line early this a. m.; no other reason is given for the attack than
it was expected a sufficient number of overcoats, shoes, and blankets would be captured to pay for the undertaking; of these articles they were sadly in need; some of them were barefooted.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNumbers C. BABCOCK.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
OFFICE OF PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
December 31, 1864-7.30 p. m.
Colonel GEORGE H. SHARPS,
(Or to General Patrick.)
One J. R. Foster, Twenty-sixth North Carolina, deserter from the enemy, sent to City Point this p. m., is said to have important information in regard to an intended attack on the Second Corps picket-line to-night. The commanding general desires that he be examined on this point and the result of the examination telegraphed to him at once.
J. C. BABCOCK.
CITY POINT, December 31,, 1864-9.15 p. m.
JOHN C. BABCOCK,
Headquarters Army of the Potomac:
I have examined all the deserters who came in to-day with reference to your dispatch. The man referred to, J. R. Foster, Twenty-sixth North Carolina, says he knows nothing about the matter; that he heard no such rumor, and that he has told no such story since he has come into our lines. A. G. Melton, Twenty sixth South Carolina, Evans' old brigade, says it was a rumor in camp before he left that "General Lee was going to surprise the United States on New Year's Day;" that he knows no fact for the rumor to rest upon; that some thought General Lee was going to make peace, as the privates understand that he has entire control now. He says it was talked about more jocosely than otherwise. I have examined him carefully and am satisfied he knows nothing more than the above. Others who came in to-day know of the skirmish line being relieved last night in order that the skirmishers might make a dash on some part of the line last night, and have told this story since they came in.
GEORGE H. SHARPE,
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
ARMIES OPERATING AGAINST RICHMOND, VA.,
City Point, December 31, 1864.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, &c.:
GENERAL: By our scouts from the Chickahominy last night we have received a written communication from an agent in Richmond, much of which is only strongly corroborative or our own information, but is repeated here in order to show the value of the whole. Our Richmond