was directed to hold his position till the following morning, and then withdraw by the same road along which he had advanced.
This was at four o'clock, and Grant
rode back to Armstrong's mill, supposing the connection between Hancock
to have been made.
They took at first a wood road leading directly towards the creek and the right of the Second corps; but soon discovering the mistake, retraced their steps, and Grant
proceeded to City Point
, to communicate with Butler
Had they kept on, before long they must have been inside the rebel lines.
During these operations on the left, Butler
had taken out twenty thousand men north of the James
, where Longstreet
was now in command.
The plan, we have seen, was for Butler
to make a demonstration, but not to attack fortified works, the main operation being the attempt to reach the Southside
moved to the right as far as the Williamsburg
road, but found the enemy everywhere in his front, stretching out as fast as he did, and falling back within entrenched works whenever the national forces advanced.
During the afternoon he telegraphed that the rebels had extended four miles. ‘Shall I make a trial,’ he asked, ‘on this outstretched line?’
But the general-in-chief replied from City Point
: ‘Your despatch of 3.30 is only just received—too late to direct an attack.
Hold on where you are for the present.’
Believing that the operations of the day were over, Grant
now telegraphed to the Secretary of War
: ‘I have just returned from the crossing of the Boydton
plank road with Hatcher
Our line now extends from its former left to Armstrong