Battle of Drewry's Bluff, May 16th, 1864.
report of General R. F. Hoke.
headquarters Hoke's division, May 25th, 1864.Captain,—On Sunday, the 15th instant, the intention to attack the enemy on the morning of the 16th at early light was made known to me by the commanding General, while occupying the intermediate line of entrenchments around Drewry's Bluff, and confronting the enemy, who occupied the outer line of said entrenchments, extending his right through the woods in the direction of James river, while his left rested upon an elevated position across the railroad, with his masses immediately in front of our right and resting upon the railroad. The commanding General, seeing the right was the weak point of the enemy, determined upon this as the point of attack. The brigades of Colquitt and Ransom were ordered relieved by an extension of my line to the right, which placed my division in line of battle, commencing at Fort Stephens, with Hagood's brigade on the left, Johnson's on his right, then Clingman, with Corse upon his right. These two brigades, under the command of General Colquitt, were held in reserve immediately in rear of Hagood's brigade. The division commanded by Major-General Ransom, being in the field on our extreme left, was to turn the right of the enemy and pivot upon his right and connect with my left, while I was to engage the enemy in front with strong lines of skirmishers, and also open upon them with all my artillery. At the earliest dawn I ordered my entire artillery to open and advanced the skirmishers of my whole front, and awaited the movement on my left for one hour before advancing my line of battle, thinking it would require this length of time to make the move, and knowing I must lose heavily by an advance upon the front, which it was the desire of the commanding General to avoid by the flank move. Owing to the dense fog I could see nothing of the movement of Major-General Ransom, and supposing by this time the right of the enemy had been turned, I ordered forward the brigades of Hagood and Johnson, with one section of Lieutenant-Colonel Eschelman's artillery, and found the enemy still occupying our entire line of entrenchments in heavy force, supported by eight pieces of artillery, with a second line of entrenchments along the line of woods immediately in front of our outer line of works.