by the batteries defending New Inlet, while the rest of the fleet engages them. The iron-clads, after entering, should take up a position in Cape Fear River abreast the land forces. Until the Federal Point batteries should be reduced, the troops would receive their supplies on the open beach as in the first plan.
The second plan is more complete in its results than the first. it would yield god results even should the iron-clads fail to get in or meet with disaster subsequently, for with batteries built well out toward the channel in shallow water, and the use of powerful calcium lights, and such channel obstructions as could be constructed at night, the river could be closed quite effectually, it is believed, without the continual presence of gun boats on the inside.
The execution of either plan calls for the combined skill and experience of the engineer and artillerist. Important professional details are involved in the operation, for which the officer to be charged with the work should have time to prepare. Secrecy being important, if not essential, the naval forces should rendezvous at some distance form the scene of proposed operations. Charleston harbor is a suitable point, inasmuch as the iron-clads are there, and it would look like an attack in that quarter.
The above are simply the most salient features of a project or projects for closing Wilmington to blockade-runners. I am free to say that I have given the subject a great deal of thought. I firmly believe the plans practicable and am willing to risk my reputation in attempting their execution.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Q. A. GILLMORE,
Major-General of Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,
September 7, 1864.
There seems to be a break between the new line taken by General Birney and the line occupied by the Second Corps. The break is at the Norfolk road. I wish you would send your chief of staff or chief engineer to correct and establish the line that must be held.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT,
September 7, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: Two deserters from Finegan's and two from Harris' brigades who left the enemy's lines last night just arrived here, and report no change in the position of Mahone's division. Harris' brigade numbers about 500 men, and Finegan's (with Perry's) about 800 men for duty. They know nothing of any part of Longstreet's corps, and have neither seen nor heard of any recent movements.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
*A sketch accompanying this report will appear in the Atlas.