a division at least, in the lead, well supported, and to keep his whole command in readiness to move down the Old Richmond road. The object of this order is clear. It was necessary to sieze the heights in order to enable the remainder of his force to move down the Old Richmond road, with a view of getting in rear of the enemy's line on the crest. He was ordered to sieze these heights, if possible, and to do it at once. I sent him a copy of the order to General Sumner, in which it will be seen that I direct General Sumner's column not to move until he received orders from me; while he (General Franklin) was ordered to move at once. The movements were not intended to be simultaneous. In fact, I did not intend to move General Sumner until I learned that Franklin was about to gain the heights near Hamilton's, which I then supposed he was entirely able to do. I sent the order to General Franklin by General James A. Hardie, a member of my staff. It reached him at 7:30 A. M. I cannot possibly give a more intelligent account of the movements of General Franklin's command that day, than by copying into this report the despatches of General Hardie, which are as follows:
December 13, 7:40 A. M.General Meade's division is to make the movement from our left, but it is just reported that the enemy's skirmishers are advancing, indicating an attack upon our position on the left.9 A. M.General Meade just moved out; Doubleday supports him; Meade's skirmishers, however, engaged at once with enemy's skirmishers. Battery opening on Meade, probably from position on Old Richmond road.