Court-House. A picket of 3 men posted on the bank of the river opposite to him. Quite a number of contrabands are reported as anxious to get away from the opposite shore. No force can be sent from this post.
WM. H. P STEERE,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICTS OF NORTH CAROLINA,
New Berne, N. C., May 22, 1864.
Colonel H. T. SISSON,
Fifth Rhode Island Volunteers:
SIR: I have learned with surprise that the impressions prevailed in your regiment taht recent changes in the disposition of the troops in the various field-works around this place were made for the reasons that I through the duty at these places had been well or imperfectly performed. After the many tokens of approbation express to yourself and the officers of your regiments at the forts recently vacated by them, I could scarcely believe taht orders so plainly necessitated by the exigencies of the same, could be so construed. The ideas imputed to me at least never existed. I learned with still more surprise that certain officers of your regiment conceived it proper to make certain statements in writing reflecting upon me and calculated to injure me as an officer.
As you are about leaving this district under orders from me, which I had every reason to believe would be very gratifying to you, while they would be for the very best interest of the service, I desire to state to you that no disapprobation of the manner in which the companies of your regiment performed their duty was ever expressed or even through. On the contrary I never visited any of the places occupied by them without expressing, and that too in the kindest possible manner, my gratification, and the changes which were unwillingly made in the disposition of the forces were plainly necessitated by the condition of the forces now remaining under my command, and the cordial acquiescence on the part of those who have during a time of war so quietly and comfortably occupied these positions was certainly expected.
As to the statement of those officers which I have before mentioned I can only say that if they were conscientiously made they should be fairly considered. You will probably agree with me, however, that the fair and manly course for these officers to pursue, would be to present a copy of their statement to me in order taht I may be able to meet the affair in a proper way.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. N. PALMER,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES.
May 22, 1864-11 p. m. (Received 4 p. m. 24th.)
Chief of Staff:
The army moved from its position of this morning to the North Anna, following closely Lee's army. The Fifth and Sixth Corps
8 R R--VOL XXXVI, PT III