JANUARY 3, 1865-10.30 a. m.
You were to be ready for going on board to-morrow morning. I think you had better get down during the day.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
CITY POINT, VA., January 3, 1865.
Major General A. H. TERRY,
The expedition intrusted to your command has been fitted out to renew the attempt to capture Fort Fisher, N. C., and Wilmington ultimately, if the fort falls. You will then proceed, with as little delay as possible, to the naval fleet flying off Cape Fear River, and report the arrival of yourself and command to Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter, commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. It is exceedingly desirable that the most complete understanding should exist between yourself and the naval commander. I suggest, therefore, that you consult with Admiral Porter freely, and get from him the part to be performed by each branch of the public service, so that there may be unity of action. It woudl be well to have the whole programme laid down in writing. I have served with Admiral Porter, and know that you can rely on his judgment and his nerve to undertake what he proposes. I would, therefore, defer to him as much as is consistent with your own responsibilities. The first object to be attained is to get a firm position on the spit of land on which Fort Fisher is built, from which you can operate against that fort. You want to look to the practicability of receiving your supplies, and to defending yourself against superior forces sent against you by any of the avenues left open to the enemy. If such a position can be obtained the siege of Fort Fisher will not be abandoned until its reduction is accomplished or another plan of campaign is ordered from these headquarters. My own views are, that if you effect a landing, the navy ought to run a portion of their fleet into Cape Fear River, whilst the balance of it operates on the outside. Land forces cannot invest Fort Fisher, or cut it off from supplies or re-enforcements, whilst the river is in possession of the enemy. A siege train will be loaded on vessels and sent to Fort Monroe, in readiness to be sent to you if required. All other supplies can be drawn from Beaufort as you need them. Keep the fleet of vessels with you until your position is assured. When you find they can be spared order them back, or such of them as you can spare, to Fort Monroe, to report for orders. In case of failure to effect a landing bring your command back to Beaufort, and report to these headquarters for further instructions. You will not debark at Beaufort until so directed. General Sheridan has been ordered to send a division of troops to Baltimore and place them on sea-going vessels. These troops will be brought to Fort Monroe, and kept there on the vessels until you are heard from. Should you require them they will be sent to you.
U. S. GRANT,