O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLVI/2 [S# 96]
UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN NORTHERN AND SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA (JANUARY 1-31), WEST VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, AND PENNSYLVANIA, FROM JANUARY 1, 1865, TO MARCH 15, 1865.--#7
JANUARY 18, 1865.
Maj. Gen. GEORGE G. MEADE,
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
Our scouts have just returned from the Chickahominy, where they met an agent who left Richmond yesterday afternoon. Scouts having been interfered with, went yesterday afternoon under the cover of a scouting party, which was entirely successful. We believe that the enemy have a line of communication with the James River by substantially the same route as our own, of which we hope to give more complete information by the end of the week, in order that it may be broken up. Our scouts do not desire to interfere with it, as thereby their own business would be apparent. Our friends in Richmond say that no movement of troops has taken place since last reports of which any evidence could be obtained in Richmond, and they believe that there has been none whatever. The fall of Fort Fisher was known in the city yesterday at 10 o'clock in the morning, and immediately thereafter, and down to the time when our agent left, the rumor was current that Mr. Seddon, the Secretary of War, had resigned. Evacuation is still the common subject of conversation, and is looked forward to, we are told, by all classes of people. One of our correspondents says they have removed one spike factory from Anderson's. These are what are commonly called the Tredegar works, and it is presumed that the same circumstances are alluded to that are reported as having been brought in by a deserter from the Twenty-ninth Virginia, of Corse's brigade, a day or two ago. Our correspondent says, with reference to the state of feeling in regard to evacuation and the failing fortunes of the Government:
There is a steamer prepared on the coast of North Carolina, in some creek, to take off the heads of Government. It is to sail for Nassau, and to go this month, we hear. We shall find out more in a few days.
Our friends tell us that they know well that the principal men in the Government and at Richmond are employing agents to go North, via the Northern Neck, for the purpose of changing everything they have into gold. One Carey, about whom information has been furnished more than once before, has just returned and brought $25,000 in gold for the Government. Government is now borrowing flour, with the promise of returning it at some future time in kind, and whoever has two barrels is obliged to loan one of them to the commissary department. One of our friends, the superintendent of one of the railroads, says that but little progress has been made in the reparation of the Piedmont Railroad; that fifteen days will yet be required to put it in running order; but he and others think that the Government will be able to rub through the present crisis in the want of food until the road is running. Gold was sold yesterday at $107 for $1, and the price of flour was $1,200 a barrel, but there was none to be had. One of our agents says that the torpedo station connected with the torpedoes which are deposited in the James River is in Proctor's Creek, south of Drewry's Bluff; that the wires of all the torpedoes which are laid in the river run in there and unite at the station, which is on the bank of the creek. Our friends think that the station could easily be captured. Our attention is again called to a Colonel Fry, a Union officer, in irons in a cell in Castle Thunder, who is greatly emaciated and is living upon very coarse, scanty fare in a damp cell. It is said that there is a desire to kill him without a public execution, and a verbal message is forwarded through our agent that by the sum of $5,000 in Confederate money his liberation can be effected.
GEO. H. SHARPE.