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[430] orders, was to guard the space between his left and the river, so as to give him information of any movement in that quarter. General Whiting, with some force, was holding a defensive position at Petersburg. General Beauregard proposed that the main part of it should advance and unite with him in an attack upon Butler wherever he should be found between Drewry's and Petersburg. To this I offered distinct objection, because of the hazard during a battle of attempting to make a junction of troops moving from opposite sides of the enemy; and proposed that Whiting's command should move at night by the Chesterfield road, where they would probably not be observed by Butler's advance. This march I supposed they could make so as to arrive at Drewry's by or soon after daylight. The next day being Sunday, they could rest, and, all the troops being assigned to their positions, could move to make a concerted attack at daylight on Monday. He spoke of some difficulty in getting a courier who knew the route and could certainly deliver the order to General Whiting. Opportunely, a courier arrived from General Whiting, who had come up the Chesterfield road. He then said the order would have to be drawn with a great deal of care, and that he would prepare it as soon as he could. I arose to take leave, and he courteously walked down the stairs with me, remarking as we went that he was embarrassed for the want of a good cavalry commander. I saw in the yard Colonel Chilton, assistant adjutant and inspector general, and said, ‘There is an old cavalry officer who was trained in my old regiment, the First Dragoons, and who I think will answer your requirements.’ Upon his expressing the pleasure it would give him to have Colonel Chilton, I told him of General Beauregard's want, and asked him if the service would be agreeable to him. He readily accepted it, and I left, supposing all the preliminaries settled. In the next forenoon Colonel Samuel Melton, of the adjutant and inspector general's department, called at my residence and delivered a message from General Beauregard to the effect that he had decided to order Whiting to move by the direct road from Petersburg, instead of by the Chesterfield route, and when I replied that I had stated my objections to General Beauregard to a movement which gave the enemy the advantage of being between our forces, he said General Beauregard had directed to explain to me that upon a further examination he found his force sufficient; that his operations, therefore, did not depend upon making a junction with Whiting.

On Monday morning I rode down to Drewry's, where I found that the enemy had seized our line of entrenchments, it being unoccupied,

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Whiting (6)
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B. F. Butler (2)
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