acquainted with the field and sweep of the guns. Fort Magruder contains good water and some accumulation of rations and ammunition; not much of the latter - enough, I think. They should hold out for some days against any moderate force with light guns, and it will take a good while for them to bring down any other kind. If I and my troops meet with an accident, there should be a good officer sent up there till you can re-enforce. I really have no misgivings whatever, but regard such as a most remote possibility. I hope and verily believe that I have forgotten nothing, and that every possible contingency has received consideration. Accidents may mar anything. We may stumble in Richmond on 10,000 men going to or returning from New Berne, but we have a fair right to expect as many accidents for us as again us.
One last request. If you hear favorably from me, will you quiet the anxiety of my wife by a telegraphic line to care of Robert Toland, 1213 Spruce street, Philadelphia.
With renewed and heartfelt thanks for your inform kindness, and not the least of them this opportunity given me, permit me to call myself your attached friend,
I. J. WISTAR.
P. S. - On Sunday morning at 5 o'clock pray for our country and for me.
HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN DEPARTMENT,
Columbus, Ohio, February 17, 1864.
Major General B. F. BUTLER,
Commanding Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, Fort Monroe, Va.:
GENERAL: Having seen in the newspapers some account of an expedition to Bottom's Bridge for the purpose of a raid into Richmond to release our prisoners, I have reflected upon the matter. I beg leave to present the outlines of a plan which has suggested itself to me. At this present time nothing can be done, as the rebels have no doubt collected a sufficient force to meet any small expedition that could be sent. The fright they have had will wear off, and the necessity for re-enforcing Lee's army as the time approaches for active operations will give ample time for our preparations and to mature the plan. It is not necessary that any person beyond the commanding general and the commanders of the land and naval forces should know the destination of the expedition. My plan is to assemble the gun-boats and a fleet of transports at Fort Monroe; leave the latter place after dark and ascend the James River; and a force on the right bank above the Appomattox, either at the first or second bend above, of preferably at the mouths of Kingstland, Proctor's, and Red Water Creeks. The troops would then be less than four miles from the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad. Let them destroy as much of the railroad as can be done in a few hours and then embark and recross the river. The main body I would land at Deep Bottom near Jones' Neck, and within ten miles of Richmond. The roads from here have never been obstructed and probably are not even picketed. The troops, after destroying the railroad, being landed on the left bank of the river, can put themselves immediately in communication by the Kingsland road with those advancing from Deep Bottom, and join them by the Varina or Osborne road and form a reserve. This should be aided by a demonstration up York River and an advance upon Bottom's Bridge. A small force should advance