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[281] Hagood's brigade had not engaged the enemy when I received the following communication:

headquarters Petersburg, May 9th, 1864.
General,—The Major General commanding directs me to say to you that you had better hold the line of Swift Creek till reinforcements arrive, and we can then make the advance.

Try and find out whether the present demonstration is a feint or a real movement. I am, General, with much respect,

Your obedient servant, [Signed]

C. Pickett, A. A. G. To Brigadier-General B. R. Johnson, Commanding, & c.

My dispatch announcing to General Pickett that I had given orders to commence the movement, was returned with the following endorsement:

headquarters Petersburg, May 9th, 1864.
General.—Since the order was given for you to advance, General Pickett has sent another countermanding it, and telling you to hold the line of Swift Creek if the enemy, as reported, were advancing in force on you.


C. Pickett, A. A. G. General Johnson, Commandiniz, &c.

As a consequence of these communications, the movement ordered became a reconnoissance with a part of Hagood's brigade. The enemy were found in heavy force in vicinity of the turnpike, on the north side of Swift Creek. After a very sharp skirmish General Hagood withdrew his forces from the north side of the creek, having lost, in a brief period, nine officers and 128 men, killed, wounded and missing. It was evident that the whole of the enemy's forces were in our front. Communications were received during the night from Major-General Ransom and Brigadier-General Barton, at Drewry's Bluff, inquiring for the enemy, and stating that there had been but little demonstration in their front during the day. The enemy's sharp shooters were now pressed forward, especially in the vicinity of the railroad bridge. They reached a fence in the open field, within some five or six hundred yards of the Dunlop House, and very much annoyed our main line. With the first design of making a determined attack upon

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