War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0424 Chapter XLVIII. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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MAY 31, 1864-6 p. m.

Colonel GARRARD:

How many carbines, with the utmost pluck, under good officers, can you spare me in the lines to-morrow?

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General, Commanding.

FLAG-SHIP AGAWAM,

Farrar's Island, May 31, 1864-1.45 p. m.

(Via Fort Monroe, 8.30 p. m. June 1. Received 9 p. m.)

Honorable G. WELLES,

Secretary of the Navy:

Heard considerable cannonading for one hour last evening and four hours this morning in the direction of Richmond. A deserter to the army says they are mounting one 200-pounder at Howlett's, and that the rams were to have come down last night. Their torpedoes and fire-rafts will probably be down soon.

S. P. LEE,

Acting Rear-Admiral.

FORT MONROE, VA., May 31, 1864.

Major ECKERT:

I understand, and will communicate with Bickford. Following just received from Homan: "Palmer's party met rebel pickets about 12 miles from Gloucester Point; the party expects an attack. I have got 25 more cavalry from adjutant-general to send Palmer." Have expected this, but Palmer started with 90 guards and 30 men for fatigue duty.

G. D. SHELDON.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA,

New Berne, N. C., May 31, 1864.

Brigadier General L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to call your attention to the condition of affairs at Hatteras, N. C. The peculiar formation of the soil and the constant washing of the sea have already partially destroyed Fort Clark, and with every strong wind the parapet is nearly buried in the sand. Upon investigation I find that the Ocracoke Inlet possesses the same advantages as the inlet at Hatteras, and I propose, with the approval of the Department, to reoccupy the fort at Portsmouth or the fort on Beacon Island, both commanding the entrance to the inlet, and remove the garrison and guns from Fort Clark to one or both of these points, demolishing Fort Clark and leaving the garrison at Fort Hatteras to protect the entrance to the sounds of North Carolina by way of Hatteras Inlet. I beg leave to request that the attention of the Commission for the Establishment of Light-House may be called to the fact that the light at Ocracoke Inlet should be at once established, and also that the Coast Survey should at once buoy out the channel through the inlet, as has already been