots on the river, particularly that great on at City Point, where supplies had been accumulated and stored to meet the wants of the armies in case the James River and Northern ports should be closed by ice. The weather was already very inclement, and the Potomac and Delaware were then, or shortly afterward, rendered entirely ennavigable by ice. Early on the 24th the rebels fleet approached our obstructions and one of the iron-clads passed them, but the one following got foul upon them. Our batteries made obstinate resistance and blew up one of the smaller gun-boats. Our men volleys of musketry into the ram that had passed the obstructions. The navy at that point was not prepared at the moment for any effective resistance. Had the rebels persisted at that time they could, had they succeeded, have inflicted upon us incalculable losses, the result of which no one can pretend now to estimate; but most fortunately for us they abandoned the raid and retired to their former position. Two or three days laterad was impossible for these boats to make a descent. The navy was thoroughly prepared, and I had sent, by order of the lieutenant-general, my aide-de-camp, Bvt. Captain J. W. French, Eighth Infantry, up the river with vessels laden with coal, who sunk two on the night of the 25th of fill up the gap made in the obstructions. He performed the service under the enemy's guns with great gallantry.

Our lines were extended to Hatcher's Run on the 7th of February. The enemy attacked and carried Fort Stedman, within the lines of the Ninth Corps, on the morning of the 25th of March, but were shortly driven our with a loss of some 4,500 killed, wounded, and prisoners. Meantime the lieutenant-general was preparing to strike the decisive blow of the whole war. The sick were sent to the rear. The different staff departments were ordered to be in readiness with all necessary supplies for the expected march. The arrangements made by me were similar to those described in my reports of other great battles. The trains were laden with ten days" subsistence and forage and sixty rounds per man of ammunition. The troops were fully supplied with clothing, and were required to carry five days" subsistence and forty rounds of ammunition on their persons. The trains were to remain in park, as usual, until the result of the attack should be known.

The movement commenced by the left on the 29th of March. On the evening of April 1 Sheridan overthrew the enemy at Five Forks and gave us possession of the South Side road. On the next night and morning the Sixth Corps, under General Wright, carried the enemy's works in its front. The enemy was driven from his works around