II. Enlisted men absent from their companies or from their post of duty for more than twenty-four hours without authority will be considered deserters, and must be reported by name on the field return to these headquarters.
III. The corps and division provost-marshals will provide themselves with and have on hand at all times one dozen pairs of handcuffs and shall erect suitable strong guard-houses for the safe custody of deserters until they can be shot. This order will be read at least once a day for a month at the head of each company.
By command of Bvt. Major General A. H. Terry:
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
WASHINGTON, December 28, 1864-5.30 p.m.
City Point, Va.:
If there be no objection, please tell me what you now understand of the Wilmington expedition, present and prospective.
CITY POINT, VA., December 28, 1864-8.30 p.m.
(Received 9.35 p.m.)
President of the United States:
The Wilmington expedition has proven a gross and culpable failure. Many of the troops are now back here. Delays and free talk of the object of the expedition enabled the enemy to move troops to Wilmington to defeat it. After the expedition sailed from Fort Monroe three days of fine weather was squandered, during which the enemy was without a force to protect himself. Who is to blame I hope will be known.
U. S. GRANT,
December 28, 1864-3.30 p.m.
The Navy Department has received two dispatches, which I have ordered to be sent to you. Fulton's dispatch indicates that Porter intends to continue the operations against Fort Fisher and hopes for success. Mr. Fox goes down this evening to Fortress Monroe to consult with you about sending additional troops.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
BUREAU OF INFORMATION,
December 28, 1864.
Major General G. G. MEADE,
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: The following deserters from the enemy have been forwarded to-day: Two from Forty-fourth North Carolina, MacRea's brigade,