WASHINGTON, May 23, 1864-2.40 p. m.
Wilson is absent. I answer for him that Gillmore's nomination is still pending before the Senate.
MAY 23, 1864-12.30 p. m.
Brigadier-General MEIGS and BARNARD,
Via Fort Monroe:
General Grant has moved south to Milford Station and charged his base of supplies to Port Royal. He says Lee been re-enforced by Pickett's division and other troops from Richmond, and that General Butler's force is not detaining 10,000 of the enemy. Your report anxiously looked for. Water transportation for troops to the Rapahannock should be prepared.
H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA., May 23, 1864.
(Via Jamestown Island and Fort Monroe, Va., Received 12.45 p. m. 24th.)
Chief of Staff:
We arrived here Sunday evening, too late to examine the position, and so ascended in the night to Trent's Reach to communicate with Admiral Lee. he has asked for more gun-boats and says take navy cannot remain above Deep Bottom and Turkey Bend if a determined effort is made by rebels to occupy the shore at those points and cut off supply of coal. He wishes the army to hold positions on the north bank of the James at one or both those points. If reconnaissance shows this practicable we should recommend it, but if it is not done the iron-clads could be supplied by hauling coal from the Appomattox, and the wooden gun-boats be withdrawn.
General Butler thinks he has evidence that eleventh brigade of the enemy are determined in front of him and estimated to number from 25,000 to 30,000. Has captured prisoners from ten brigades within the last four days. On Friday evening captured General W. S. Walker; has pocket-book with valuable memoranda showing his brigade to number 4,100 men. Petersburg paper of 21st says taht three brigades attacked our pickets on Friday within loss of 600 men. D. H. Hill command, and Beauregard was present. A deserter from Ransom's division came in to-day; was at Plymouth and battles near this place; says they have orders to hold the works they have lately constructed in front of us to the last extremity, but does not think they mean to attack. General Pickett went north about May 9 under a cloud for allowing himself to be surprised in this position.
General Butler is positive that within the last four days divisions of Hoke, Ransom, Bushord Johnson, and Withing have ben before him. We think it possible, however, that very recently, and since
our force has been entirely on the defensive, rebel troops have gone to Lee.