River and Columbia turnpikes; the second taking the line of the unfinished railroad, and turning the barricade; the third evading the barricade by taking the fields to the north of the Little River turnpike. The pickets of the Forty-fifth New York Volunteers stationed at the barricade and on the unfinished railroad and elsewhere in the neighborhood are positively alleged not to have fired a shot, in consequence of which the rebel cavalry, having penetrated beyond the barricade, made prisoners of 2 men of the Thirty-second New York Volunteers, belonging to my brigade, posted on the Little River turnpike, who were thus taken by surprise and captured; not, however, before they had discharged their pieces at the enemy. The rebel cavalry turned immediately and retreated at full speed, passing the barricade, &c., and I regret to report the pickets of the Forty-fifth again omitted to fire.
Lieutenant-Colonel Pinto, knowing that a patrol of 79 men of the Lincoln Cavalry had passed that morning towards Fairfax Court-House, led a company from his pickets to their support, finding them at Annandale shortly after his arrival there. The enemy in their retreat had passed through Annandale before our cavalry arrived there on their return and thus a meeting of the hostile cavalry forces did not take place.
Lieutenant-Colonel Pinto, after due inquiry, places our loss as follows: Two privates of the Thirty-second New York Volunteers, belonging to my brigade, captured 300 yards this side of the barricade; several men of the Forty-fifth New York Volunteers, of General Blenker's division, taken at the barricade, and additional losses along the line of Blenker's pickets; the total being 14 prisoners and 1 killed. The enemy's loss he puts at 3 killed and 2 prisoners.
Colonel Pinto reports a very free use of liquor in the pickets of the Forty-fifth New York Volunteers.
I have only to add that Colonel Pinto seems to have behaved with great coolness, decision, and prudence in the emergency, and that his conduct merits my approbation.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
Captain E. SPARROW PURDY,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Division Headquarters.
DECEMBER 6, 1861. - Expedition to Gunnell's Farm, near Dranesville, Va.
Report of Brigadier General George A. McCall, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS McCALL'S DIVISION, Camp Peirpoint, Va., December 6, 1861.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I ordered General Meade's brigade, with Kerns' battery and a squadron of cavalry under Major Jones, to march at 6 o'clock this morning to Gunnell's farm, 2 1/2 miles northeast of Dranesville, with instructions to capture two nephews of Gunnell's and to bring in the forage on his farm. For this latter purpose I put under his charge a train of 57 wagons. General Ord's brigade, with Easton's battery, followed, and halted within supporting distance. Gunnell is a bitter secessionist, and his nephews [Colmans] are bad men. The former is now in the Confederate Army; the latter,