War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 1290 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

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NORTH ATLANTIC SQUADRON, U. S. FLAG-SHIP MALVERN,

Hampton Roads, December 13, 1864.

Major General B. F. BUTLER,

Commanding, &c., Fortress Monroe, Va.:

GENERAL: The rest of the fleet will leave here in three hours and will proceed to the rendezvous twenty-five miles east of Cape Fear River. The powder vessel will go to Beaufort and take ninety tons of powder I had there. I shall follow and communicate with you after she leaves Beaufort for her destruction. I think the Louisiana will carry the 300 tons. She has now 200 on board, and room for 200 more, though that would sink her too deep. She has delayed us a little, and our movements had to depend on her.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

DAVID D. PORTER,

Rear-Admiral.

[42.]

NORTH ATLANTIC SQUADRON, U. S. FLAG-SHIP MALVERN,

Off Beaufort, N. C., December 16, 1864.

Major General B. F. BUTLER,

Commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina:

GENERAL: I take advantage of the tug Du Point going out to write you a few lines. I think all the vessels leave here tomorrow morning for the rendezvous, and if the weather permits I think we will be able to blow up the vessel by the next night. In talking with engineers some of them suggested that even at twenty-five miles the explosion might affect the boilers of steamers and make them explode if heavy steam was carried, and I would advise that before the explosion takes place, of which you will be duly notified, the steam be run down as low as possible and the fires drawn. I hear that the rebels have only a small garrison at the forest at New Inlet. I don't know how true it is.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

DAVID D. PORTER,

Rear-Admiral.

[42.]

NORTH ATLANTIC SQUADRON, U. S. FLAG-SHIP MALVERN,

At sea, December 18, 1864.

Major General B. F. BUTLER,

Commanding, &c., Steamer Ben. De Ford:

GENERAL: The powder vessel Louisiana has gone in to attempt the explosion. The weather looks threatening. The wind may haul to the west, but it is not likely. The barometer is high yet, though the weather does not please me. In case of an easterly gale my vessels will rendezvous under Cape Lookout, where yours also will find perfect shelter. In case you land at Masonborough Inlet, which you can only do with northwesterly or westerly winds, will you not want vessels to cover you? I have vessels detailed to cover all landing parties. The powder vessel is as complete as human ingenuity can make her. Has 235 tons of powder - all I could get - though she would not have carried much more. I propose standing in the moment the explosion takes place, and open fire with some of the vessels at night to prevent the enemy repairing damages, if he has any. We have an army signal officer on board, and if you have one we can communicate freely.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

DAVID D. PORTER,

Rear-Admiral.

[42.]