War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0589 Chapter XLI. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

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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,

Major-General, Commanding.

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 29, 1863-12.30 p.m.

Major-General MEADE,

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,

General-in-Chief.

DECEMBER 29, 1863-8.45 p.m.

Brigadier-General MERRITT:

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.

D. GARDNER,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.