It should be mentioned, that on the evening of the twelfth I ordered General Stoneman, with two divisions of his corps, to a point near the lower bridges, as supports for General Franklin. The forces now under the command of General Franklin consisted of about sixty thousand men, as shown by the morning reports, and was composed as follows: General commanding directs that you keep your command in position for a rapid movement down the old Richmond road,and you will send out at once a division at least, to pass below Smithfield, to seize, if possible, the heights near Captain Hamilton's, on this side of the Massaponax, taking care to keep it well supported and its. line of retreat open. He has ordered another column, of a division or more, to be moved from General Sumner's command up the plank road to its intersection with the telegraph road, where they will divide, with a view to seizing the heights on both of those roads. Holding those two heights, with the heights near Captain Hamilton's, will, he hopes, compel the enemy to evacuate the whole ridge between these points. I make these moves by columns, distant from each other, with a view of avoiding the possibility of a collision of our own forces, which might occur in a general movement during the fog. Two of General Hancock's divisions are in your rear, at the bridges, and will remain there as supports. Copies of instructions given to Generals Sumner and Hooker will be forwarded to you by an orderly, very soon. You will keep your whole command in readiness to move at once, as soon as the fog lifts. The watchword, which, if possible, should be given to every company, will be “Scott.” I have the honor to be, General, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,Jno. G. Parke, Chief of Staff.
Headquartes, Army of the Potomac, December 13, 1862--6 A. M.The General commanding directs that you extend the left of your command to Deep River, connecting with General Franklin, extending your right as far as your judgment may dictate. He also directs that you push a column of a division or more along the plank and telegraph roads, with a view to seizing the heights in the rear of the town. The latter movement should be well covered by skirmishers, and supported so as to keep its line of retreat open. Copy of instructions given to General Franklin will be sent to you very soon; you will please await them at your present headquarters, where he (the General commanding) will meet you. Great care should be taken to prevent a collision of our own forces during the fog. The watchword for the day will be “Scott.” The column for a movement up the telegraph and plank roads will be got in readiness to move, but will not move until the General commanding communicates with you. I have the honor to be, General, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Major-General E. V. Sumner, commanding Right Grand Division, Army of the Potomac:John G. Parke, Chief of Staff.
headquarters, Army of the Potomac, December 13, 1862--7 A. M.The General commanding directs that you place General Butterfield's corps and Whipple's division in position to cross at a moment's notice at the three upper bridges, in support of the other troops over the river; and the two remaining divisions of General Stoneman's corps in readiness to cross at the lower ford in support of General Franklin. The General commanding will meet you at headquarters (Phillip's House) very soon. Copies of instructions to General Sumner and General Franklin will be sent to you. I have the honor to be, General, very respectfully, Your obedient Servant,
Major-General Joseph Hooker, commanding Center Division, Army of the Potomac:Jno. G. Parke, Chief of Staff.
|Sixth corps||24,000 men.|
|First corps||18,500 men.|
|Third corps--two divisions||10,000 men.|
|Ninth corps--Burns' division||4,000 men.|
|Bayard's cavalry||3,500 men.|