the additions made to the list furnished you in October. These steamers should have been reported to you at the time they were respectively taken into the service of the Quartermaster's Department; but through a misapprehension in the assistant adjutant-general's office, explained in Colonel Van Buren's letter, they were not reported to me. I will see that no such mistake occurs hereafter, and that all changes are reported the day they are made. I think no inconvenience has resulted from it, as all these steamers have a flag number, and none others are passed without special permits.
All steamer in the service of the army communicate with the guard vessel now, both by night and day, when it is impossible. If they are in the quartermaster's service they exhibit a flag with a number corresponding with that on the list which has been furnished. If not in his service they are passed under special permits.
There is a difficulty at night in distinguishing the guard vessel from others, and I respectfully suggest that the one here, as well as the one at Norfolk, may hoist a red light at night, so that our steamers may know and be able to communicate with them.
In regard to flag-of-truce boats, their purpose always is to reach here before night; but Colonel ludlow is sometimes unavoidably detained, and it may happen, too, that our prisoners cannot be put on board the transports at City Point in time to reach your picket boat until after dark. The prisoners are generally miserable provided for, and a delay of a single night at Newport News would be inconvenient. I therefore propose that you suggest some signal, by whistle or lights, by which the flag-of-truce boats may advise you of their approach. It is not likely that it will be often necessary to use it.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. DIX,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VA., 7TH ARMY CORPS, Numbers 13.
Fort Monroe, Va., February 20, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel Louis H. Pelouze, assistant adjutant-general, Seventh Army Corps, having reported pursuant to orders from the War Department, is assigned to duty at these headquarters.
By command of Major-General Dix:
D. T. VAN BUREN,
SUFFOLK, VA., February 21, 1863.
Major General JOHN A. DIX, Fort Monroe:
I do not feel much apprehension about raids upon Norfolk and Portsmouth. Those places are very strong by nature. Tanner's Creek, Eastern, Southern and Western Branches of the Elizabeth, with their arms, canals, and swamps, almost bar approach at any time, especially when everything is flooded. The rebel lines of defense are well selected, and by maps I have are only about 3 or 4 miles in extent - about one-third of mine. That swamp is a dangerous place for an ordinary force basing upon Blackwater. Had the enemy command of the Albemarle it would