were captured by three of the enemy's scouts while en route from this place to Saint Augustine. Colonel Noble was here as a witness before a general court-martial, and was to have returned before Monday 9 a. m. When I gave Colonel Noble permission to go to Saint Augustine I cautioned him especially in reference to the necessity of being always armed, of not traveling without escort, &c. As far as I can learn neither of the parties captured had arms with them. Captain Young was permitted to go at large on the ground of ill-health and retirement from service about to be consummated. Every practicable effort is being made to rescue these officers, but I have very little expectation, notwithstanding the hopes held out by scouts, &c., that they will be successful. I trust that the cavalry force destined for this district may be sent as soon as practicable, and that the infantry, temporarily withdrawn, may be also returned.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,
E. P. SCAMMON,
CITY POINT, VA., December 28, 1864.
Honorable . M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
The Richmond papers contain the following items from Georgia:
The latest official advices from Georgia indicate that Sherman has already followed up the occupation of Savannah by sending a force of cavalry, artillery, and infantry upon an expedition whose destination can only be guessed at from the direction in which it has moved. These troops are reported to have gone toward the Altamaha river, and we shall no doubt next hear that they have crossed that stream and are moving to Southwestern Georgia, in quest of the prisoners of war who were supposed to be at Andersonville. Sherman's programme for his grand campaign northward seems to be no secret. He will start from Port Royal and move straight on Branchville, the point of junction between the Georgian and Carolinian railroads; he then proposes to follow the main lines of railroad toward Virginia, stealing and murdering as much as he can be the way. All very fine; but if Sherman proposes. Lee disposes.
From Wilmington, the following official dispatch was received last night:
"WILMINGTON, December 27, 3 p. m.
"His Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES:
"The enemy has embarked under cover of his fleet. His movement is not developed. I have visited Fort Fisher and find the damage slight, except the 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 garrisons deserve especial commendation for the gallantry, efficiency, and fortitude displayed under very trying circumstances.
"BRAXTON BRAGG. "
From Southwestern Virginia:
The Lynchburg Virginiana has the following additional in relation to the capture of the salt-works, announced officially on yesterday:
We had been led to hope that these important works were safe, but the sources from which their reported capture comes leave us no room to doubt its correctness. They were occupied by the enemy on Tuesday the 20th, and held by them, as is stated, until Thursday, when they retreated towards Bristol. We learn that the place was held by about 200 reserves, under Colonel Preston, the most of whom escaped capture. The works are reported to be but little damaged, and we understand that persons who have visited them since the occupation by the enemy think they can be put in working order again by the first of February. A large quantity of salt, already gotten out, was destroyed, and all the buildings at the place were burned; several pieces of artillery were also captured by them, but they got but little else of any kind. General Breckinridge, at the last accounts, was at Saltville,