it could be held, and I was just on the point of making a visit to Lieutenant-General Grant for the purpose of obtaining a small additional force, say four regiments of infantry, for the purpose of capturing and holding that town until I could put the railroad in order from that place to this, as I have calculated that you would certainly very soon send a force through North Carolina, when it will be all important for you to have your communication with the coast complete.
Now, general, I take it for granted that you will approve of my sending direct to General Grant to ask for this additional force, and to beg of him to send here as soon as possible the necessary material and men to finish the road from here to Kinston; consequently I shall do so.
In the meantime, however, I shall organize as quietly as possible as strong a force as I can, for the purpose of capturing Kinston, and if you think the attempt had better be made whether we can hold it or not, it shall be done.
I do not know whether the rebels can spare any troops to re-enforce Kinston at this time, but in all former expeditions to that place we have found that they could quickly pour down from Goldsborough a force far superior in numbers to any we could bring against them.
I have no means of ascertaining what is now in Goldsborough, but it is my impression that all the force they could possibly spare has been sent toward Wilmington. As our army and fleet will in all probability capture Wilmington in a few days, if they have not already done so, it will have the effect to liberate a large number of their troops that can readily move up the railroad toward Kinston, and not only drive out any small force I might have there, but also menace New Berne itself. I only mention this matter as something to consider in my calculations. I hope that some regular means of communication with you will be established without delay. Will you please recollect that I have no boats that I can send, and I am entirely dependent upon the Navy for means of communication.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. N. PALMER,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Savannah, January 18, 1865.
Honorable Simeon DRAPER,
Special Agent of the Treasury Department, Savannah, Ga.:
SIR: I am directed by Major-General Sherman to acknowledge your letter of the 17th instant, inclosing a communication from the mayor or the city with reference to the rice captured in this city. General Sherman desires me to day that the subject of your letter will be at once referred to General Beckwith, his Chief commissary, who has charge of this whole matter. He thinks it probable, however, that it will be found necessary to retain all the rice in the hands of the Army, in order to supply the wants of the soldiers and other persons dependent on us for subsistence, and therefore he prefers that no part of it should be taken possession of by the Treasury Department.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.