of the greater part of the enemy's forces now looking after Sherman in Georgia. The directions you have given for the numbers and equipment of the expedition are all right except in the unimportant matter of where they embark and the amount of entrenching tools to be taken. The object of the expedition will be gained by effecting a landing on the mainland between Cape Fear River and the Atlantic north of the north entrance to the river. Should such landing be effected whilst the enemy still hold Fort Fisher and the batteries guarding the entrance to the river, then the troops should entrench themselves, and by co-operating with the navy effect the reduction and capture of those places. These in our hands, the navy could enter the harbor and the port of Wilmington would be sealed. Should Fort Fisher and the point of land on which it is built fall into the hands of our troops immediately on landing, then it will be worth the attempt to capture Wilmington by a forced march and surprise. If time is consumed in gaining the first object of the expedition the second will become a matter of after consideration. The details for execution are entrusted to you and the officer immediately in command of the troops. Should the troops under General Weitzel fail to effect a landing at or near Fort Fisher they will be returned to the army operating against Richmond without delay.
U. S. GRANT,
[Inclosure Numbers 5.]
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINE, ARMY OF THE JAMES,
In the Field, December 6, 1864.
Major General G. WEITZEL,
Commanding Twenty-fifth Corps:
GENERAL: The major-general, commanding has intrusted you with the command of the expedition about to embark for the North Carolina coast. It will consist of about 6,500 infantry, two batteries of artillery, and fifty cavalry. The effective men of General Ames' division, of the Twenty-fourth Corps, and General Paine's division, of the Twenty-fifth Corps, will furnish the infantry force. General Paine is under your orders; General Ames will be ordered to report to you in person immediately. You will confer with these officers and arrange details. Instruct them to select their best men, making your total force about 6,500 men. The chief of artillery, in conference with you, will designate the artillery to be taken. The horses of the batteries, except one horse for each officer and chief of piece, will be left. Take one set of wheel harness. Fifty men of Massachusetts cavalry will be ordered to report to you. Forty ambulances (two-horse) with necessary medical stores have been selected for the expedition, which will be distributed on at least two boats. Take sixty rounds of ammunition on the men, 100 rounds in boxes to be distributed through the fleet. If your division trains do not furnish the necessary amount, the balance required will be furnished by chief of ordnance at point of embarkation; 300 rounds of artillery ammunition per gun will be taken. So much of it as is not contained in limber boxes and caissons will be loaded in boxes at point of embarkation. Let each regiment draw and take with it on transports five days' rations. Three days' cooked meat, twenty days' additional will be taken in at Fort Monroe, distributing in through the fleet. Field