attempt. Take all the forces that can be spared in your district which you may deem necessary, and move with great promptness while the enemy are engaged with Sherman in Georgia and with us here, so that you need not fear re-enforcements. Perhaps, after seizing that point, you might, by a bold push, reach the ram at Halifax. I would suggest that you could transport your troops and supplies within six miles, and land them below the bluff and take the enemy in the rear, but matters of detail must be left to your discretion. What I do require is promptness of action, and I rest largely on that. I rest also largely upon your energy and zeal. You had better give out that your expedition is a movement up the Chowan upon Weldon. You are surrounded by spies, and the moment you start any movement conjecture will by busy as to its direction. Now, if you let it be confidentially understood by a sufficient number of persons that you are going up the Chowan, that will be sure to get to the enemy. Brigadier-General Wild, who does me the favor to take this to you, is also charged with some confidential matters which he will state to you, and in which I trust you will aid him. As soon as this expedition is over, I propose to send you a battalion of the Sixteenth New York Heavy Artillery as portion of your garrison at New Berne, and take the Fifteenth Connecticut into the field with me, unless you can state objections which do not now occur to me.
I am, very respectfully, yours,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
[NOVEMBER 30, 1864. - For the "effective strength" of the U. S. forces operating against Richmond, see Part I, p. 40.]
Abstract from return of the Army of the Potomac, Major General George G. Meade, U. S. Army, commanding, for the month of November, 1864.
Present for duty.
Command Officers Men Aggre-gate Aggre-gate Pieces
present present of
General 40 ..... 40 45 .....
Provost Guard 50 1.249 1.714 2.509 .....
Engineer Brigade 76 3.781 4.519 5.147 .....
Battalion U. S. 7 182 222 277 .....
Artillery (Hunt) 36 1.414 1.564 1.798 60
Guards and 1 32 93 99 .....
Signal Corps 13 126 159 182 .....
Second Army 826 17.545 23.582 47.960 68
Fifth Army Corps 746 16.195 22.066 33.523 56
Ninth Army Corps 725 15.316 19.981 31.670 36
Second Cavalry 195 5.994 7.692 13.765 8
Total 2.715 61.834 81.632 136.975 228