previous next

Field Telegrams from around Petersburg, Virginia.

[In Volumes III, VII, and XIV were published a number of these telegrams. The following will also be found of interest.]

Headquarters, 12th August, 1864.
General R. S. Ewell, Chaffin's Bluff:
Deserter reports that men at Dutch Gap are volunteers—paid forty cents extra for digging. Their purpose being to dig a canal. If they cannot be stopped, arrangements must be made to make the canal useless by choosing positions and erecting batteries. See what can be done.

Dispatch of 11th received. Anderson has been advised, communicate with him.

R. E. Lee, General.


Headquarters, 14th August, 1864—9:15 A. M.
General C. W. Field, Chaffin's Bluff.
What is the character of the force advancing against your left? Concentrate the cavalry in that quarter and dispose your infantry to resist it.

R. E. Lee, General.

Headquarters army of Northern Virginia, 14th August, 1864.
Major-General Wade Hampton, Charlottesville, Va.:
Halt your command; return towards Richmond. Gregg's division is crossing at Deep Bottom. Send back an officer to ascertain position.

Your telegram received. The two regiments will number about two hundred each. Communicate with General Wilcox when they can be transported. After these troops have been taken away, trains for two brigades (say twenty-five hundred men) are to be kept at Landy's.

Headquarters, 14th August, 1864.
General Wade Hampton, Beaver Dam, Va..
Halt your command and return towards Richmond. Gregg's division is crossing at Deep Bottom. Send back an officer to ascertain position.

R. E. Lee, General.

Headquarters, 14th August, 1864.
General C. W. field, Chaffin's Bluff.
Have sent to halt Hampton and ordered cavalry from this [263] side. If unnecessary let me know. Aid the cavalry all you can and drive back enemy.

General C. W. field, Chaffin's Bluff.
Hampton will be with you this evening. Two brigades go from here. Major Anderson, with five hundred cavalry, ordered from Richmond. This may be a feint to draw troops from here. Watch closely, and return the troops from here at the earliest moment.

General Hampton is, to-day, on the cars from Richmond to Charlottesville. Send this to Richmond, or request them to have it delivered to him on the route, if practicable. It is very desirable for General Hampton to get it.

Headquarters army of Northern Virginia, 12:15 P. M., 14th August, 1864.
General C. W. field, Chaffin's Bluff.
You do not say whether the force of enemy is infantry or cavalry. You must call reinforcements from Richmond. There are none here. Give hour of dispatch.

R. E. Lee, General.

Headquarters, 14th August, 1864—6:15 P. M.
General R. S. Ewell, Richmond.
I wish Hampton to return to Richmond, as soon as practicable, with his whole command. You must reinforce Field from Richmond. Where do you expect them from this side?

R. E. Lee, General.

15th August, 1864.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff:
Mosby telegraphs, Upperville 13th, attacked enemy's supply [264] train, near Berryville, that morning. Dispersed guard, treble his number; captured and destroyed seventy-five (75) loaded wagons; brought off over two hundred prisoners, including several officers; between five and six hundred horses and mules; upwards of two hundred head of fine beef cattle, and many valuable stores. Considerable number of enemy killed and wounded. His loss two killed and three wounded.

W. H. Taylor, A. A. G.

15th August, 1864.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff:
One of Dearing's scouts, said to be generally correct, reports Hancock's Second corps went to City Point and came back again yesterday. Fields' capture of prisoners from this corps yesterday seems to contradict this. Perhaps you have positive information. Dearing also reports enemy have withdrawn their pickets from Garey's Church. Hill reports enemy has strengthened his force in his front. At daylight three brigades were seen moving to enemy's left. Hill's pickets report wagons or artillery moving from 11 until 3 o'clock last night to our left.

W. H. Taylor, A. A. G.

15th August, 1864.
General R. E. Lee, via Chaffin's Bluff:
General Hampton telegraphs from Richmond his command is moving back, and he awaits instructions there. Cars are at Dunlop's for two brigades. If not needed for this purpose, Colonel Corley would like to use them for Liffis.

W. H. Taylor, A. A. G.

16th August, 1864—11 P. M.
Colonel C. Marshall, A. D. C. to General Lee, Chaffin's Bluff.
Telegram received. Will send articles requested at once. Tell General brigade left for Richmond ten minutes to 10 o'clock. All quiet here.

W. H. Taylor, A. A. G.


near Petersburg, Va., Aug. 18, 1864—7:30 P. M.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff:
General Heth reports having driven enemy about one mile below Davis' House. Over one hundred and fifty prisoners taken, representing three divisions of Fifth corps. Heth desired reinforcements to complete his success. He has already all I can spare (three brigades of infantry). which must return to vicinity of lines during night.

Dunn's Hill, 18th August, 1864—10:45 P. M.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff:
General Hoke reports that the railroad to City Point has been used a great deal to-day by the enemy, and that they are still doing so; also that bands of music have been heard in that direction, indicating the movement of troops.

near Petersburg, Va., Aug. 19th, 1864—9:20 A. M.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff:
Captured Yankee captain. Says object of expedition was to break up Weldon railroad and so weaken our forces in front as to increase chance of breaking our lines, intimating use of another move. The fire of our batteries this morning must have disconcerted enemy's plan.

Petersburg, August 19th, 1864.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff:
Colonel Simmons, of Thomas' brigade, reports that a brigade of infantry passed pontoon bridge this A. M. about 7 o'clock, moving this way. Artillery or wagons were passing bridge all night.


Petersburg, Va., Aug. 19th, 1864—1.30 P. M.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff.
General Wilcox reports passing of wagons or artillery all night over pontoon bridge from north to south side of Appomattox.

near Petersburg, Aug. 19th, 1864—8:00 P. M.
Captain A. R. Chisholm, A. D. C, Spotswood Hotel, Richmond, Va..
Should you not be able to obtain an answer to my letter, see Secretary of War on subject, and return soon as practicable. We have just defeated enemy on Weldon road near here, capturing large number of prisoners.

near Petersburg, Va., Aug. 20th, 1864—8:15 A. M.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff.
General Hill reports enemy still occupying part of Weldon railroad, where he is fortifying. Am endeavoring to make necessary arrangement to dislodge him to-day if practicable.

August 20th, 1864—P. M.
General R. E. Lee, Chaffin's Bluff.
Dispatches of 1:00 and 1:45 o'clock P. M. just received. Prisoners state the Second corps has relieved Ninth corps in trenches. Signal stations reporting movement of troops would seem to confirm this. Every available man who can be spared from trenches has been withdrawn. Shall try attack in the morning with all the force I can spare. I will call on Wilcox for a brigade, as instructed.


near Petersburg, Va., Aug. 20th, 1864—7 P. M.
General R. E. Lee. Chaffin's Bluff:
Expect to attack early in the morning. Have already taken one brigade from Hoke and another from Johnson, extending their commands in the lines to utmost. No available force shall be left behind. Am happy to hear of Early's success.

21stAugust, 1864.
General G. T. Anderson, Commanding Brigade, Dunlop's.
Camp your brigade for to-night at some convenient point near where you are landed from the cars. Notify army headquarters of your location. Extend same orders to dismounted cavalry.

W. H. Taylor, A. A. G.

near Petersburg, Va., Aug. 24, 1864—2:45 P. M.
Major-General Whiting, Commanding Third District, Wilmington, N. C.:
In case of urgent necessity call on General Baker at Goldsboro for assistance. I believe it will prove to be only a feint.

near Petersburg, Aug. 24, 1864—2:45 P. M.
Brigadier-General Baker, Commanding Second District, Goldsboro, N. C.:
General Whiting is authorized to call on you for assistance should he be hard pressed. Aid him as much as your means will permit.


Petersburg, Va., 25th August, 1864.
Major-General George E. Pickett, Hancock's House:
You will please send at once the following dispatch by signal, via Dunn's House, to General Beauregard:

Have felt enemy in my front, and discovered force all prepared on my line.

Geo. E. Pickett, Major-General.

An answer will be sent you by signals, which will be unintelligible to you. Take no notice of it.

W. H. Taylor, A. A. G.

Petersburg, Va., 25th August, 1864.
Honorable Secretary of War, Richmond, Va..
General Early reports from Charleston that he has forced the enemy back to Harpers Ferry.

Petersburg, Va. 27th August, 1864.
Hon. Jas. A. Seddon, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
General Archer is on duty with his brigade. Officers capable of duty cannot be spared. Generals H. H. Walker at Savannah, and A. L. Long at Lynchburg, at present incapacitated for field service, might be available for a court. General J. G. Martin with Holmes also.

My telegram of the 26th, asking that the militia on duty in Petersburg may be continued thirty days is unanswered. Their services are necessary. Please answer.


near Petersburg, Va., Sept. 2d, 1864—8:00 P. M.
Major-General W. H. C. Whiting, Commanding Third Military District, Wilmington, N. C.:
Every exertion will be made to reinforce you in time from all points. Governor Vance has already been called upon to imitate Governor Brown of Georgia. Federal soldiers appear much discouraged. They fight badly. I will visit Wilmington soon.

General Baker at Goldsboro has been ordered to hold all his disposable troops in readiness to aid you should you need them. Governor Vance and General Holmes have been requested to send you such troops as can be spared from the reserves.

General Whiting apprehends an attack. Send him all the troops you can.

Are there any guns not required at Wilmington suitable for defense of James river?


Petersburg, Va., September 11th, 1864.
General G. T. Beauregard, Wilmington, N. C. :
About 2 A. M. yesterday enemy broke through picket line in front of Hill's corps. It was soon restored. Loss slight. Casualties in Hoke's and Johnson's-three killed and sixteen wounded.

Geo. Wm. Brent, A. A. G.

Wilmington, N. C., September 12th, 1864.
General R. E. Lee, Commanding, Petersburg, Va.:
Everything here is in as good condition as means and circumstances will permit. Practised artillerists and proper infantry support are most needed at present. No heavy guns can safely be spared from here.

Petersburg, Va., September 12th, 1864.
General J. A. Walker, Burkesville, Va..
The enemy seems to be moving. Instruct your commanders at bridges to be alert.

Geo. Wm. Brent, Col. and A. A. G.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: