HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
August 11, 1864.
A deserter came in this a. m.; reports that he heard a cook, who came to his regiment last night from the other side of Petersburg, say that he heard a man just from Richmond say that part of Lee's troops were going north through Richmond yesterday. As cars were running on the Richmond railroad during the night there may be something in the report.
E. O. C. ORD,
Major-General of Volunteers.
NORFOLK, August 11, 1864.
COLONEL: The order intended for Colonel Garrard's cavalry to relieve Colonel Dimon's regiment, First U. S. Volunteer Infantry, as provost-guard in this district, was inadvertently sent to these headquarters for transmission. Colonel Garrard's cavalry is not in this command. He has probably not received the order. No troops here to relieve Colonel Dimon. I shall be at the front Saturday.
G. F. SHEPLEY,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
New Berne, N. C., August 11, 1864.
E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: The nature of the proposition I shall make in this communication must be the excuse I offer for sending direct to you. There is in the State of North Carolina, in proximity to our lines, quite a large supply of cotton which I am convinced can by procured for the Government if I can be permitted [to use] my own extraordinary means of obtaining it. This cotton has been inland for a long time, or a great deal of it hid away for the purpose of keeping it from the rebel Government or from raiding parties of our forces. The owners have in many instances expressed a perfect willingness to dispose of it to our Government, but the first attempt to get it from the lading-places to points where I could receive it would be the cause of its being seized or destroyed by the rebels. The owners, too, in most cases, are men who have had the confidence of the former commander of Plymouth, and before the fall of the place promises of assistance to get the cotton within our lines were made. Now I would propose to obtain this cotton in this way: Whisky will draw cotton when nothing else will, and a trustworthy, honorable man here makes the proposition to place at points where I can easily send for it some hundreds of bales, at the rate of a bale of cotton for a battle of whisky. Now a bale of cotton is worth to the Government at least $500 over and above the cost of transportation, and the common whisky is worth, or costs the Government here, say $50 to $60. It is probable that from 1,500 to 2,000 bales could be procured in this way, thus placing a large amount of money into the hands of the Government, and at the same time we put this cotton out of the way of the rebels. They will, I fear, sooner or latter