War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 0191 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- UNION.

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the river, either pass or attack our iron-clads, and attempt the destruction of City Point. It was known in Richmond that we had two monitors up the river, but it was supposed their vessels would be strong enough for the attempt, it being claimed that now, in the absence of the larger part of our iron, was the opportunity for their own; that upon the return of our iron-clads, theirs would be permanently shut up in the upper part of the James River; and that even if the movement resulted in the loss of their vessels, it could be no worse than what would eventually be the case, and might inflict incalculable damage to us. There is no doubt that the order was given on Tuesday, but why it was not carried out was not explained.

JNO. A. RAWLINS,

Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.

(Substance of this was sent to Captain Parker. He was advised to take the necessary precautionary measures.)

WASHINGTON, January 21, 1865.

Colonel E. S. PARKER,

City Point:

Please make order in case of Major General Lewis Wallace. The papers are on the table.

T. S. BOWERS.

JANUARY 21, 1865.

Major General GEORGE G. MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

By the Chickahominy route we have news from Richmond, through our agent who left there yesterday afternoon. Our friends in Richmond send us word that the late freshest in the James River had so weakened and partially removed the obstructions placed therein that it was considered possible for the rebel gun-boats to pass them. An order was issued on Tuesday last that their fleet should go down the river, either pass or attack our iron-clads, and attempt the destruction of City Point. It was known in Richmond that we had two monitors up the river, but it was supposed that their vessels be numerous or strong enough for the attempt, it being claimed that now, in the absence of the larger part of our iron fleet, was the opportunity for their own; that upon the return of our iron-clads theirs would be permanently shut up in the upper James, and that even if the movement resulted in the loss of their vessels it could be no worse than what would eventually be the case, and might inflict incalculable damage upon us. Our friends say that the order was unquestionably given on Tuesday; why it did not taken effect they are unable to say. It was understood in Richmond that on Wednesday evening General Bragg telegraphed that Forts Caswell and Holmes must fall if not soon re-enforced, and on Thursday morning a brigade was sent south to General Bragg. The brigade was not a large one, and was believed, but without any certainly, to be from Pickett's division. It was said they could not afford to weaken their lines by sending any more troops. This, at all events, is the only movements of troops from our front which is known to have taken place in Richmond since the last report. Our news from Richmond is partly verbal, partly written, and partly in