I directed Howard move on Pocotaligo as soon as he can be well prepared but to not hurry matters at the expense or endangering of success.
I received a letter from New Berne:
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA, New Berne, N. C., January 13, 1865
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Savannah, Ga.:
I have just sent a letter to Admiral Porter, giving him the information you ask for in your letter to Admiral Dahlgren of the 7th instant. When you get into this State, where I think you will be joyfully received by the mass of the population, I hope to be able to assist in some way. My force in this district is some 9,000 and of these scarcely more than 6,000 effective. Everything that could be spared was sent to Virginia. I can worry the rebels on the railroad between Wilmington and Goldsborough, if you think that advisable. Do you wish that road destroyed? I have 1,000,000 rounds of small ammunition and a good supply of other. When you get near me I can furnish you supplies. Please suggest to me, if you have time to do so, what you would like to have me do and what preparations you would like to have me make here for you. If you wish the railroad put in order I must have iron and workmen, &c. If you are going to need supplies I must prepare for that, and if more cars or engines, or more river transportation, &c., is to be needed I would like to know it. I hope you will find time to write to me. We are all throwing up our hats for Sherman and his Army, and the whole country is rubbing its hands over you.
Ever sincerely yours,
I. N. PALMER, Brigadier-General