that if the crest of the ridge behind the fort, and distant from it by only four hundred yards, could be carried, it would secure the most important results, carrying with it Petersburg, and probably a large part of the enemy's artillery and infantry.
Meade's testimony.—Ibid., p. 126.
About the time fixed for the assault, which was the morning of the 30th of July, there happened a conjuncture of events that promised a happy bearing on the result.
Four days before —that is, on the 26th of July—an expeditionary force under General Hancock, consisting of the Second Corps with two divisions of Sheridan's cavalry, had been sent to operate towards Richmond by the north side of the James.
Hancock crossed at Deep Bottom on the night of the 26th, with instructions to proceed rapidly to Chapin's Bluff, where Lee had established ponton-bridges, that were his means of communication between the two parts of his army.
Hancock was to prevent Confederate re-enforcements from being sent to t<