War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0970 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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Always chary of mentioning with commendation the acts of my own personal staff, yet I think the troops who saw it will agree to the cool courage and daring of Lieutenant Sidney B. DeKay, aide-de-camp, in landing on the night of the 25th and remaining aiding in re-embarkation on the 27th. For the details of the landing and the operations, I beg leave to refer you to the reports of Major-General Weitzel, commanding the troops, and Brigadier-General Ames, commanding the division landed, which are hereto appended. Trusting my action will meet which the approval of the lieutenant-general, this report is respectfully submitted.



Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding Armies of the United States.



City Point, Va., January 7, 1865.

Respectfully forwarded.

To avoid publicity of the time of sailing and destination of the expedition against Fort Fisher, my orders to General Butler to prepare it were given verbally, and the instructions to the commanding officer of the expedition were made by him and submitted to me. I append to the report a copy of General Butler's instructions to General Weitzel, together with copies of my written dispatches and instructions to General Butler, relating to the expedition. It will be perceived that it was never contemplated that General Butler should accompany the expedition, but that Major General G. Weitzel was specially named as the commander of it. My hopes of success rested entirely on our ability to capture Fort Fisher (and I had even a hope of getting Wilmington) before the enemy could get troops there to oppose us. I knew that the enemy had taken nearly the entire garrison of Wilmington and its dependencies to oppose Sherman. I am inclined to ascribe the delay, which has cost us so dearly, to an experiment-I refer to the explosion of gunpowder in the open air. My dispatches to General Butler will show his report to be in error where he states that he returned after having effected a landing in obedience to my instructions. On the contrary, these instructions contemplated no withdrawal, or no failure after a landing was made.



[Inclosure Numbers 1.*]


City Point, Va., November 30, 1864 - 4.30 p. m.

Major-General BUTLER:

I have files of Savannah and August papers, sent me by Colonel Mulford, from which I gather that Bragg has gone to Georgia, taking with him what I judge to be most of the forces from about Wilmongton. It is, therefore, important that Weitzel should get off during his absence, and if successful in effecting a landing he may, by a bold dash, also succeed in capturing Wilmington. Make all the arrangements for his


* This and subsequent inclosures forwarded with Grant's letter of January 7. See p. 966.