Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,

June 2, 1864—8 p.m.

Hon. Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:



Yesterday afternoon the enemy’s cavalry were reported to be advancing by the left of our line toward Hanover Court-House and Ashland. General Hampton, with Rosser’s brigade, proceeded to meet them. Rosser fell upon their rear, charged down the road toward Ashland, bearing everything before him. His progress was arrested at Ashland by the intrenchments of the enemy, when he changed his direction and advanced up the Fredericksburg railroad. General William H. F. Lee came up at this time with a part of his division and a joint attack was made. The enemy was quickly driven from the place and pursued toward Hanover Court-House until dark.

During the afternoon General Fitzhugh Lee was forced to retire from Old Cold Harbor, on our extreme right; and as it was evident that the enemy was moving in that direction our own line was extended accordingly, General Hoke occupying the extreme right. The enemy attacked in heavy force and succeeded in penetrating between Hoke and Anderson, where there was an interval in our line, causing the right of Anderson and the left of Hoke to fall back a short distance. General Hoke subsequently recovered his position and General Anderson’s right assumed one a short distance in rear of that it first occupied. This morning the enemy’s movement to our right continuing corresponding changes were made in our line, Breckinridge’s command and two divisions of General Hill being placed on the right. General Early, with Ewell’s corps and Heth’s division, occupied our left, and was directed to endeavor to get upon the enemy’s right flank and drive [him] down in front of our line. General Early made the movement in the afternoon and drove the enemy from his intrenchments, following him until dark. While this attack was progressing General Hill re-enforced Breckinridge with two brigades of Wilcox’s division and dislodged the enemy from Turkey Hill, in front of our extreme right.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



R. E. Lee







Source: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 36, Part 3, p. 867.


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 June 2