War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0037 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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A full report of the strength and condition of each regiment and detachment of cavalry will be immediately forwarded to these headquarters through the chief of cavalry.

By command of Major-General McClellan:

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS FORT MONROE,

March 25, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON:

Nothing of importance has occurred since yesterday. Brigadier-General Smith's division has arrived. The rebels increasing their force in and around Norfolk. It cannot be less than 20,000.

JOHN E. WOOL,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS PORTER'S DIVISION,

Camp on Southwest Branch Back River, Va., March 25, 1862.

Brigadier General S. P. HEINTZELMAN,

Commanding Third Army Corps:

GENERAL: I did not, as I designed on moving here, post any pickets on the roads upon opposite bank leading toward Big Bethel. I intended to scour the woods with skirmishers, but fearing it might indicate a contemplated movement in that direction I countermanded the order. The river is picketed from the upper to the lower bridge: I do not, however, consider it sufficient, and shall, if not otherwise directed, post a few men to give warning of the advance of an enemy. I am too far distant to be injured by infantry, and trust my artillery will be able to prevent the same arm acting on the other side.

I understand it to be the wish of the major-general commanding that no reconnaissance except in strong force shall be made to the front.

At present I cannot cross the creek with artillery or horse, owing to the want of covering for the bridge, which was asked for to-day.

A report has just reached me that some drummer-boys of the Thirty-eighth New York on a pillaging expedition on the opposite bank were captured by the enemy to-day, and that a company was sent in pursuit. I know not of its foundation, but will trace it and inform you if such be the case.

There has been much straggling from the troops in rear, and before I arrived here houses on the opposite side were ransacked. I have directed that if any one refuses to return on attempting to cross the sentinel shall shoot. Owing to deficiency of transportation I have not yet been able to get up my command.

If you have a cipher I will be much obliged if you will permit me to copy you in the morning about 10 o'clock.

F. H. PORTER,

Brigadier-General.

ALEXANDRIA, March 25, 1862-12.15 p. m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

Steamers do not return from Monroe as they should. Have only means to embark one brigade of Couch's division to-day. I have two