War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1034 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C.

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be the act of the officer himself, to be justified or condemned afterward upon the merits of the case. In all instances where too much delay would not ensue, they should wait for the authority of the commanding general of the department, at least, and then his action should be reported through the proper channel to the President at once.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

OFFICE OF THE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL, December 18, 1864.

Major General G. G. MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: The following deserters have been forwarded to-day: One form Fourteenth South Carolina, McGowan's brigade; one from Forty-ninth North Carolina, Ransom's brigade; one from Thirty-fifth North Carolina, Ransom's brigade. No important information elicited. Deserter from Thirty-fifth North Carolina reports, that he heard Savannah had been taken by Sherman; it was so believed and reported last evening by the officers of his regiment. No particulars.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. C. BABCOCK.

WALTAHLL SIGNAL STATION, December 18, 1864-9 a.m.

Lieutenant DILLINGHAM:

All quiet this a.m. No change observed. At 4.10 p.m. yesterday the following was intercepted:

Colonel B[RENT]:

A working party is engaged loading lumber at Strahan's upper landing.

R.,

Sergeant,at C.

(Same to A. B.)

H. W. HOLMAN,

Sergeant.

PLANK ROAD SIGNAL STATION, December 18, 1864-4.30 p.m.

Colonel B. F. FISHER:

At 9 a.m. 150 men moved toward our left from vicinity of large fort. All quiet.

A. K. C[AROTHERS],

Sergeant.

FRONT OF FORT HOWARD, December 18, 1864-5.15 p.m.

Colonel B. F. FISHER,

Chief Signal Officer:

No change observed in the enemy's lines on this front to-day. The smoke of an engine seen moving west in rear of lead-works. No wagons seen moving.

GEO. W. OAKES,

Sergeant, Signal Corps.