Abstract from returns of the Department of the South, Major General John G. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding, for January 31, 1865.
[Compiled mainly from subordinate returns.]
Present for duty
Command Officers Men Aggregate
General headquarters 64 80 125
1st New York Engineers 7 557 585
First Separate Brigade 59 2,340 3,374
Second Separate Brigade 28 946 1,244
Third Separate Brigade (Brown) 69 2,024 2,711
Fourth Separate Brigade 40 1,330 1,680
District of Savannah (Grover) 135 3,981 4,832
District of North Carolina 239 6,423 8,356
Total* 641 17,681 22,907
Pieces of Artillery
Command Aggregate Heavy Field
General headquarters 151 . . . . . . .
. . . .
1st New York Engineers 600 . . . . . . .
(battalion, Place) . . . .
First Separate Brigade 6,543 12 12
Second Separate Brigade (Potter) 1,947 . . . 2
Third Separate Brigade (Brown) 3,285 . . . . . . .
. . . .
Fourth Separate Brigade 3,999 . . . . . . .
(Scammon) . . . .
District of Savannah (Grover) 9,038 . . . . . . .
. . . .
District of North Carolina 12,387 101 68
Total* 37,950 113 82
CITY POINT, VA., February 1, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
Without much expectation of its reaching you in time to be of any service, I have mailed to you copies of instructions to Schofield and Thomas. + I have informed Schofield by telegraph of the departure of Mahone's division south from the Petersburg front. The troops marched down the Weldon road, and as they apparently went without baggage, it is doubtful whether they have not returned. I was absent from here when they left. Just returned yesterday morning from Cape Fear River. I went there to determine where Schofield's corps had better go to operate against Wilmington and Goldsborough. The instructions with this will inform you of the conclusion arrived at. Schofield was with me and the plan of the movement against Wilmington fully determined before we started back; hence the absence of more detailed instructions to him. He will land one division at Smithville and move rapidly up the south side of the river and secure the Wilmington and Goldsborough Railroad, and with his pontoon train cross into the island south of the city if he can. With the aid of the gunboats there is no doubt but this move will drive the enemy from their position, eight miles east of the city, either back to their inner line or away altogether. There will be a large force on the north bank of Cape Fear ready to follow up and resist the garrison if they should go inside. The railroads of North Carolina are four feet eight inches and a half gauge. I have sent large parties of railroad men there to build them up, and have ordered stock to run them. We have abundance of it idle from the non-use of the Virginia roads. I have taken every precaution to have supplies ready for you wherever you may turn up. I did this before, when you left Atlanta, and regret that they did not reach you promptly when you arrived at salt-water. The fact is, Foster, from physical disability, is entirely unfit for his command. I
*Of the present for duty, here reported, 195 officers and 3,866 men constituted the Coast Division, commanded by Brigadier General John P. Hatch.
+For Grant to Schofield, January 31, 1865, see p. 189, and for Grant to Thomas, January 31, 1865, see Vol. XLIX, Part I.
13 R R-VOL XLIVII, PT II