The consensus among the army staff is that Lee’s position is too strong to attack. We will have to try another turning movement to our left. I wrote Gen. Meade,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES, Quarles’ Mills, Va., May 25, 1864.
Major General G. G. MEADE,
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: Direct Generals Warren and Wright to withdraw all their teams and artillery not in position to the north side of the river to-morrow. Send that belonging to General Wright’s corps as far on the road to Hanovertown as it can go without attracting attention to the fact. Send with it Wright’s best division, or division under his ablest commander. Have this place filled up in the line, so if possible the enemy will not notice their withdrawal. Send the cavalry to-morrow afternoon, or as much of it as you may deem necessary to watch and seize, if they can, Littlepage’s Bridge and Taylor’s Ford, and to remain on one or the other side of the river at those points until the infantry and artillery all pass. As soon as it is dark to-morrow night start the division which you withdraw first from Wright’s corps to make a forced march to Hanovertown, taking with them no teams to impede their march. At the same time this division starts commence withdrawing all of the Fifth and Sixth Corps from the south side of the river and march them for the same place. The two divisions of the Ninth Corps not now with Hancock may be moved down the north bank of the river, where they will be handy to support Hancock if necessary, or will be that much on their road to follow the Fifth and Sixth Corps. Hancock should hold his command in readiness to follow as soon as the way is clear for him to-morrow. It will leave nothing for him to do, but as soon as he can he should get all his teams and spare artillery on the road or roads which he will have to take. As soon as the troops reach Hanovertown they should get possession of all the crossings they can in that neighborhood.
U. S. GRANT,
I think it would be well to make a heavy cavalry demonstration on the enemy’s left to-morrow afternoon also.
U. S. G.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, vol 10, p 488-9
O.R., I, xxxvi, part 3, p 183