O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIII [S# 60]
FEBRUARY 6-8, 1864.--Expedition from Yorktown against Richmond, Va. ...
No. 1.--Reports of Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, U.S. Army, commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina.
FORT MONROE, February 8, 1864--10.55 p.m.]
(Received 11 p.m.)
I have sent the following telegram to the President, and I duplicate to you in order that you may urge my request upon him:
Hon. ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
After much preparation I made a raid on Richmond to release our prisoners there. Everything worked precisely as I expected. The troops reached Bottom's Bridge, 10 miles from Richmond, at 2.30 o'clock on Sunday morning, but we found a force of the enemy posted there to meet us, evidently informed of our intention, none having been there before for two months. They had destroyed the bridge and fallen trees across the road to prevent the passing of the cavalry. Finding the enemy were informed and prepared, we were obliged to retire. The flag-of-truce boat came down from Richmond to-day, bringing a copy of the Examiner, in which it is said that they were prepared for us from information received from a Yankee deserter. Who that deserter was that gave the information you will see by a dispatch just received by me from General Wistar. I send it to you that you may see how your clemency has been misplaced. I desire that you will revoke your order suspending executions in this department. Please answer by telegraph.
Dispatch received from General Wistar:
FORT MAGRUDER, February 8, 1864.
Private William Boyle, New York Mounted Rifles, under sentence of death for murder of Lieutenant Disosway, was allowed to escape by Private Abraham, of One hundred and thirty-ninth New York, the sentinel over him, four days previous to my movement. It is said he also told him that large numbers of cavalry and infantry were concentrated here to take Richmond. During my absence the commander here has learned that Boyle reached Richmond, and was arrested and placed in Castle Thunder. Boyle would have been hung long ago but for the President's order suspending till further orders the execution of capital sentences. Abrams is in close custody. Charges against him went forward a week ago.
I. J. WISTAR,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
SECRETARY OF WAR.