Southern country. For that purpose I know no better point than this. Healthy, easily defended, good water, plenty of wood, and easy of access; a garrison which should control Richmond, Petersburg, and all the country east of the Chowan River, and therefore Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, might be most conveniently located here. Besides, there will be land enough here for the safe location of a large colony of freedmen. Indeed, if the war should proceed farther south and last any time, I do not see why this would not be as convenient a location as any for prisoners; with the negroes near at hand to guard them. I venture to submit these suggestions to the attention of the commanding general.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
JULY 14, 1864
General GRANT, Commanding, &c:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I know how difficult it is for gentlemen in high positions to get the exact opinions and thoughts of friends or foes. For myself, I am always glad to do so. From the feeling of grateful recognition of your kindness to me I send you the inclosed letter.* It was never intended for your eye, and was written by a devoted and warm-hearted officer of mine and a sincere friend and admirer of yours. He is a good politician, and I know sincerely and truly wishes the success of yourself, and therein the success of the country. He gives these things, as he sees them, for my guidance. I cannot presume to have a solemn talk with you, but I think you should get the ideas of my friend, and with the exception of the manner of their expression many of them are my own; therefore pardon the expression; they are those of a warm-hearted, rough Western man, and are honest and true convictions. Permit me here to say that I desire to serve you, not in this only but in all things. My future is not in the army; yours is. Our paths can never cross, therefore amid all the selfishness of life I can see no reason why I cannot always subscribe myself as I do now,
Most truly, your friend,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER,
July 14, 1864
Brigadier General G. WEITZEL,
Acting Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: The following dispatch has just been received, and is respectfully forwarded:
RIVER-BANK SIGNAL STATION,
Spring Hill, July 14, 1864-4.30 p.m.
A train of seven cars partly loaded with troops just passed the railroad junction toward Richmond.
A. G. SIMONS,
Lieutenant and Signal Officer.
Very respectfully, &c.,
L. B. NORTON,
Captain and Chief Signal Officer.