HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS, June 25, 1864.
GENERAL: The following is my recollection of the affair of the 22nd instant:
A short time before 5 in the morning General Birney directed me to order the advance of the line until the position of the enemy was en-
veloped, in accordance with a telegram from General Meade. I wrote to General Barlow the order marked Numbers 1, * making the movement dependent upon the advance of the Sixth Corps, which was then held in check by a force of the enemy. Not long after I rode out to the lines to see how the movement was progressing and found there was some difficulty about getting the skirmish lines out. i saw a staff officer of General Wright, who reported that their skirmish line had made no progress. Between 9 and 10, to the best of my memory, I met General Barlow in the woods and he showed me the order marked Numbers 2.* This being quite different in its tenor from the order referred to as Numbers 1. and appearing to me to imperil very much the command, I thought there must be some mistake in the matter, and told General Barlow I would at once ride back to headquarters and ascertain. On my arrival General Birney informed me that we were to make our movement independent of any by the Sixth Corps. I rode back to General Barlow, either taking or sending the order marked Numbers 3. * Before I arrived at First Division headquarters, General Meade had himself been there, and when General Barlow explained to him that there had been a misunderstanding as to whether he should hold his connection to the right or left had replied. “You cannot connect with both; keep your connection to the right; each corps must look out for itself.” The movement then progressed without delay. I am not familiar with the circumstances immediately attending the meeting with the enemy. On the receipt of a dispatch from General Wright that there were indications that the enemy were endeavoring to penetrate between this corps and his, I rode over to warn General Barlow, and on my way I saw some of the colors of the First Division in the woods, and was told that the regiments had been “captured” or “cut to pieces”. I found General Barlow, and he had already given the order for his second line to return to the rifle-pits as promptly as possible. This line got into the rifle-pits but a very few minutes before the engagement with the enemy, which General Birney witnessed. When General Barlow moved out his division I had a conversation with him as to the danger of the movement, and he was fully impressed with the necessity of guarding his left flank, and i am told had two brigades dropped back for this purpose.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. H. MORGAN,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.
Commanding Second Corps.
- The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), pages 327-328 ↩