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[118] and that they were incomplete, and weakly manned.1

The troops broke camp on the 26th, and at an early hour on the 27th, all three corps were in motion. But instead of the rebel line being unfinished and altogether north of Hatcher's run, it was found to extend east of the stream and below the bend, nearly to Armstrong's mill, a distance of at least two miles: it was also quite completed and thoroughly fortified, with slashing and abatis. The consequence was that Parke made no attempt to assault. Warren, however, after cutting a road through the woods, soon struck the rebel skirmishers and drove them into a line of breastworks strongly held. In developing this position he lost a hundred men. The morning was dark and rainy, the roads were unknown and obstructed; out of about eleven thousand men in the Fifth corps nearly four thousand had never fired a musket, and two thousand were ignorant of the manual of arms.2 At half-past 9 Warren was notified by Meade that Parke would probably be unable to force the enemy's line, and that it was important for him to connect with the Second corps.

Hancock had moved long before daylight, crossing the run below Armstrong's mill, at a point where the water was waist-deep and trees had been felled to impede the ford; he carried some slight works

1 ‘This project was based upon information which led to the belief that the enemy's line only extended to the crossing of Hatcher's run by the Boydton plank road, and that it was not completed thus far and was weakly manned.’—Meade's Report of the Operation, October 28.

2 Warren's Report.

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