War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0227 Chapter XXX. SIEGE OF WASHINGTON, N. C.

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Jourdan, commanding the Second Brigade of my division, for their untiring energy and intelligence; also to Major Fitz Simmons and Lieutenant Greig, Third Regiment New York Cavalry, who joined my staff for the expedition, the former as chief of staff and the latter as aide-de-camp.

No opportunity offered for the use of artillery; but in it, and, I may add, throughout the entire command, the very best kind of spirit was made evident to me.

Inclosed please find a report of Colonel Jones.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY PRINCE,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.

Lieutenant Colonel SOUTHARD HOFFMAN,

Asst. Adjt. General, Eighteenth Army Corps, New Berne, N. C.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

New Berne, N. C., April 24, 1863.

Major General J. G. FOSTER,

Commanding 18th Army Corps, Dept. of N. C., New Berne, N. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of yesterday, in which you inquire whether, during your recent absence at Washington, N. C., the question as to your power to give commands from that place was raised by any one, and, if so, by whom and under what circumstances.

It is natural for one to infer from this interrogatory that you have heard that the question was raised, and I think it but justice to myself and others to state that in no official manner was this done. But as you inquire if this matter was spoken of in "such consultations and conversations between commanding officers as would naturally under such circumstances take place and influence actions," I think it proper to add that the only remark that came under my own observation, and that could be considered by any one as at all calculated to raise the question of your power, was a remark uttered in private conversation by General Prince on the morning of the 19th instant (I think), and this occurred in this way: Several officers, including myself, were standing on the pavement near your quarters. General Prince said:

Here is a question. General Foster is shut up in Washington with a small command. He is unable or unwilling to leave there. Is he then in command of the department, or who is then in command?

The above is the substance of the remark, as I understood it. I paid no attention to it at the time, as I was very much occupied in getting ready to leave for the blockade. I left the place where the conversation was going on while General Prince was conversing, and I do not even now recollect the persons who were there but I think General Wessells was. This was not calculated to "influence (my) actions." General Prince certainly never advised with me, officially or privately, as to the power of the commanding general while in Washington, and the remark was simply an idle one, which I thought it better not to make at that time, and I regret the necessity for ever speaking of it.

I am, sir, very respectfully, yours,

I. N. PALMER,

Brigadier-General, Commanding First Division.