to contend against anything the enemy may have there. If the landing can be effected before this is done, well and good; but if the enemy are in very strong force, a landing may not be practicable until we have possession of the river.
General Terry will consult with you fully, and will be governed by your suggestions as far as his responsibility for the safety of his command will admit of.
Hoping you all sorts of good weather and success, I remain, &c.,
U. S. GRANT,
NORTH ATLANTIC SQUADRON, FLAG-SHIP MALVERN,
Beaufort, N. C., January 3, 1865.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Armies of the United States, City Point:
DEAR GENERAL: I hold it to be a good rule never to send a boy on a man's errand, and we must now calculate that the rebels, having ascertained their weakness, will take measures to strengthen themselves. The great thing was to effect a landing, which being done, everything else was easy. The troops could have fortified themselves where they landed against 100,000 men, covered as they were by over eighty heavy guns on the gun-boats, strung all along the beach. There is no use fretting over the past; we must endeavor to avoid mistakes in the future; and if any expedition fails now to take the works, which were comparatively weak ten days ago, the sagacity of the leaders of the late expedition will be applauded. The failure to assault the works so battered, and the people so demoralized by the dreadful bombardment, will set the rebels to work making themselves much stronger, and this is what I wish to draw your attention to. We cannot stop their work without bringing the whole squadron into play and firing away all our ammunition before the time comes for work. It is no joke getting in coal and ammunition, lying outside. The ships can only carry ten hours' firing. Now I propose (if it is possible) that you send every man you can spare here, with entrenching tools, and fifteen 30-pounders; the last party had not even a spade. An army can intrench themselves at Masonborough, and stay as long as they like, if a typhoon blows the ships to sea. I have received a letter from Sherman.* He wants me to time my operations by his, which I think a good plan. We will make a sure thing of it, but the troops and the navy must be ready to strike at a moment's notice and when the enemy least expects us. We will have the report spread that the troops are to co-operate with Sherman in the attack on Charleston. I hope Sherman will be allowed to carry out his plans; he will have Wilmington in less than a month, and Charleston will fall like a ripe pear. I expect you understand all this better than I do. I have made arrangements to keep communication open with Sherman from the time he starts. Captain Breese will give you all the latest news.
I am, general, very truly and sincerely,
DAVID D. PORTER,
*See Vol. XLIV, p. 842.