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[576] examined as to the name of their particular commands, their precise location, their aggregate number, and the time of their arrival in our front.

These examinations, as you know, formed part of my general duties as Inspector, and I always endeavored to carry them through with all due care and attention. I was ever exceedingly courteous towards prisoners, and made it a point to speak to them with the greatest kindness. As far as my experience goes, I may safely assert that eight prisoners out of ten, whenever examined with prudence and discretion, invariably spoke the truth, to the best of their knowledge and understanding. Very few ever refused to answer me; and I must say that information of more than ordinary importance to us was, at times, thus acquired from what they reported.

On the occasion I here refer to I was more than usually careful in my demeanor towards these prisoners, because of your suspecting General Grant's army to be already on the move towards Petersburg, as was indicated, you thought, by Butler's evident boldness in our front.

The substance of the information I obtained that day was, that General Grant was actually crossing the James; that such and such corps of his army, supposed to be facing General Lee's army, were already with Butler's troops; that the men had been made to go through long and fatiguing marches, and, to quote their own language, were loudly complaining of ‘hard march and hard tack.’

As soon as the result of my examination was reported to Headquarters you immediately despatched one of your aids, Captain Chisolm, to General Lee, to inform him of the circumstances above related. General Lee's headquarters were, at that time, near Drury's Bluff, and yours, on account of the general skirmishing we had had the day previous, were, temporarily, in the very town of Petersburg.

Not satisfied, apparently, with the message you had given to Captain Chisolm, and feeling more and more the necessity of being immediately reinforced, you also sent me to Drury's Bluff on the evening of the same day, my instructions being to see General Lee and read to him, as I had written them down, the answers of the different prisoners I had examined. You told me to impress upon the General's mind the necessity of his sending over reinforcements to your assistance as soon as possible; that you had suspected for several days what had at last happened, and had so informed the War Department, but, as usual, with no satisfactory result; that you had no troops—or nearly none— left you, and that if the General did not come to your assistance, with his whole army, in less than forty-eight hours, God Almighty alone would save Petersburg and Richmond.

I left as soon as I could get my horse ready, and arrived at General Lee's headquarters between twelve and one o'clock that night, having first procured a guide at General Anderson's headquarters, then established at the very spot where ours had been the day after the battle of Drury's Bluff.

I was not admitted to General Lee. Colonel Taylor—I think it was Colonel TaylorGeneral Lee's Chief of Staff, thought it unadvisable to disturb the General, who had not long since retired, he said, and who needed rest. Knowing


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R. E. Lee (7)
Richard Taylor (2)
Ulysses S. Grant (2)
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Benjamin F. Butler (2)
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