FORT MONROE, VA., December 28, 1863.
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
I have twelve brigadier-generals in this department, and about seventeen or irtheen thousand effective troops. Another one has just bee sent me this morning without application. I should like permission to relieve such as I do not need.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 29, 1863-12.30 p.m.
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
My attention has been called by the War Department to the difficulty and expense of foraging so large a number of animals in the Army of the Potomac, and it is suggested whether a part of the cavalry cannot be sbusisted in the Shenandoah Valley on the enemy, or some portion of the animals be sent where food can be supplied at less expense. I submit the matter for your consideration.
H. W. HALLECK,
DECEMBER 29, 1863-8.45 p.m.
General French reports that his picket officer reports the enemy's pickets on the Sperryville road, and that a reconnointering party of the enemy was also observed. Is one of your brigades on that road? Have you pickets and patrols on it? The major-general commanding directs that you send out immediately and ascertain what force of the enemy are there.
A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General, and Chief of Staff.
WARRENTON, December 29, 1863-4 p.m.
H. C. WEIR,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Corps:
Colonel Kester, First New Jersey Cavalry, has just returned from his scout, agreeably with your instructions of the 28th. He reports having captured at Rectortown 100 suits clothing and 8 horses. The enemy in two charges on the rear guard were repulsed, and owing to the fleetness of their horses escaped. I will send this report to-morrow.
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.