Today in History:

43 Series I Volume XL-I Serial 80 - Richmond, Petersburg Part I


cumstances attending the unsuccessful assault on the enemy's position on the 30th of July 1864. The Court will report their opinion whether any officer or officers are answerable for the want of success of said assault and, if so, the name or names of such officer or officers.

Detail for the Court: Major General W. S. Hancock, U. S. Volunteers; Brigadier General R. B. Ayres, U. S. Volunteers; Brigadier General N. A. Miles, U. S. Volunteers; Colonel E. Schriver, inspector-general, U. S. Army, judge-advocate.

By order of the Secretary of War:


Assistant Adjutant-General.



August 6, 1864.

The Court met pursuant to the foregoing orders:

Present, Major-General Hancock, Brigadier-Generals Ayres and Miles, and Colonel Schriver, judge-advocate.

The order instituting the Court was read and the Court and judge-advocate were sworn according to law.

The judge-advocate then presented and read the orders issued from the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac on the 29th of July, 1864, containing the "instructions for the guidance of all concerned," in the operations against the enemy's position before Petersburg on the 30th of July, as follows:


July 29, 1864.

The following instructions are issued for the guidance of all concerned:

1. As soon as it is dark Major-General Burnside, commanding Ninth Corps, will withdraw his two brigades under General White, occupying the intrenchments between the plank and Norfolk roads, and bring them to his front. Care will be taken not to interfere with the troops of the Eighteenth Corps moving into their position in rear of the Ninth Corps. General Burnside will form his troops for assaulting the enemy's works at daylight of the 30th, prepare his parapets and abatis for the passage of the columns, and have the pioneers equipped for work in opening passages for artillery, destroying enemy's abatis, &c., and the intrenching tools distributed for effecting lodgment, &c.

2. Major-General Warren commanding Fifth Corps, will reduce the number of his troops holding the intrenchments of his front to the minimum and concentrate all his available force on his right, and hold them prepared to support the assault of Major-General Burnside. The preparations in respect to pioneers, intrenching tools, &c., enjoined upon the Ninth Corps will also be made by the Fifth Corps.

3. As soon as it is dark Major-General Ord, commanding Eighteenth Corps, will relieve his troops in the trenches by General Mott's division, of the Second Corps, and form his corps in rear of the Ninth Corps and be prepared to support the assault of Major-General Burnside.

4. Every preparation will be made for moving forward the field artillery of each corps.

5. At dark Major-General Hancock, commanding Second Corps, will move from Deep Bottom to the rear of the intrenchments now held by the Eighteenth Corps, resume the command of Mott's division, and be prepared at daylight to follow up the assaulting and supporting columns, or for such other operations as may be found necessary.

6. Major-General Sheridan, commanding Cavalry Corps, will proceed at dark from the vicinity of Deep Bottom to Lee's Mill, and at daylight will move with his whole corps, including Wilson's division, against the enemy's troops defending Petersburg on their right by the roads leading to that town from the southward and westward.

7. Major Duane, acting chief engineer, will have the pontoon trains parked at convenient points in the rear prepared to move. He will see that supplies of sand-bags, gabions, fascines, &c., are in depot near the lines ready for use. He will detail engineer officers for each corps.