enforcements were sent, and, in addition, that within a week from the embarkation here a landing can be effected there. At the present season this is a matter of much doubt. For a siege of Wilmington or Fort Fisher, the force should, in my opinion, not be less than 15,000 men. Supplying this force from the open beach or from Masonborough Inlet at this season of the year is, I think, very uncertain. If we had continued the landing begun on the 25th it would have, from bad weather, taken three days to get the men all ashore. I may add that at the time we were at Fort Fisher the Tallahassee, an iron-clad, and another small armed vessel were reported in the Cape Fear River, and would suggest that if the navy is able to silence Fort Fisher so that it cannot interfere with an assault on shore, it would also be able to send some vessels past Fort Fisher, in case another attempt was made, to prevent troops being annoyed by the fire of those vessels.
C. B. COMSTOCK,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.
NORTH ATLANTIC SQUADRON, U. S. FLAG-SHIP MALVERN, Beaufort, N. C., January 1, 1865.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, U. S. Army,
Commanding Armies of the United States:
DEAR GENERAL: I have just received yours of December 30.* I shall be all ready, and thank God we are not to leave here with so easy a victory at hand. Thank you for so promptly trying to rectify the blunder so lately committed. I knew you would do it. I sent to General Sherman for troops, knowing he must be in Savannah. I would like the troops to rendezvous here. They should have provisions to last them on shore in case we are driven off by gales, but I can cover any number of troops, if it blows ever so hard. I have held on here through all and the heaviest gales ever seen here. They seem to blow that I might show the commanders that we could ride it out at anchor. The rebels have no intrenchments, nor will any they make avail them. We destroyed all their abatis, and made a beautiful bridge for the troops to cross on. They think they have whipped us. I made the ships go off as if they were crippled-some in tow. We lost one man killed; you may judge what a simple business it was. I will work night and day to be ready. We will have Wilmington in a week, weather permitting. Please impress the commander with the importance of consulting with me freely, as regards weather and landing.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID D. PORTER,
Rear-Admiral, Commanding North Atlantic Squadron.
CITY POINT, VA., January 1, 1865.
Quartermaster, Fort Monroe:
Please say to Captain Mitchell, navy ordnance boat, that Mr. Blair leaves here at 2.30 p. m. for Fortress Monroe. Please to fire up by the time he gets there.
U. S. GRANT,
*See Vol. XLII, Part III, p. 1100.