my mind and of the means under my control. I would unhesitatingly undertake to execute the plan with confidence of certain and complete success. But it is not right that I should be placed in the way of commanders who have the prestige of success, and thus deprive them and the enterprise of the benefits which would reasonably arise therefrom. If it is to be done, it should be done quickly. Not one moment should be lost. I respectfully recommend that no telegraphic communication be had upon this subject over the Peninsula line until the object is either consummated or abandoned.
Most respectfully, general, I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,
ROB. M. WEST,
Yorktown, VA., February 3, 1864.
Major General B. F. BUTLER,
Commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina:
GENERAL: Your note of this morning by Major Haggerty is received. In saying Friday in my telegraph, I meant to concentrate on that evening at the lines, to march thence on Saturday at 10 a. m., and strike the blow at R[ichmond] on Sunday morning at 6 a. m. If General Meade co-operates, he should be moving at this moment. If he has no accumulation of supplies at his front, and he probably has not, it will take him some time to make an earnest movement, and a detected and understood feint is worse than nothing. I have, however, made my calculation without expecting anything from him, and whatever he may do will be a gain. About 6,000 men went south through Richmond at the end of the week before last, and on last Monday week 2,000 others, coming from the south, passed through Richmond to replace them. Those 6,000 men, with what have been drawn from the Appomattox line and Blackwater, and possibly a few previously in observation in front of New Berne, are, I suspect, about what is in front of General Palmer. One brigade at least of Pickett's is at Chaffin's farm, and part or the whole of another is at Richmond and Hanover Junction. His artillery is at Chaffin's and Richmond, and perhaps Petersburg. I know of some at both the two first-named places. It is a great risk to send men to cut the telegraph, lest if taken they should confess, in their ignorance, under the supposition that it would exonerate them from the character of spies. If they did, the enemy could draw but one inference. I think, however, I can find two to send, unknown to each other. They will start to-morrow night. How are we to know whether they cut it properly or not? Of course they will say so. I mean in reference to the payment of reward, for I shall act as though I knew the telegraph to by unharmed. My surgeon-in-chief has telegraphed for twenty new stretchers, which I hope will come on to-morrow's (Thursday's) boat.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. J. WISTAR,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
Fort Monroe, Va., February 3, 1864.
Commanding Expeditionary Division, Yorktown, Va.:
MY DEAR GENERAL: Your of this morning's boat is received. Find more than one man who can cut telegraph wire, and offer each a larger