HEADQUARTERS HOOKER'S DIVISION,
Camp Baker, Lower Potomac, Maryland, October 31, 1861.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: This afternoon Lieutenant-Colonel Getty introduced himself through two of his 10-pounder Parrott guns to the rebel steamer Page. She lay at her moorings, as reported by me on yesterday. Apparently the enemy were not apprised of the presence of our battery until we commenced fire. The first shot seemed to inform them of our object, for the steamer instantly fired up and moved about 100 yards higher up the river, without improving her anchorage. She kept up steam until after we had ceased firing. She must have been nearly 2 miles distant, for our guns could only reach her at an angle of 8 deg. or 9 deg. For line shooting the practice was excellent, and I think established this fact, that it would be extremely hazardous for her to venture out of the river by daylight while our guns are in their present position, for in so doing, in order to pass into the channel of the Potomac, she would have to approach us from one-half to three-fourths of a mile.
The enemy was at work at two of their batteries while our firing was kept up, but with no effect. As it was intended by the major-general commanding that vessels of the fleet should be in the vicinity at the time, I sent word to Commodore Craven of my intention, and he promptly responded by dispatching three or four vessels to co-operate in case an opportunity presented itself. I had previously informed him that with the caliber of my guns I looked for no important result from the experiment.
I have directed one company of the Indiana cavalry to be in readiness to move at daylight to-morrow morning, under the guidance of Captain P. S. Dennis, for the concealed arms. They will probably be absent three days.
I desire to call the attention of the major-general commanding to the mode in which rations are forwarded to my command. They are incomplete. Of the 60,000 rations forwarded by steamer, I find by an examination of the invoices no beans or potatoes included. These are of the regular issues; of the extra issues, no molasses. These omissions were of frequently occurrence while I was at Camp Union.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Washington, October 31, 1861.
Brigadier General J. HOOKER,
GENERAL: The major-general commanding has received your letter of yesterday. He desires that I should communicate to you his approval of the change of location suggested for the earthworks.
The general will take into serious consideration your proposition as to the occupancy of the high ground above the main words of the enemy at Quantico. The scheme will involve considerable additions to your force, and before coming to a final determination upon the subject the general would be glad to have full information as to the ground,