necessarily have to remain with them as I have dispatched all but a sufficient number to protect the depot, and for this purpose I have retained the most inefficient. As soon as they arrive I will relieve them. The rebel officers will be shipped this p.m. for Fort Delaware. Colonel Hoffman, commissary-general of prisoners, is here with instructions to send them on.
I have the honor to be,
J. J. ABERCROMBIE,
WASHINGTON, D. C. May 13, 1864-1.55 p.m.
Belle Plain, Va.:
The railroad constructing corps of 500 men, and also General Benham's Engineer Brigade, have been ordered to Belle Plain to construct wharves and repair road to Fredericksburg. The dismounted cavalry and four additional companies of Veteran Reserves have been ordered down as guards for depots and escorts for prisoners to places designated by Colonel Hoffman. Troops for the front should be sent forward as guards to trains in sufficient bodies to resist guerrilla raids. You will exercise at Belle Plain and on the road Fredericksburg the authority of post and district commander, subject to such orders as you may receive from Generals Grant and Meade. No effort should be spared in getting forward troops and supplies.
H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
Belle Plain, Va., May 13, 1864. (Received 11.30 p.m.)
GENERAL: Your dispatch of to-day was received at 7 p.m. Additional wharves and repairs are much needed to facilitate the forward movement of troops and supplies. I send off troops as fast as they can be landed, retaining the most inefficient for duties of various kinds here. Four hundred rebel officers will be shipped this afternoon for Fort Delaware. Seven thousand, who have just arrived, are awaiting transportation. The trains are well cared for.
J. J. ABERCROMBIE,
Belle Plain, May 13, 1864.
Commanding Department of Washington:
I beg leave respectfully to state as fast as the troops arrive and can be disembarked they are pushed on to the front; but owing to the shoalness of the water, the confined space, and the want of a more capacious dock or landing place, which is filled up constantly with ambulances and wagons loaded with wounded, it is with great
47 R R-VOL XXXVI, PT II