3. That the "expedition failed o accomplish the object form which it had been fitted out. " The objects of the expedition, as stated in your order, were threefold: (1) To threaded Richmond; (2) to destroy the railroad bridges over the South and North Anna Rivers, and do the enemy as much damage as possible; and (3) to occupy a large force of the enemy. The first and last of these objects were effectually accomplished, the second partially, and, I may say, substantially. One of the bridges over the South Anna was destroyed. Although the other was not destroyed, the railroad track between it and Richmond was torn up for a considerable distance, and the bridge at Ashland, on the same road, 11 miles out of Richmond, was completely demolished and burned, as well as the depot at that station. Colonel Spear`s expedition, sent out under written instructions, was a most successful and creditable one. He destroyed the first-mentioned bridge and the quartermaster`s depot at Hanover Station, bringing back 35 army wagons, 700 horses and mules, and General Fitzhugh [W. H. F.] Lee, son of the rebel general-in-chief, now in confinement at Fort Lafayette as a hostage, and over 100 prisoners. I had only been three days at the White House when my forces were ordered back to re-enforce General Meade. At that time I had completely cut off General Lee`s communications with Richmond by way of the two railroads crossing the South Anna, and had control of the whole country from the Pamunkey to the Rappahannock. To myself, this correction of a statement, which I am sure is inadvertent, is of less consequence than to the gallant troops under my command. For their sake I ask permission to give publicity to this letter, or to my report of the expedition, dated the 16th of July last.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. DIX
Numbers 2. WASHINGTON, DECEMBER 20, 1863.
Major General John A. DIX
New York City:
General: Your letter (without date) [December 15], in regard to my official report of November 15, is received. I have not been able to give it an earlier answer. I cannot authorize the publication of this letter, nor of your report, but I presume the latter will be officially published, with other reports, by congress, as I understand they have all been submitted by the War Department. I very much regret, general, that my report contains anything to which you take exception. I certainly had no intention to reflect upon you, or to find any fault with you as the commanding general of the department. In my opinion, the expedition up the York River did not accomplish the two objects in view, or either of them. You speak of three objects. I think a third was suggested only in case the others failed. Perhaps I erred in using the word attack instead of threaten; to threaten is not necessarily to attack, but it may imply an attack, if the point to be threatened is found open to one. I have no time at present to examine the reports or to discuss the matter. I can only add that, while much disappointment was felt here at what was considered a failure of the expedition, no blame