He sent them first to Bermuda Hundred to confer with General Butler and apprise him of the impending operation.
Grant intended to embark that corps at White House Landing on the Pamunkey River, have it steam 150 miles around the James peninsula, and lead the attack on Petersburg from Bermuda Hundred.
One hundred and fifty-five ponton boats with their attendant bridging equipment had quickly gone to Bermuda Hundred, and the additional battalion bridge trains from the 50th New York were ordered south.
If all went according to plan, two days of maneuver should see Smith arriving at Bermuda Hundred and the Army of the Potomac crossing the James on a combination of ferry and ponton bridging--and marching on Petersburg unopposed.
Beauregard, commanding the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia at Petersburg, had suggested as early as 7 June that Grant would likely cross the James and strike Richmond from Bermuda Hundred.
As noted previously, the ponton material had been transported to Bermuda Hundred in early June--and then, inexplicably, moved back to Fortress Monroe on 12 June.
Meanwhile, with all the troops safely across the river, the bridge was disassembled on 17 June, and its components towed upriver to Bermuda Hundred and City Point.