No. 9. Report of Captain Joseph K. Stearns, First New York Cavalry.
CAMP KEARNY, VA., March 15, 1862.
SIR: I hasten to lay before you a report of the movements of the squadron (Companies A and H) of the First New York (Lincoln) Cavalry while attached to your brigade during your advance to Centerville and Manassas. Leaving our camp at 3 p.m. Thursday, the 6th instant, I joined your column of the Little River turnpike, furnishing the advance guard, commanded by myself, and the rear guard in charge of Lieutenant Thomson. On the march that day and evening my command was constantly employed in scouting, bearing orders, &c. At 4 o'clock a.m. of Friday I reached Burke's Station, and was assigned my camping ground. Shortly after daylight my entire squadron was drafted away in squads of from five to twenty men each to act as vedettes and scouts in the vicinity of Burke's Station, and to operate with the various infantry regiments of your brigade, being subject to the orders of their several colonels.
On Saturday Captain Jones, with 15 men, accompanied yourself on an extended visit to all the pickets and sentries of your command. This detachment, accompanied by yourself, also made an extended reconnaissance along the line of railroad towards Fairfax Station. The remainder of my command, in charge of myself, Lieutenants Hidden, Alexander, and Thomson, was detached in small parties reconnoitering and acting with the different regiments of your brigade. On Sunday morning the usual number of pickets and orderlies was furnished by me and duly posted. At 10 o'clock Lieutenant Alexander with 20 men was dispatched on scouting service towards the Occoquan. His report is forwarded herewith. At the same time Captain Jones, myself, Lieutenants Hidden and Thomson reported with 20 men to yourself. Lieutenants Hidden and Thomson were dispatched to the different picket stations to obtain more mounted men, and shortly after reported to you at Fairfax Station with an additional force of 30 men.
At this point Lieutenant Alexander also reported from his scouting expedition, thus increasing my command to 70 men. While awaiting the arrival of the infantry my young officers were dispatched with men in every direction to look for the enemy, who was known to be near us. When the infantry came up, myself, Captain Jones, and Lieutenant Thomson were sent with 25 men to scour the woods around Payne's Church as far as the old Braddock road. Lieutenants Hidden and Alexander accompanied you to Sangster's Station, as detailed in Lieutenant Alexander's report. From Payne's Church I dispatched Lieutenant Thomson to you with a report of my movements. I subsequently received orders from you to advance to Fairfax Court-House, in company with a detachment of infantry, and soon arrived at that place, approaching it cautiously, to find that it had been evacuated by the enemy but a short time before. Shortly afterward I returned to Fairfax Station, arriving there at dark, and received orders to occupy Payne's Church for the night. I was here joined by Lieutenants Alexander and Thomson and their detachments. I here learned of the glorious death of Lieutenant Hidden, of my company. He was a splendid officer and a courteous gentleman, whose loss is deeply regretted by all who knew him, but by none more than myself.
On Monday morning I was forced to return to Burke's Station with