PRIVATE.] HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VA. AND N. C., ARMY OF THE JAMES,
In the Field, Va., January 19, 1865.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT:
GENERAL: I propose, after thinking the matter over about the huge illicit trade reported, to order a military commission, with power to call for papers and persons; have them, after investigating thoroughly, try and sentence parties they may deem guilty. General Gordon, shrewd and fond of such hunting, and Colonel Potter, of the Twelfth New Hampshire, and Major Read, assistant adjutant-general, late of Brooks' staff, I propose as members. I think this report of $100,000 a day food, &c., sent to rebels is a sword with two edges, and if not guarded against may be used by politicians. Butler is not the only one aimed at by it. I propose taking the bull by the horns. If we can fasten the matter upon either Treasury or Benjamin F.'s agents, clap them in the guard house, and the politicians will find they have started the wrong rabbit, with a bushy tail; and as soon as some Treasury scamp is in the guard house or prison they will have to let him out. I write to you in regard to this matter rather than telegraph, for all our telegrams are visaed at Washington. What do you think of my propositions? I am not afraid to try it, and think the commission will do. If you can suggest a better man than Gordon for the leader, please do so. He was, in conversation with me before the second Wilmington expedition started, very emphatic in his statements of what Curtis told him might and ought to have been done by the first expedition.
E. O. C. ORD,
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Numbers 8.
Fort Fisher, January 19, 1865.
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II. Major F. W. Prince, Sixteenth New York Heavy Artillery, is detailed into proceed to Washington, D. C., in charge of the officers captured from the enemy at this point. Upon his arrival at Washington he will report to the provost-marshal of that district, deliver to him the prisoners, taking his receipt thereof, and then return without delay to Fort Monroe with his command, reporting to the quartermaster of that post for transportation to this place.
By order of Major General A. H. Terry:
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION,
January 19, 1865.
Commanding Middle Military Division, Wheeling, Va.:
Scouts in this morning from Woodstock. Nothing new; no changes in rebel pickets. Started party up the valley last night at 5 p. m. Supplied the with the necessary money. They are to go to the place you mentioned to me before you left here. All quiet here. Nothing new to report.
JAS. W. FORSYTH,
Chief of Staff.