War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 0833 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION, March 4, 1865.

Brevet Major-General MERRITT,

Chief of Cavalry:

GENERAL: General Custer has sent a guard of only two men to protect the mill, which is about- miles from here. This guard is not sufficient, and the general directs that you send a stronger force. There is a large quantity of flour there, and two men cannot protect the place. The First Cavalry Division will need more rations than General Custer's, and the flour will have to be issued. The bearer can tell you all about the mill.

Very respectfully,

JAS. W. FORSYTH,

Chief of Staff.

[Indorsement.]

General Custer will comply with the within order at once, sending more men to guard Cochrane's Mill, under a non-commissioned officer.

W. MERRITT,

Brevet Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY, March 4, 1865.

General CUSTER:

It is of the utmost importance that the iron bridge over the Rivanna should be effectually destroyed. As yet nothing has been done toward its destruction. Send an officer or man into town to find powder, if possible, to blow up the piers. A mason with the working party at the bridge told me he could drill holes and blow up the piers in a very short time. It is more important to destroy the bridges than miles of railroad track. Have it done completely. Your provost-guard in town must collect all the negroes and send them to work on the bridge, under the orders of the commanding officer of the regiment there.

Very respectfully,

W. MERRITT,

Brevet Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY, MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION, Charlottesville, Va., March 4, 1865.

Brevet Major-General CUSTER,

Commanding Third Cavalry Division:

GENERAL: The brevet major-general commanding cavalry directs that you send one brigade to-morrow morning to advance in the direction of Gordonsville for a distance of eight or ten miles, and thoroughly destroy all bridges and culverts on the railroad as far out as the brigade advances, and then return so as to reach this place about dark. After this brigade recrosses the bridge have it completely and thoroughly destroyed so that it cannot be repaired. You will also cause a thorough inspection to be made of all the ammunition, and report the loss [if any], expenditure, and deficiencies of the same to these headquarters by 12 m. to-morrow. You will also, as soon as the wagons arrive, cause seven days' rations of coffee, sugar, and salt to be issued to your command, and when issue has been made report the same to these headquarters.

53 R R-VOL XLVI, PT II