I will be under many obligations if you will send scouting parties out on the road from Wilmington to meet and aid them to their destination, on their arrival with you.
O. O. HOWARD,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, ARMY OF THE OHIO,
New Berne, N. C., March 15, 1865.
Brigadier General H. W. BIRGE,
Commanding Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs that you have that portion of your command now in this place in readiness to take the field without delay. Orders calling them to the front may be received at any moment. He also desires that you have the Third Brigade of your division, now at Morehead, supplied with everything necessary to fit them for active field service, in order that they may be ready to take the field when their services are no longer required at Morehead.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. W. SCHOFIELD,
Brevet Brigadier-General, in Charge of Headquarters.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, twelve miles from Fayetteville, N. C.,
Raleigh road, March 15, 1865.
Major General Q. A. GILLMORE,
Commanding Department of the South, Charleston:
GENERAL: I got a file of Northern papers yesterday from Wilmington, in which I observe you are in command of the Department of the South. I have had no official communications from the War Department or General Grant since my departure from Savannah, and am compelled to pick up information the best way I can. I wrote to General Foster from Fayetteville, supposing him to be in command of the department, and hope you got the letter, and it is a fear that its contents may not reach you promptly which induces me to write this. When at Columbia I had the railroad broken down to Kingsville and the Wateree bridge. Subsequently from Cheraw I aimed to strike Florence, but sent too weak a party, but the enemy himself has destroyed of which is all important, and it should be done before any repairs can be made whereby they can be removed. I want it done at once, and leave you to devise the way. I think 2,500 men lightly equipped with pack-mules only, could reach the road either from Georgetown or the Santee bridge. I think also that you can easily make up that force from Savannah and Charleston. As to the garrisons of those cities, I don't feel disposed to be over generous, and should not hesitate to burn Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington, or either of them if the garrisons were needed. Savannah and Wilmington are the only really useful ports, because of their inland rivers. Still, I suppose you can always get garrisons of sick, disabled, or indifferent