War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0971 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS AGAINST FORT FISHER, N. C.

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departure, so that the navy will not be detained one moment for the army. Did your order Palmer to make move proposed yesterday? It is important that he should do so without delay.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES,

November 30, 1864 - 8.45 p. m. (Received 9 p. m.)

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

I have been busy all day endeavoring to ascertain the truth as to the movement of troops from here. Deserters say that Field's, Hoke's, and Kershaw's divisions have all moved, each going a different way, but gone toward Petersburg. My signal officer reports a train of six cars loaded with troops, and six open cars loaded with artillery, passing from Petersburg toward Richmond to-day. I am inclined to believe that the movement is of Hoke's division to Petersburg, only because of a difficulty and a very angry discussion which has sprung up between Hoke and Field in regard to their failure at Battery Harrison on the 30th of September last, which appeared in the Richmond papers, and that Kershaw is to take Hoke's place here. We have had literally no deserters for two days. We have nearly perfected the plan of organization of the corps. With your leave I will be down in the morning for the necessary orders. Orders will go down to-morrow to General Palmer to make the move of which we spoke. I have spared everything I can from the hospital boats and other boats in the department to move troops. The navy shall not wait for me a single hour, and we will make the push if it is possible.

B. F. BUTLER,

Major-General.

[Inclosure Numbers 3.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,

City Point, Va., December 4, 1864 - 10 a. m.

Major-General BUTLER:

I feel great anxiety to see the Wilmington expedition off, both on account of the present fine weather, which we can expect no great continuance of, and because Sherman may now be expected to strike the sea coast any day, leaving Bragg free to return. I think it advisable for you to notify Admiral Porter and get off without any delay with or without your powder boat.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

[Inclosure Numbers 4.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,

City Point, Va., December 6, 1864.

Major General B. F. BUTLER,

Commanding Army of the James:

GENERAL: The first object of the expedition under General Weitzel is to close to the enemy the port of Wilmington. If successful in this, the second will be to capture Wilmington itself. There are reasonable grounds to hope for success, if advantage can be taken of the absence