have just telegraphed to General Beauregard at Charleston, asking him to spare you the services of Major John Johnson, engineer, at least temporarily. He is an officer of high merit, and has had experience on the defenses of Charleston and elsewhere. In the meantime I trust that Captain W. H. James, of the engineers, heretofore charged with the engineer operations at Wilmington, and believed by this bureau to be an officer of intelligence and energy, can perform the varied and important duties referred to by you.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. GILMER,
Major-General and Chief of Bureau.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
January 4, 1865.
Order Corse's brigade to move so as to cross the pontoon bridge before daybreak to-morrow morning and report to Major-General Kershaw.
HEADQUARTERS JOHNSON'S DIVISION,
January 4, 1865.
MAJOR: I have nothing of interest to report this morning. Two men deserted to the enemy from Elliott's brigade last night. The following casualties have occurred during past twenty-four hours: Elliott's brigade, one wounded.
B. R. JOHNSON,
Wilmington, January 4, 1865.
His Excellency Governor VANCE,
SIR: While our recollection of Christmas day and Fort Fisher is fresh, let me beg your aid and co-operation in getting immediately as large a force of free negroes as possible. I need labor always, now especially. We must not let our last place go for want of work; still less, because we have foiled the enemy's first effort, must we fold our arms and say enough has been done. In every department i need free laboring force. I am earnestly desirous of releasing all slaves, especially in view of the complaints I learn relative to clothing them. That is not my fault. I have done all in my power to provide clothing for negroes, even to overstepping the limits of my authority. It has been literally due to want of money and material. Still, the reports are greatly exaggerated, for many negroes have been sent here totally unprovided, in the first instance, by their masters. But at all times I am unwilling to impress.