Today in History:

16 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I

Page 16 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.

On this day, the 28th, disposition was made to attack the enemy, but, on driving in his pickets, it was found he had retired during the night. Pursuit was immediately made, the Second Corps in advance, when, after a march of about 2 miles, the enemy was found in position on the west bank of Mine Run.

A severe storm of rain had set in, delaying the march of the troops, particularly the artillery, and preventing a position being taken up till after dark, at which time the Second, Sixth, First, and part of Third Corps were in line fronting the enemy.

A reconnaissance of the enemy's position showed it to be extremely formidable. The western bank of Mine Run, with an elevation of over 100 feet, had a gentle and smooth slope to the creek, averaging over 1,000 yards of cleared ground. The summit, on which was the enemy's line of battle, was already crowed with infantry parapets, abatis, and epaulements for batteries. The creek itself was a considerable obstacle, in many places swampy and impassable.

A careful examination, made personally and by engineer officers, convinced me there was no probability of success in an attack in our immediate front, in the vicinity of the turnpike. It was therefore determined, on the evening of the 28th, to send Major-General Warren, with the Second Corps and a division of the Sixth Corps, to move to our left, to feel for the enemy's right flank, and turn him, if practicable. At the same tim orders were given to each corps commander to critically examine his front and ascertained the practicability of an assault. The 29th was spent in these reconnaissances and the movement of General Warren.

About 6 p. m. Brigadier-General Wright, commanding a division in the Sixth Corps, reported to me he had discovered a point on our extreme right, where the obstacles to be overcome were much less than in our immediate front, and where an assault, he thought, was practicable with inconsiderable loss. At the same time Captain Michler, Engineers, reported that an assault in front of the Third Corps, though hazardous, was not impracticable. I also learned from Major Ludlow, aide-de-camp, just returned from General Warren's column, that General Warren had moved up the plank road, driving in the enemy's skirmishers till he developed their line of battle, and had taken a position which outflanked the enemy, and from which there was no difficulty of assaulting and turning the enemy's flank.

These favorable reports caused me to decide on making three assaults, one on the enemy's left flank, with the Sixth and Fifth Corps; one on the center, with the Third and First Corps, and one on the enemy's right, by the force under General Warren, consisting of the Second Corps and one division of the Sixth.

At 8 p. m. General Warren reported in person, confirming all Major Ludlow had reported, and expressing such confidence in his ability to carry everything before him as to induce him to give the opinion that he did not believe the enemy would remain over night, so completely did he command him. The earnest confidence that General Warren expressed of his ability to carry everything before him, and the reliance I placed on that officer's judgment, together with the fact that Major-General French had given an adverse opinion to assaulting in his front, induced me to modify my plan so far as to abandon the center attack, and re-enforce Warren's column with two divisions of the Third Corps, which would give him six divisions, nearly half the infantry force under my command. Orders were accordingly issued to that effect.

Page 16 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.