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[20]

Inasmuch as I was present at the time, and gave the order to occupy both batteries, Gregg and Whitworth, and made such other disposition of the small number of men at my disposal as was believed would best answer the purpose in view, and finally, when this was accomplished, directed the withdrawal to the main line in rear, and as my official report has never been published, I will now give some of the facts connected with the defence of these two batteries. Before doing so, however, it would be Well to refer briefly to our line that was exterior to the main or Petersburg line on this part of our very widely extended field, and to state in what manner they were held, going somewhat into the details of the military operations of the few days preceding April second.

Early in October, 1864, Heth's division and two brigades, Lane's and McGowan's, of my division, were placed in position with orders to entrench, the line being east of the Boydton plank road, which ran to Dinwiddie Courthouse. The left of the line was near where this road crossed Old Town creek, and some two hundred yards east of the road, and little less than a mile from the lines around Petersburg; the right rested on Hatcher's run, a mile below Burgess' mill, this being at the crossing of the run by the Dinwiddie Courthouse road. This new line guarded the road-Boydton plank road-over which we received supplies from Hicksford, on the Weldon railroad, in rear or south of the point where the Federal line crossed this road.

March 27th, General Grant withdrew all save a small force from the north side of James river, and on the 29th moved the bulk of his army towards the extreme right of our lines, then resting below Burgess' mill. General Lee shifted to his extreme right Pickett's division and part of that of Bushrod Johnson's, March 29th; then took position beyond Burgess' mill and to the right of the road and nearly parallel With the White Oak road. 10 P. M., McCrae's brigade, of Heth's division, and McGowan's brigade, of my division, were moved from the line covering the Boydton plank road to the vicinity


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