War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1060 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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vigilance was observed throughout the night. No demonstration was made, and I cannot learn that any movement was made on that point of the line. I think the dam was probably carried away by the heavy rain. Four deserters from the Fifty-ninth Virginia have been reported.

JNumbers G. PARKE,

Major-General.

ARTILLERY HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

December 22, 1864.

Brigadier General J. C. TIDBALL,

Chief of Artillery, Ninth Corps:

GENERAL: In reply to your communication of the 20th, respecting the firing on your front and along the lines, I have to state that Major-General Meade gave directions to General Parke to have no firing not necessary, and that whilst it would be impracticable to get an order taking away all control by commanders of divisions, &c., on the lines, yet when firing does take place by these orders the artillery officer shall make a report of the circumstances, and if, in his opinion, the firing was necessary. If the report is against the necessity, you will please investigate the circumstances, and if the firing was unjustifiable report the circumstances and name of the officer who ordered it, that he may be called to account. The rule must be that the artillery commander is the judge of the necessity of using his batteries, and will be responsible if he fails to use them when necessary, or if, by his too free use of them, he causes casualties unnecessarily. In judging of the responsible officer, a liberal construction should be given to his acts. Whilst it cannot be forbidden to the commander of the troops present to issue orders to the artillery when he thinks it necessary, such orders, when given by him, will be obeyed and reported as directed, that any abuse of power may be corrected.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY J. HUNT,

Brevet Major-General, Chief of Artillery.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES,

December 22, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

Deserters from Colquitt's brigade say that the balance of the division (Hoke's) was to have left this morning for the south or west. They went through Richmond, avoiding the pontoon bridge.

E. O. C. ORD,

Major-General.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,

ARMY OF THE JAMES,

In the Field, December 22, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

City Point:

Another brigade of Hoke's division has been sent south and was met in the cars south of Petersburg by a deserter now here. I have a deserter here who has been a long time at Charlotte, N. C., and can give you valuable information about that place and Columbia, S. C.

E. O. C. ORD,

Major-General, Commanding.