the river, Colonel Lamb, commander of the fort, and the officers and men of the garrison deserve special commendation for the gallantry, efficiency, and fortitude displayed on the occasion.
R. E. LEE.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
December 27, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
Your telegram of the 24th and your letter of the 26th are received. Our force is so much reduced that we can only occupy the line on this side as far as the Williamsburg road, and there is a great deal of work yet to be done on this part of the line, which, with details to work on the roads, will occupy all of your laboring force for a long time. The line from the Williamsburg to the Nine-Mile road must therefore be entirely neglected, unless we can get the negro force to complete it, or unless a division of the troops in reserve can be stationed there to finish the work. I think that the portion of the line occupied by General Ewell's force is not so great, in proportion to his numbers, as mine, and, in addition to my present line, I shall be obliged to extend to the Nine-Mile road, in case the enemy should move out to attack. It seems to me, therefore, that General Ewell's line is as well filled as we can afford. I presume that the enemy if let alone will concentrate all of his force against us early in the spring. It seems, therefore, the more important that our lines should be strengthened here, so as to enable us to send off some force, and break up the enemy's detachments before he concentrates.
I remain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
SUGAR LOAF, December 27, 1864 - 3 p. m.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. TAYLOR,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Petersburg, Va.:
The enemy has re-embarked under cover of his fleet. His movement is not yet developed. I have visited Fort Fisher and find the damage slight, except to buildings not necessary for defense; only two guns disabled. The marks remaining indicate that the bombardment was very heavy. Major-General Whiting, commanding the defenses at the mouth of the river, Colonel Lamb, commanding the fort, and the officers and men composing the garrison deserve special commendation for the gallantry, efficiency, and fortitude displayed under very trying circumstances. Two brigades are here, another probably in Wilmington by this time.
DECEMBER 27, 1864 - 2 p. m.
The fleet appear to have left the beach. Two vessels, appearing to be transports, are moving south. The Pelteway has landed the Junior