mount replaced the one lost by the fire of the enemy. Meantime, on the right Colonel Devens having, in pursuance of his orders, arrived at the position indicated by the scouts as the site of the enemy's camp, found that the scouts had been deceived by the uncertain light, and had mistaken openings in the trees for a row of tents. He found, however, a wood, in which he concealed his force from view, and proceeded to examine the space between that and Leesburg, sending back to report that thus far he could see no enemy. Immediately on receipt of this intelligence (brought me by Lieutenant Howe, regimental quartermaster, who, had accomplished both the parties), I ordered a non-commissioned officer and 10 cavalry to join Colonel Devens, for the purpose of scouring the country near him while engaged in his reconnaissance and driving due notice of the approach of any force, and that Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, with his battalion of the Fifteenth Massachusetts, should move on to Smart's Mill, half a mile to the fight of the crossing place of Colonels Devens and Lee, where, in a strong position, he could watch and protect the flank of Colonel Devens in his return, and secure a second crossing place more favorable than the first, and connected by a good road with Leesburg.
Captain Candy, assistant adjutant-general on General Lander's staff, who did me the honor to serve through the day on mine, accompanied the cavalry, to serve with it..
For some reason never explained to me, neither of these orders was carried out. The cavalry were transferred to the Virginia shore, but were sent back without having left the shore to go inland, and thus Colonel Devens was deprived of the means of obtaining warning of any approach of the enemy. The battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel Ward was detained on the bluff in rear of Colonel Devens, instead of being directed to the right.
Colonel Baker, having arrived at Conrad's Ferry with the First california regiment at an early hour in the morning, reported in person to me at Edwards Ferry, stating that the regiment was at its assigned post, the remainder of his brigade under arms ready to march, and asking for orders. I decided to send him to Harrison's Island to assume command, and in a full conversation with him explained the position of things as they stood according to reports received; told him that General McCall had advanced his troops to Dranesville, and that I was extremely desirous of ascertaining the exact position and force of the enemy in our front, and exploring as far s it was safe on the right towards Leesburg and on the left towards the Leesburg and Gum Spring road; that I should continue to re-enforce the troops under General Gorman opposite Edwards Ferry, and try to push them carefully forward to discover the best line that ferry to the Leesburg and Gum Spring road already mentioned, and pointed out to him out to him the position of the breastworks and hidden battery which barred the movement of troops directly from left to right. I detailed to him the means of transportation across the river, of the sufficiency of which he was to be the judge; authorized him to make use of the guns of a section each of Vaughan's and Bunting's batteries, together with French's mountain howitzers, all the troops of his brigade and Cogswell's Tammany regiment, besides the Nineteenth and part of the Twentieth Regiments Massachusetts Volunteers, and left it to part his discretion, after viewing the ground, to retire the troops from the Virginia shore under the cover of his guns and the fire of the large infantry force, or to pass over re-enforcements in case he found it practicable and the position on the other side strong and favorable; that I wished no advance made