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[265] by the enemy; that the left-hand road led to Robertson's Tavern, and also in the direction of Warren's firing, which he plainly heard. For these reasons General Prince was satisfied he should take the left-hand road, and so reported to General French, and awaited orders. After a delay of two hours, he was finally ordered to take the other road, which.he did, his skirmishers soon encountering the enemy. He there reports he was ordered to cease operations, as he was on the wrong road; and after another delay, he was again ordered forward with the information that he was on the right road. Soon after advancing the second time, Carr's division being deployed on his left, the enemy opened a warm fire, and General Prince reports his line fell back a short distance, till they uncovered a battery he had posted in the only open ground that was in the rear. The line rallied and re-formed behind the battery, the fire from which checked the advancing enemy, when the line advanced to its former position and halted, the action ceasing, as it was then dark. General Carr, on the left of General Prince, had one of his brigades driven back, and his other brigades relieved by Birney's division after exhausting their ammunition. Birney's division, formed in rear of Carr's, soon relieved the latter, repulsing all the attacks of the enemy, and finally, toward dark, advancing its line of skirmishers over the battle-field.

I have been thus minute in the details of the movements of the Third corps, because in my opinion the unnecessary delay in the progress of this corps, and the failure to attack the enemy as soon as he was encountered, deploying to the left, and allowing the Sixth corps to pass, and continue the line to Warren, was the cause that a junction of the centre and right columns was not made early in the morning of the twenty-seventh, and was one of the primary causes of the failure of the whole movement. In consequence of this delay, Warren remained on the defensive all day, and toward evening, being pressed by the enemy, and I being anxious to hold Robertson's Tavern, the centre and key-point of my position, sent orders for the First corps to move over from the plank-road to the support of Warren, the corps arriving at Robertson's Tavern about dark of the twenty-seventh. The Fifth corps moved early in the morning after a slight delay to permit Gregg's division of cavalry to precede it on the plank-road. Gregg advanced as far as Hope Church, where he had a severe engagement with the enemy's cavalry, in which he was successful in driving them, until they were strongly reinforced by infantry, when Gregg fell back, and was relieved by Major-General Sykes, commanding the Fifth corps, who by this time had been advised of the failure of the Third corps to connect with the Second, and who was accordingly instructed not to advance beyond the crossing of the road from Robertson's Tavern, near which is Hope Church. From the reports of the force in front of Major-Generals, French and Warren, there was reason to believe the enemy were concentrating on the turnpike and Raccoon Ford roads, and orders were sent to the Fifth and Sixth corps to move over toward Robertson's Tavern, which order was executed by daylight the next morning, twenty-eighth ultimo. On this day (the twenty-eighth) disposition was made to attack the enemy, but on driving in his pickets it was found he had retired during the night. Pursuit was immediately made, the Second corps in advance, when, after a march of about two miles, the enemy was found in position on the west bank of Mine Run. A severe storm of rain had set in, delaying the marching of the troops, particularly the artillery, and preventing a. position being taken up till after dark, at which time, the Second, Sixth, First, and part of the Third corps were in line fronting the enemy. A reconnoissance of the enemy's position showed it to be extremely formidable. The western bank of Mine Run, with an elevation of over one hundred feet, had a gentle and smooth slope to the creek, averaging over a thousand yards of cleared ground. The summit, on which was the enemy's line of battle, was already crowned with infantry parapets, abattis, epaulements for batteries. The creek itself was a considerable obstacle, in many places swampy and impassable. A careful examination, made personally and by engineer officers, convinced me there was no probability of success in an attack in our immediate front in the vicinity of the turnpike. It was therefore determined, on the evening of the twenty-eighth, to send Major-General Warren, with the Second corps and a division of the Sixth corps, to move to our left, to feel for the enemy's right flank, and turn him, if practicable; at the same time orders were given to each corps commander to critically examine his front, and ascertain the practicability of an assault. The twenty-ninth was spent in the reconnoissance and the movement of General Warren. About six P. M. Brigadier-General Wright, commanding division in the Sixth corps, reported to me he had discovered a point, on our extreme right, where the obstacles to be overcome were much less than in our immediate front, and where an assault, he thought, was practicable with inconsiderable loss. At the same time Captain Michler, engineer, reported that an assault in front of the Third corps, though hazardous, was not impracticable. I also learned from Major Ludlow, A. D. C., just returned from General Warren's column, that General Warren had moved up the plank-road, driving in the enemy's skirmishers, till he developed their line of battle, and had taken a position which outflanked the enemy, and from which there was no difficulty of assaulting and turning the enemy's flank. These favorable reports caused me to decide on making three assaults--one on the enemy's left flank, with the Sixth and Fifth corps; one in the centre, with the Third and First corps; and one on the enemy's right, by the force under General Warren, consisting of the Second corps and one division of the Sixth. At eight P. M., General Warren reported in person, confirming all Major Ludlow had reported,


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