I wrote Gen. Meade urging him to press onwards and attack today if advantage can be gained.
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
Near Petersburg, June 16, 1864-10.15 a.m.
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: General Smith carried very strongly located and well-constructed works, forming the left of the enemy’s defenses of Petersburg, taking some prisoners and 16 pieces of artillery. The enemy still hold their right works and are massing heavily in that direction. Hurry Warren up by the nearest road to reach the Jerusalem plank road, about three miles out from Petersburg. As soon as you receive this, and can give the necessary directions, start yourself, by steamer, and get here to take command in person. Leave your headquarters train to follow by land. Put Wright in charge of all left behind, with directions to get the trains over as rapidly as possible, to be followed by the cavalry, the cavalry to cut in as soon as the last wagon gets within his (Wright’s) lines.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, June 16, 1864-3 p.m.
GENERAL: General Butler has sent a dispatch reporting that his troops have advanced to the Richmond railroad and the pike without opposition. This is most remarkable, in my judgment, and indicates the abandonment of Richmond, and the holding of Petersburg with the roads to Lynchburg and Weldon, thus preventing our forcing them out of Richmond by holding the Petersburg and the Danville road. Barnard and Comstock have just come in from an examination of the lines. The latter is of opinion an attack can be made to advantage; the former is, also,of opinion an attack is practicable. I have therefore ordered one for 6 o’clock.
GEO. G. MEADE,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 60-1
O.R., I, xl, part 2, p 86