War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 0048 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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CITY POINT, August 4, 1864-12 noon.

Major-General BUTLER:

I find it necessary for me to go to Washington for a day or two to give direction of affairs there. In my absence remain on the defensive, notifying General Meade that if attacked he is authorized to call on such of your troops as are south of the Appomattox. Only expecting to be gone three days, I will not relinquish command.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

(Copy to General Meade.)

CITY POINT, VA., August 4, 1864.

Major-General BUTLER,

Commanding, &c.:

I am compelled to send a second division of cavalry to Washington. This will leave the cavalry force too weak to protect the flank of the army without the assistance of Kautz. Please order Kautz to report accordingly. Only intending to be absent for a few days I leave my adjutant-general and part of headquarters here. But being senior, you necessarily would command in any emergency. Please communicate with me by telegraph if anything occurs where you wish my orders.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VA., August 4, 1864.

Major-General BUTLER,

Commanding, &c.:

Lieutenant King's communication in relation to closing the port of Wilmington with torpedoes is received. I called Admiral Lee's attention to this matter some time ago, thinking myself it was perfectly feasible. The admiral, however, thought differently, giving as a reason for his views that both channels were commanded by the enemy's guns. All the torpedoes we would plant during the night the enemy would take up during the day. I certainly, however, would like the experiment tried, and if you will arrange with Admiral Lee for his co-operation, what you may do will have my approval.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

HEADQUARTERS, August 4, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

Commanding, &c.:

MY DEAR SIR: I have been reading the newspaper accounts of the Petersburg affair, and beg leave to call your attention to the blame cast upon the negro troops. They ought to bear all their share of the odium which attaches to the failure, but no more. If it be true, as alleged, that the failure is owing to their want of courage, conduct, and inefficiency, them it would seem that the negro can never make a soldier, and the policy of the Government upon this subject is wrong and should at once be changed. If they are not to blame, that fact, it is respectfully suggested, should be ascertained and declared in the most solemn