HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
Fort Monroe, Va., May 2, 1864.
Commanding District of North Carolina:
GENERAL: The report of your action in North Carolina is received and approved, and perhaps it may be pleasant for you to know that it is also approved by the lieutenant-general commanding the army.*The matter of the immense amount of rations I do not understand; I have had no information about it. On the contrary, when it was suggested to Lieutenant-Colonel Biggs by Captain Webster that he was ordered to furnish transportation for the rations, I sent to Washington and understood they were not to be forwarded. However, you must take the best care and in good time and condition. Unless you are taken within the next five days you may be sure we will relieve you from all pressure, and as soon as you find you are relieved I would advise frequent and bold incursions into the enemy's country. The rebel General Ranson is now in command of the defenses of Richmond, and part of Hoke's brigade is on the Blackwater. Beauregard was in Petersburg; is believed to have gone to the Army of Northern Virginia with his forces. Your Second North Carolinians are so demoralized that you had better send them up to Norfolk. I am now about to take the field, and communication may be substantially cut between us, but from the vigor and ability of your administration I have no fears in leaving North Carolina in your hands.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES,
In the Field, Virginia, December 12, 1864.
Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Department:
DEAR SIR: I send you rebel papers of to-day, by which you will perceive they took a look at us in force on the 10th. Hoke's and Field's divisions and part of Kershaw's, all under the personal direction of Longstreet, came down the Darbytown and Charles City roads in the morning, till about 12 m., when they turned, and with skirmishers out, advanced on the Signal Hill and Camp Holly front, with some brigades in line of battle. Our cavalry fell back to their rifle-pits (Colonel West's) and to the Camp Holly work, where a couple of colored companies were thrown forward and held the enemy's skirmishers. At 3 it looked like an attack, but I had ordered Hawley's and Henry's brigades, a colored regiment, and two batteries to the threatened front. They were all in position, and the enemy did not attack. By dark the skirmishing ceased, and under cover of night the enemy withdrew, carrying off their killed (except three) and wounded. Our loss, 7 killed, 23 wounded, 22 missing. We captured 14 prisoners, 2 being officers. Colonel West's cavalry and the colored companies are reported as behaving well. Since then all quiet, though I forgot to mention the rebels attempted to shell Fort Burnham. I shall strengthen Colonel West's little rifle-pits (which proved useful) and the garrisons of Camp Holly and Signal Hill.
E. O. C. ORD,
Major-General of Volunteers.
*Probably April 30, VOL. XXXIII, p. 1031.