HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Bottom's Bridge, Va., May 21, 1862-6.45 a.m.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that at daylight this morning Colonel Russell pushed one of his companies across at Bottom's Bridge. His companies on the railroad have also thrown a picket over at that point. He has at the former, besides his own four companies, a regiment to support him. He reports that during the night he partially laid the railroad bridge, so that infantry can pass, and that he can soon repair Bottom's Bridge.
I have already telegraphed to you for instruction in the matter of building the bridges. I can, if it is thought advisable, thrown over a considerable force, but will not make any further advance movement until receiving instructions.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. KEYES,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Corps.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.
P. S.-Colonel Gregg writes that his pickets also have crossed at Bottom's Bridge; that he has taken a deserter. He has not yet arrived, however, and I do not delay sending this to take his examination.
E. D. K.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH CORPS,
Camp near Bottom's Bridge, Va., May 21, 1862.
SIR: In compliance with your instructions of the 19th instant, I detached a brigade of Couch's division, two batteries, and Colonel Gregg's cavalry to assist Lieutenants Comstock and McAlester in a reconnaissance in the vicinity of Bottom's Bridge. Brigadier-General Peck, who commanded the party, carried out his instructions literally as far as practicable as his report, herewith inclosed, will show.
On the 19th instant, I had given orders to Generals Couch and Casey to examine their positions thoroughly, Casey to examine particularly in a northerly and northwesterly direction. Under that order General Casey left yesterday morning with Naglee's brigade and two batteries by a road leading toward the railroad in a direction nearly perpendicular to the road to Bottom's Bridge. Fearing a clash, I gave precise verbal and written orders to General Casey to expose no part of his forces to the view of the enemy at or near Bottom's Bridge. As soon as I had finished examining some contrabands I hastened to the front, and took post between the railroad and the bottom's Bridge road on an elevation within 600 yards of the railroad bridge. From that point I could see the enemy across the railroad bridge and all that was passing this side of Bottom's Bridge. I remained there in observation between two and three hours. The enemy threw five or six shells before any of our artillery replied at all.
As my orders to General Casey were so explicit, I did not for a moment suspect that the two regiments and section of a battery down from my left belonged to his division, and I was so well pleased with their movements that I found no occasion to send any orders, though I was only a few hundred yards away. Finally one of Casey's batteries, which had been standing on the hill about 150 yards to my rear, opened, throwing shells over the woods near Bottom's Bridge. I went