War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0004 Chapter XLVIII. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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the Shenandoah Valley. Sigel was to collect what force he could spare from the railroad, and move up the valley with a supply train to meet him. The enemy are evidently relying for supplies greatly on such as are brought over the branch road running through Staunton. On the whole, therefore, I think it would be better for General Hunter to move in that direction; reach Staunton and Gordonsville, or Charlottesville, if he does not meet too much opposition. If he can hold at bay a force equal to his own, he will be doing good service.

In a letter to the Secretary of War, written about one week ago, I recommended Generals Sherman and Meade for promotion to major-generals in the Regular Army, and Hancock for brigadier. I wish you would urge this again. The Secretary replied that there was but one vacancy for major-general. I think this must be a mistake. I was appointed before General Wool was retired, or at least was notified of the fact that an original vacancy existed before his retirement. General Wright is one of the most meritorious officers in the service, and with opportunity will demonstrate his fitness for any position; but at present I doubt whether Sheridan has not most entitled himself to the other vacant brigadier-generally. This, however, I would leave open for a time.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

WASHINGTON, May 20, 1864-2 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

Spotsylvania Court-House, Va.:

There are 3,000 wounded men in Fredericksburg, who cannot be removed except by water transportation. General Meigs send transports to-day to ascend the Rappahannock to-morrow for that purpose. The south bank of the river above Port Royal should be held by our cavalry, in order to enable the transports to pass up. Supplies of forage will accompany the fleet. Large amounts of property have been sent to Fredericksburg. If that place is to be abandoned this property should first be removed. Moreover, the repair of the Aquia Creek Railroad should cease. The navigation of the Rappahannock above Port Royal is difficult, and will cease when the river falls.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

May 20, 1864-5.30 a. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

GENERAL: Birney reports the enemy having disappeared from his front of last night. He has followed them down to the river at the deserted house, taking several prisoners from their stragglers, and all seem to indicate the presence of Ewell's corps yesterday, and their withdrawal in the night to their intrenchments. I propose now to withdraw Birney and Tyler and leave Russell with Warren's people to keep watch against the return of the enemy.

Yours,

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.