HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
New Berne, N. C., June 10, 1864.
Colonel J. C. VAN HOOK, or
OFFICER COMMANDING CONFEDERATE FORCES,
Little Washington, N. C.:
SIR: Your communication of the 3rd instant was duly received, and agreeably to your suggestion I shall send a steamer to-morrow for the purpose of bringing away such persons as may desire to take advantage of my officer of relief. I do not propose to enter into any discussion concerning the burning of Washington. I will simply say that I am in no way responsible for it; that I regret it more than you can, and that I yet hope to detect the villains who were concerned in it. If you have conversed with any of the citizens concerning that affair I suspect you will find their testimony to be that the officers did their best to extinguish the flames or to prevent their spreading. The people of North Carolina who know me know very well that no act of vandalism or inhumanity has ever been sanctioned by me,and looking at this matter in a military, aside from a humane, aspect, I could not think of destroying a town or field-works that I might find it necessary to reoccupy at a future day.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. N. PALMER,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
Cold Harbor, Va., June 11, 1864.
Commanding, Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: Colonel Comstock, who visited the James River for the purpose of ascertaining the best point below Bermuda Hundred to which to march the army, has not yet returned. It is now getting so late, however, that all preparations may be made for the move to-morrow night without waiting longer. The movement will be made as heretofore agreed upon-that is, the Eighteenth Corps make a rapid march with the infantry alone, their wagon and artillery accompanying the balance of the army to Cole's Landing or Ferry, and there embark for City Point, losing no time for rest until they reach the latter point. The Fifth Corps will seize Long Bridge and move out on the Long Bridge road to its junction with Quaker road, or until stopped by the enemy. The other three corps will follow in such order as you may direct, one of them crossing at Long Bridge, and two at Jones' Bridge. After the crossing is effected the most practicable roads will be taken to reach about Fort Powhatan. Of course this is supposing the enemy makes no opposition to our advance. The Fifth Corps, after securing the passage of the balance of the army, will join or follow in rear of the corps which crosses the same bridge with themselves. The wagon trains should be kept well east of the troops, and if a crossing can be found or made lower down than Jones' they should take it.
U. S. GRANT,
P. S. - In view of the long march to reach Cole's Landing and the uncertainty of being able to embark so large a number of men there,