OCTOBER 28, 1864.
Release the boats, of course, as ordered, and report the facts as follows: The boats were taken as the only safe boats in the service fit to convey sick and wounded soldiers of the United States who have been languishing in prisons for many months. They are the only boats fit for that purpose as hospital boats on the coast in the November storms. The soldiers of the United States sick and wounded in the comfortable hospitals of Fortress Monroe, General Butler thought, could wait there before they were transported to New York and the surgeons in charge go with [them] to that city on a pleasure trip better than could our soldier, sick, emaciated, and wounded, stay in a filthy Southern prison, and die for want of this transportation, which is not, in fact, employed more than half of the time. If our prisoners die in foreign prisons for want of this transportation their friends and countrymen must hold the Surgeon-General responsible, and not General Butler, for the inhumanity. There are plenty of boats that can run to New York with safety in these winds. Report these facts and all others you may know, and the whole matter will be judged of by the Department.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
OCTOBER 28, 1864.
Captain H. R. CLUM,
Chief Signal Officer, Butler's Headquarters:
Five passenger cars with passengers toward Richmond - regular train - last night; also a train toward Petersburg; contents unknown; extra train.
J. VAN VLECK,
FORT BRADY, VA., October 28, 1864.
Colonel H. L. ABBOT,
Commanding Siege Artillery:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the enemy have not troubled the canal much to-day, firing at the utmost but ten or fifteen shots. Think the 4.5-inch gun perplexes them. They became so incensed this afternoon that they opened on me from the heavy guns at Cox's Ferry. A few well-directed shell from the 100-pounder, Numbers 15, soon brought them to their senses, however. Deemed it prudent to move the three 30-pounder Parrotts about half a mile to the rear last night. Parked them just in the edge of the woods. Have a guard of six men over them, also a guard at the magazine. Trust you will permit me to exchange the 4.5-inch for them; the 30-pounder ammunition is so much surer.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. H. PIERCE,
Captain, First Connecticut Artillery.