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[330] he was to retire from the Station β€˜to-night in case we get through safe.’

At 4.30 he sent another despatch, expressing the belief that his right could not be turned, owing to the nature of the country and the time required to do it, but expressing some fears about his left, and stating that he had ordered up Wilcox's Division.

At 4.45 he again telegraphed that the enemy had drawn a line from his left, covering the railroad and the Dinwiddie and Stony Creek roads; that they could be heard chopping, and that the road was still clear between him and Warren. He says:

As soon as I knew that Wilcox's Division had been ordered down the Plank Road, I despatched a staff officer (Capt. Entee) to conduct it up. Arrangements were made as to its disposition. About 5 o'clock, a staff officer from Gen. Mott (Maj. Willian) reported the arrival of seven hundred men of Gen. Mott's Division at the forks of the road where the Reams Station leaves the Plank Road. These troops would have been immediately ordered up, but Maj. Willian stated that before β€” he could possibly get back with the order Wilcox's Division would have passed, so that nothing would be gained. Orders were therefore given to Col. McAllister, commanding the force, to hold well down the Plank Road in anticipation of any attempt of the enemy's cavalry to pass to our rear. An order was also sent him to arrest all stragglers and form them into regiments.

This order was given by mistake to Gen. Wilcox, who, not observing the address upon it, took it as meant for himself, and acted accordingly. Hancock says:

How much delay was caused by this error is not known, but it is known that the division in any event would not have arrived in time to be of service.

Meanwhile the enemy was preparing his force for a final attack, which was inaugurated about 5 P. M. by a heavy artillery fire, which, while it did little actual damage had its effect in demoralizing a portion of the command exposed to reverse fire, owing to the faulty location of the rifle-pits as before explained.

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Wilcox (3)
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