HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., January 29, 1865.
Brigadier General E. P. SCAMMON,
Commanding District of Florida, Jacksonville, Fla.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your report of the 27th instant giving details of an engagement of a small party of the Seventy-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry with a cavalry force of the enemy. The Major-general commanding directs me to say that he regrets exceedingly that so small a force should have been sent. He requests that hereafter no party be sent out less than 1,000 strong, except when scouts are sent to ascertain the position of the enemy. The general also regrets that Colonel Tilghman should have sent out such a small force so far into the country for purposes not strictly military. The Thirty-fourth U. S. Colored Troops will be sent to your district as soon as possible. They will have to be taken from active duty with the Coast Division for this purpose. No more cavalry can be sent to your district, as we have none in the department that can be spared. The general desires that as soon as the Thirty-fourth U. S. Colored Troops arrive in your district they be put immediately at work, or a sufficient number of them, on the defenses of the inland cut between Fernandina and the Saint John's River.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. M. BURGER,
NEW BERNE, N. C., January 29, 1865.
Major General J. G. FOSTER:
DEAR FOSTER: Major Gouraud will take the papers, which will show exactly how we stand here. In a letter written to me by Townsend on the 16th he directed me to send all this information to General Sherman, and I did so. Sherman writes me that he has received them, and that they were very complete, the only thing not mentioned being the gauge of our railroad. This gauge is four feet eight and one-half inches, as the superintendent tells me. Major Gouraud will examine this very carefully to-day. Things in North Carolina are in every snug shape. Last spring Butler ordered everything that could be spared from here to go to Virginia. Large quantities of ordnance, or rather small ammunition, is coming here, and we will have to work like beavers to get everything in order for movements from here. It is "in the air" that Sherman is coming through North Carolina. The people generally seem to think this is so, and they are making their preparations accordingly. I shall deceive them as to the programme as far as I can. General Grant has just arrived at Morehead, and he has telegraphed me to come down, and I go down with Gouraud. *
I. N. PALMER.
UNOFFICIAL.] MOREHEAD CITY, N. C.,
Sunday, January 29, 1865.
Major General J. G. FOSTER:
MY DEAR FOSTER: I came here this a.m. to see General Grant. Schofield and General Rawlins, likewise Fox (Navy Department), were
*Some strictly personal matter here omitted.