HDQRS. SECOND DIV., 25TH ARMY CORPS,
In the Field, Va., December 4, 1864.
This command will hereafter be known as the Second Division, Twenty-fifth Army Corps. The following-named regiments will constitute the First Brigade, which will be know as the First Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-fifth Army Corps, viz; Seventh U. S. Colored Troops, One hundred and sixteenth U. S. Colored Troops, One hundred and ninth U. S. Colored Troops. The following-named regiments will constitute the Second Brigade, which will be known as the Second Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-fifth Army Corps, viz: Forty-fifth U. S. Colored Troops, Eighth U. S. Colored Troops, One hundred and twenty-seventh U. S. Colored Troops. The following-named regiments will constitute the Third Brigade, which will be denominated the Third Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-fifth Army Corps, viz; Twenty eighth U. S. Colored Troops, Twenty-ninth U. S. Colored Troops, Thirty-first U. S. Colored, One hundred and seventeenth U. S. Colored Troops.
By command of Brigadier General William Birney:
JAMES B. WEST,
Lieutenant, Aide-de-Camp and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES,
December 4, 1864.
Brigadier General I. N. PALMER,
Commanding District of North Carolina:
GENERAL: Most of the matters in your confidential dispatch by the hand of General Harland, which reached me this morning (December 4), must have been answered by my dispatch by the hand of General Wild, and I think with it you will be able to make the movement which I suggested therein. I should be very glad if you cut the railroad, especially just now. Push for it if it is possible, but when there, make the destruction certain; cut it if it is possible at two points some miles apart so that it shall not be to the enemy a mere transshipment. Have everything of your command that you can possibly ready as a mobile force, to co-operate with me in a movement hereafter possible, and of which you will be instructed. I would suggest after taking Rainbow Bluff to strike across to Tarborough, thence to Rocky Mount, cutting the railroad at Swift Creek and Rocky Mount, so as to put difficulties between yourself and Lee; then forty miles will take you to Goldsborough thence home via Kinston if you fancy. Live on the country. I would march without transportation intending to live on the country. Such a movement of yours would be of incalculable service just now, and while I do not order it, I suggest it and will sanction it. As soon as you strike Hamilton with your transportation you might send it back for your cavalry, or, perhaps, what would be still better, leave your cavalry to make the demonstration on Kinston as a diversion. If they can take Kinston left them keep on to Goldsborough. At any rate, hold on to Kinston or in that neighborhood until you could possibly join them.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,