concentrate your division at Prince George Court-House, where you will receive directions from headquarters Army of the Potomac as to the subsequent disposition of your command.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. C. WEIR,
HEADQUARTERS SEPARATE BRIGADE,
Fort Pocahontas, Va., September 26, 1864.
I desire that you will take 200 men from the Second New Hampshire and Sixteenth New York Heavy Artillery and twenty mounted men of the First U. S. Colored Cavalry, with two day's rations' and forty round of ammunition per man, and embark at 3 o'clock to-morrow morning on the gun-boat Mosswood and a barge, which she will take in tow. You will then proceed up the Chickahominy to Hog Neck and disembark on the left bank about ten miles above the mouth of the river. You will then push into the country some four or five miles and sweep down to Barrett's Ferry, near the mount of the Chickahominy, gathering such horses, mules, cattle, and sheep as may be useful to the army, and taking along with you such colored men and their families as desire to come within our lines. If you find any considerable amount of corn you may seize that also if you can find means to transport it to your boats. you are required particularly to examine the country, and especially along the river for-torpedoes, which it is believed are concealed there, and to make diligent inquiry of all the people whom you may chance to meet in relation to a party of soldiers who, on the 19th instant, came from Richmond with torpedoes, as it is believed. You will not, allow officers or men to enter the dwellings of the people for the purpose of disturbing the occupants, and you will take no other property but animals and grain which will be useful in subsisting the army and affording it transportation. The Mosswood, after you have disembarked, will drop down the river to Barrett's Ferry, where you will re-embark your command when you deem that nothing useful can be accomplished by prolonging your stay. At furthest, you will not remain absent more than two days.
CITY POINT, VA., September 27, 1864.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.
The exercise of the right of suffrage by the officers and soldiers of armies in the field is a novel thing. It has. I believe, generally been considered dangerous to constitutional liberty and subversive of military discipline. But our circumstances are novel and exceptional. A very large proportion of legal voters of the United States are now either under arms in the field, or in hospitals, or otherwise engaged on the military service of the United States. Most of these men are not regular soldiers in the strict sense of that term; still less are they mercenaries who give their services to the Government simply for its pay, having little understanding of political questions or feeling little or no interest in them. On the contrary, they are American citizens, having still their homes and social and political ties binding them to the States and districts from which they come,