War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0504 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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side of the river. No fortifications were seen. The range of vision was limited, however, by the falling snow. At the corner near Mrs. Violet's house a cavalry picket post was discovered, but the pickets had fled up the old Ox road. They found a good common tent there, in which the pickets had sheltered themselves. They destroyed the tent, as they were too much exhausted to bring it away with them. With the exception of his, no picket post was seen.

Captain Lowing was informed at Barker's that the enemy kept a picket post at the saw-mill between Barker's and Burke's Station. I am inclined to believe that the old Ox road is picketed by cavalry from Fairfax Station to Mrs. Violet's, though I have no certain information of the fact.

On the return, four of Captain Lowing's men becoming so exhausted that they could travel no farther, he directed search to be made for horses on which to mount them. He found two horses in a barn near a deserted house. The owner of the horses could not be ascertained, so he took these horses and mounted the exhausted men on them, and they rode them in. He now inquires as to what disposition he shall make of the horses-whether to hand them over to the brigade quartermaster or to return them to the place from whence taken.

Just before Captain Lowing returned, and when he was in the neighborhood of Pohick Church, heavy firing of musketry was distinctly heard in the direction of Parker's, on the Pohick road. The firing lasted several minutes. I am inclined to think that it was between two detachments of the enemy, and who met at the cross-roads, probably mistaking each other for Captain Lowing's party. I shall request the officer who relieves me to ascertain if possible the cause of this firing.

I strongly second the views of Captain Moses in relation to pushing the right of our line of pickets out to the Springfield road. The advantages are, it gives a stronger line of posts, is more easily and more securely picketed, while in the rear, along the whole line nearly, is strong ground for the pickets to fall back upon if forced from their position. It will taken fewer men, thus giving stronger reserves at the threatened points.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

S. G. CHAMPLIN,

Colonel, Commanding Third Michigan Volunteers.

ISAAC MOSES, Assistant Adjutant-General.

FEBRUARY 7, 1862.-Expedition to Flint Hill and Hunter's Mill, Va.

REPORTS.

No. 1.-Captain L. D. H. Currie, assistant adjutant-general, U. S. Army.

No. 2.-Major Joseph L. Moss, Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

No. 3.-Captain John O'Farrell, Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

No. 1. Report of Captain L. D. H. Currie, Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. A.

HEADQUARTERS SMITH'S DIVISION,

Camp Griffin, Va., February 8, 1862.

GENERAL: In pursuance of your orders I proceeded yesterday morning with the cavalry, consisting of five squadrons, under command of