War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0761 Chapter XIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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South Branches of the Shenandoah burned Friday night. Turnpike bridges on Front Royal road over Shenandoah and North Branch also destroyed.

D. D. PERKINS,

Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS HOOKER'S DIVISION,

Camp Baker, Lower Potomac, Maryland, March 16, 1862.

Brigadier General D. E. SICKLES, Commanding Second Brigade:

The enemy have a cavalry force of about 180 men stationed nearly opposite you and about 3 miles back from the Potomac. This is their headquarters, and from there are sent out pickets along the river and road in the direction of Dumfries. It is desirable to destroy or capture this force, and the brigadier-general commanding requests that you will have five companies detailed from your command, under an intelligent and discreet officer, to attack and destroy that picket to-night. Let the preparation and execution be made with the utmost secrecy. An excellent guide, a negro, whose house is in that vicinity, can conduct the command to the point without observation. He will be sent to report to you to-day. You will require a light-draught steamer, and I have none to send you. You will have to call on Lieutenant Magaw for a tug, and if that cannot be obtained, the expedition will be deferred. After conferring with that officer you may find it advisable to take over a scow and a barge to facilitate the landing, and should the party capture horses, it will be of great service in embarking them.

Instruct the officer charged with the execution of this to march with his command well in hand, his advance guard and flankers well thrown out, and under no circumstance permit an officer, non-commissioned officer, or private to quit the ranks without authority. They will move out and return with dispatch, bringing away or destroying all the stores of the rebels. Forbid by the most stringent orders the destruction of all private property.

Very respectfully, & c.,

JOS. DICKINSON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

BUDD'S FERRY, March 16, 1862.

Major General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN:

My latest advices from Aquia are of the 14th. To that time it was not known that the rebels had abandoned any of their batteries or withdrawn any of their supports, nor had any additions been made to the defenses or the force. There were three batteries, numbering seven pieces - three on the water and four on the high ground in the rear. Vessels of the flotilla are down in that vicinity now. I have already sent for later information. Will forward it when it comes in.

JOSEPH HOOKER,

Brigadier-General.

BUDD'S FERRY, March 16, 1862.

Major-General MCCLELLAN:

Have just received the last reports from Aquia. The impression of officers belonging to the flotilla is that some heavy guns at Aquia have.