I--VOLUME XXXIII [S# 60]
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
(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,
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.