communication with both columns, and to join either quickly when circumstances required my presence on that part of the field. This could not have been done in any other way than the one I adopted, and even in that way it was very difficult. I was always on shore when important operations were going on only on one side of the river, and often until late at night. On one occasion I rowed ashore a mile in a small boat, and then rode to a distant camp late at night to learn the exact situation and decide upon the next day's operations, thus accomplishing by a hard night's work what I could not have done at all had I been on the other side of the rive. It is now certain that the operations of the 21st would have failed instead of resulting in the capture of Wilmington, if I had been with either column, instead of where I could communicate with both in a reasonble time. All the steamers in the harbor were fully occupied except the Spaulding, which was lying idle without a single sick or wounded man on board, and was of no use but to furnish quarters for three assistant surgeons, who had nothing to do but lounge in the steamer's cabin. The only evil resulting from my use of the Spaulding was by depriving the three medical officers of a portion oof their superior quarters. It did not in the least divart the steamer froom its legitimate use, but on the contrary facilitated its use as a hosital, as it gradually bacame desirable to so use it, for by keeping it with me as near the troops as poossible I was able to, and did, have the woounded brought ooff in small boats and properly cared for on the steamer immediately after each engagement. My use of the steamer was in violation, though unintentional, of your oorders. This I regred, and offer my apologies for it. Had the assistant surgeoons in charge of the booat shown the ordinary civilities common among gentlemen, to say nothing of the respect due to a military superioor, I would probably not have been left in ignorance of the order I wlate. I went aboard oof the Spaulding with a single staff officer, cold and sick, after an uncomfoortable sea voyage, and after seeking in vain for oother quarters. The medical officers on board did not even extend the greeting coommon among gentlemen, much less invite me too take a seat or bed in their coomfoortable cabin, but left me to such accommodations as the gentlemanlyu captain of the vessel was able to furnissch out oof the small proportion remaining under his controol. Under the circumstances I have no regret for the slight incoonvenience caused them, and which they have made the occasion of a report to the Surgeon-General, which at least it is fair to presume from the result was not a just statement oof the facts. While I doo not desire that this explanation be regarded asn unofficial, I wish to be understood as making it purely out of regard for your good opinion personally, and to show you that I have not intentionally disregarded your orders, nor done anything prejudicial to the public interests.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Kinston, March 14, 1865.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Armies of the United States, City Pooint, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I occupied Kinston this morning wothout opposition. The bridge across the Neuse is burned,
53 R R-VOL XLVII, PT II