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[558]

In response to your request I take great pleasure in giving you a short narrative of my mission in this connection the week preceding and on the day of the battle of Drury's Bluff.

In the spring of 1864 the Hampton Legion, of which I was LieutenantColo-nel, had been ordered to South Carolina, to procure horses, with a view of being assigned as mounted infantry to a brigade which was then being organized for special service around Richmond. * * *

At the time the demonstration was made upon Petersburg by General Benjamin F. Butler the Hampton Legion was on the march from South Carolina to Richmond, and I, having been ordered in advance to Richmond, to procure suitable arms and accoutrements for the Legion, happened to be in Richmond at the time. Having made all the necessary arrangements for these arms and accoutrements, I applied at the Adjutant-General's office, in Richmond, for permission to go out upon the lines nearer Petersburg and offer my services to the officer in command. My request was granted, and I proceeded accordingly to Petersburg, and was assigned to the duty of inspecting and reorganizing the picket lines of communication between our lines north of Petersburg and south of Richmond. I was on this duty when you determined to move your headquarters from Petersburg to Drury's Bluff, and accompanied you on your march from the lines north of Petersburg, via Chesterfield Court-house, to Drury's Bluff. After reaching Drury's Bluff I was retained at your headquarters, and assigned to duty temporarily as one of your staff-officers. During the day of May 15th Colonel Samuel Melton, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, notified me that you desired me to take your written and verbal instructions to General Whiting, at his headquarters, near Petersburg, as you intended attacking the enemy on the morning of the 16th, and felt anxious that there should, by no possibility, be any miscarriage of your instructions to General Whiting, or any misunderstanding as to their import. My impression is that you had sent copies of your instructions through another source, and that you were merely taking the additional precaution to insure their receipt by him through me. Just before starting on my mission I was sent for by you, and in the presence of Colonel Melton the written despatches were given to me, and their contents carefully explained to me by you.

You desired me to be in position to give them verbally to General Whiting, in case it became necessary for me to destroy them, to prevent any risk of their falling into the hands of the enemy, and at the same time you impressed upon me the importance of General Whiting implicitly obeying them, and you authorized me, if necessary, to state this to him. I received the despatches, started on my mission, and reached General Whiting's headquarters during the night of the 15th, and found him at his headquarters, in the ‘Dunlop Castle,’ near Swift Creek, about three miles from Petersburg. General Whiting read the despatches, expressed himself as understanding them entirely, and gave orders for the advance of his entire force by daylight the next morning.

I remained at his headquarters during the night, and accompanied General Whiting in the morning upon his advance. His forces were on the march by daylight, and advanced steadily until they struck the enemy's picket line. The


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