Washington, October 3, 1864-12.30 p. m.
I have directed Adjutant-General Thomas to bring up 5,000 negro troops from Kentucky, who are said to be superior to any others that he has organized in the South, and to take them to your command. He leaves Washington for that purpose to-day, and has orders to hasten them forward with all dispatch.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES, Near Junction of Varina and New Market Roads, October 3, 1864-7.45 p. m.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
Dispatch relative to the negro troops received. I told you they would do well in my department. My colored troops under General Paine, 2,500 strong, carried intrenchments at the point of the bayonet that in a former movement across the river stopped double their number. It was most gallantly done, with most severe loss. Their praises are in the mouth of every officer in this army. Treated fairly and disciplined, they have fought most heroically. I have received a letter from Captain Smith, of the Navy, proposing to Ould na exchange of naval prisoners "independently of our commissioner." There have been many negroes captured from the Navy, who are thus abandoned to their fate. Is it not possible for the Government to have a policy? If Sherman exchanges at Atlanta, if Foster at Charleston, if Canby at New Orleans, and Rosecrans in Missouri, then I do not see why we should not exchange here. Our soldier will not be too well pleased to hear that sailors can and soldiers cannot be exchanged.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
HEADQUARTERS, October 3, 1864-11.30 a. m.
All quiet during the night. An attempt was made on Kautz's and Birney's pickets, on the Darbytown and New Market roads, last evening, which was easily repulsed, and by Birney with the capture of seventeen prisoners. Lieutenant Michie is at work on the new line with 1,000 colored troops. will you telegraph to the secretary of War for a brevet majority for Michie in his corps? I wish him as my chief engineer. If gallant, unwearied, and most meritorious services are ever deserving they are in his case. Also, an order that he be put on duty in his brevet rank. I have set Ludlow's extra men at Dutch Gap at work on the redoubt on Signal Hill near him. Four regiments of Pickett's division are over here from the Bermuda line between Appomattox and James, leaving about 2,500 men there. I believe I could break through on the left with 3,000 negroes. Can we not have the other corps here?
B. F. BUTLER,
5 R R-VOL XLII, PT III