Head Quarters, Armies in the Field,
Culpepper C. H. Va. Apl. 19th 1864
MAJ. GEN. B. F. BUTLER,
COMD. G DEFT. OF N. C. & VA,
I send Lt. Col. Dent, of my staff, with this not with the view of changing any instructions heretofore given, but more particularly to secure full co-operation between your command and that of Gen. Meade. I will, as you understand, expect you to move from Fortress Monroe the same day Gen. Meade starts from here. The exact time I will telegraph as soon as it can be fixed. At present the roads are in such condition that the time could not be fixed earlyer than the 27th inst. You can understand therefore you have fully to that date to make your preparations. You also understand that with the forces here I shall aim to fight Lee between here and Richmond if he will stand. Should Lee however fall back into Richmond I will follow up and make a junction with your Army on the James River. Could I be certain that you will be able to invest Richmond, on the south side, so as to have your left resting on the James, above the City, I would form the junction there. Circumstances may make this course advisable any how. I would say therefore use every exertion to secure footing as far up the south side of the river as you can and as soon as possible. If you hear of our advancing from that direction, or have reason to judge from the action of the enemy that they are looking for danger to that side, attack vigerously and if you cannot carry the City at least detain as large a force there as possible.
You will want all the co-operation from the Navy that can be got. Confer freely with Admiral Lee 1 your plans that he may make as much preparation as possible.
If it is possible to communicate with you after determining my exact line of march I will do so. If you can possibly get scouts through to me do it.