War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0769 Chapter XLVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- UNION.

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Washington, D. C., May 14, 1864.

Major NILES,

Commanding Detach. Veteran Reserve Corps, Alexandria, Va.:

Transportation from Alexandria to Belle Plain will be ready at 8 a. m. to-morrow. Captain Lee will designate the vessel. General Agur directs that you proceed with your command to Belle Plain, and upon arrival report to Brigadier-General Abercrombie.


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Washington City, May 14, 1864-2 p. m.

Captain PITKIN,

Assistant Quartermaster, Belle Plain:

A courier from General Grant, who had dispatches to be telegraphed to this Department from Belle Plain, reports that the reached [there] last night about 1.30 o'clock and was told by you that there was no telegraph office of line at that place. He came here with his dispatches, which were thus delayed abbot twelve hours by your incorrect information to him. I desire to inform you that there is now and [has been] for three days a telegraph communication between Belle Plain and Washington. The steamer Diamond is the telegraphic-boat. Mr. Bickford is the operator in charge and Captain Collins of the Veteran Reserve Corps, at Belle Plain is the officer detailed to receive and forward dispatches. You will immediately on receipt of this see the persons named, make yourself acquainted with their quarters and where they can be found by day or night, and report to this Department by telegraph that you have received this order and whether you have obeyed it, specifying the hour when you received it, the time and place, when and where you have seen Captain Collins and Mr. Bickford.


Secretary of War.

BELLE PLAIN, May 14, 1864-11.50 p. m.

(Received 11.26 a. m. 15th.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch at 11.40 p. m. On the morning of the 12th instant Mr. Bickford informed me that the nearest telegraph office was on steamer Diamond, off Pope's Creek, 6 miles below Port Tobacco and made arrangements with me to forward at once by boat all important dispatches. I forwarded dispatches on that day, and on each day since. Yesterday Captain Collins informed me that he was detailed to receive and forward dispatches, and I assured him I would forward dispatches for him by boat at all times, and aid him all in my power. Mr. Bickford's office is at this place now; so also is Captain Collins'. I have seen them both to-night. No person informing me that he had dispatches from General Grant or for the War Department since the 12th instant has been told that there was no communication by telegraph between this place and Washington. I knew there was