3:05 P. M., USG telegraphed to Burnside. "Is the enemy crossing the Ny? If
not, you will no doubt be able to hold your position or at least the position marked
out by the Engineers this morning by bringing Birney within it." Copies, DLC-
USG, V, 45, 59, 66; DNA, RG 108, Letters Sent. O. R.,
I, xxxvi, part 2, 795.
At 3:20 P. M. and 3:30 P. M., Burnside telegraphed to USG. "Dispatch received—
There are no indications at present that the enemy are crossing nye—we will
probably be able to hold our own—Gen Birney's right strikes the Nye river at
a point opposite the deserted house on the other side of the river, which house is
about or nearly on a line from your Headquarters to Landram House If that
point can be occupied by a brigade & a battery it would be of great service to us
in case of an attack—I mean the point on which the deserted house stands;
I am inclined to think that the point designated as the deserted house
in my last despatch should be occupied as soon as possible It is reported that
the enemy are passing to our right, and aiming for that place. There is supposed
to be about a brigade passing—" Copies, DNA, RG 393, 9th Army Corps,
Telegrams Sent. O. R.,
I, xxxvi, part 2, 796. At 4:20 P. M., Lt. Col. Cyrus B.
Comstock endorsed the second telegram. "Lieutenant-General Grant refers the
within dispatch of General Burnside to General Meade, with the suggestion that
it might be well to watch from the deserted house with cavalry, and if a brigade
moves on that point, to attack it with a division." Ibid.
Meade later endorsed the
same telegram. "Major-General Hancock will occupy the deserted house with
such force as he may deem necessary to comply with the within suggestion of
the general commanding." Ibid.
Also on May 15, Meade wrote to USG. "Burnside has been advised that
Birney is under his orders, and to remain there so long as in his judgment the
security of his line requires it, but that so soon as he can dispense with him he is
to be sent back. I fancy it is only the enemy's cavalry feeling our position." Ibid.,
p. 782. On the same day, USG telegraphed to Burnside. "The Army of the
Potomac except Birney's Div which is with you have all been notified to ad-
vance and attack the enemy in case you are attacked by him." Copies, DLC-USG,
V, 45, 59, 66; DNA, RG 108, Letters Sent. O.R., I, xxxvi, part 2, 796.