Today in History:

1005 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


Reserve, Brigadier General A. H. Colquitt commanding: Ransom's brigade, Colquitt's brigade.

Artillery. - Hoke's division: Battalion Washington Artillery, Lieutenant-Colonel Eshleman. Ransom's division: Lightfoot's battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Lightfoot. Colquitt's reserve: Macon's Richmond Fayette Artillery and the battalion under Captain Martin, all under Major Owen, Washington Artillery.

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By command of General Beauregard:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

Petersburg, May 15, 1864.

General BRAGG,

Headquarters Confederate Armies, Richmond:

GENERAL: I arrived here by order of General Beauregard on the 13th, having received a telegram to "come on and confer with him if I could leave Wilmington without danger." On arriving I found the general about leaving and received orders to assume command of the department, to make my headquarters where necessary, and to report to the War Department. I have examined the situation of affairs here and the system of defense. It is my duty to tell you that both are very unpromising - the latter worthless. The enemy having been permitted to occupy the important position of Howlett's Neck, between the James and Appomattox, with the force he possesses, threatens equally Drewry's Bluff and Petersburg. The latter is in great danger because on the north side toward the enemy it has no fortifications, it having been apparently thought that the river would be defense enough, whereas it is an advantage to the enemy.

They have also occupied the Red Bluff and the river from City Point, on the right bank, to the Red Bluff. This is 1 1/2 miles from the city lines and completely commands the line occupied by our troops on the north of Appomattox and will give them and their gun-boats a ready entrance to the town when they please. The breast-works on the south side are 9 miles in extent and of no use as to the enemy's present position and object. It is, therefore, in his power to take this city, with my present force and position, when he pleases, unless he is attacked on his right. His object is undoubtedly Petersburg, the capture of which is easy and which equally affects Richmond; indeed would be more serious than the taking of Drewry's as well as easier. The massing in front of Drewry's is, I think, a feint. They can change that in any one night, and if not instantly attacked on their right can readily force this insignificant line of Swift Creek held by a small brigade and enfiladed from Red Bluff.

They appear to have been established and fortifying at Red Bluff for some days. In my opinion they are only waiting to commence here for the return of their cavalry raid, which having cut the Danville and South Side railroads are now approaching the Weldon road. I have positive information that this force is under Spear, and after their previous attack on the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad crossed over at City Point, and when our forces moved to Drewry's, passed by their rear to strike the Danville road. As soon as they return they