conducted to the nearest point such vessel can approach the fort, and there being exploded, to do such injury to the fort, its armament, and garrison as will cause its ready capture. The War Department has been informed of all the explosions of large quantities of powder and the result within the knowledge of this department, and which you have seen in my letter of the 18th of November. It is the wish of the War Department that this interesting and important operation be witnessed by an officer of the Corps of Engineers, to the end that every fact connected with the preparations of the powder vessel and its results be communicated for its information.
Your attention will be given to this subject with the view of obtaining such information. The effects and extent of the crate caused by the explosion of this volume of powder, the projectiles thrown from the debris of the vessel, and any tamping that may be used, and the effect of the blast of powder on the nearer and distant objects, as well as the enemy's works, will command your attention so far as may be in your power. After gaining all the information that may be in your power on this subject, you will return and report the facts to this department for the information of the Secretary of War. A letter* is inclosed to Admiral Porter from the War Department, requesting him to afford you such facilities as may be in his power to obtain the information desired by the Secretary of War. You will show this communication to the admiral, at the same time presenting my best wishes for the most satisfactory results of this interesting and important enterprise.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
General and Chief Engineer.
PORTSMOUTH, December 8, 1864-3 p. m.
Miami has been ordered to City Point. Three gun-boats to patrol the river between Pagan Creek, Ragged Island Creek, and Point of Rocks. All the vessels will row guard at night, and every precaution taken to prevent surprise. There are sixty-five sailors with ten carloads of powder at Smithfield, on or near Pagan Creek. They came from Richmond around by Franklin. These are the men going the damage.
D. D. PORTER,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
December 8, 1864-8.30 a. m. (Sent 8.55 a. m.)
The accompanying dispatch+ was received after midnight last night and is forwarded for your information. Warren will strike the road lower down that I designed.
GEO. G. MEADE,
+See Warren to Meade, 6 p. m. 7th, p. 855.