HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Warwick Court-House, Va., April 8, 1862.
Chief of Staff:
SIR: Nothing has occurred during the night worthy of note. General Peck was very busy and brought me valuable information. One of his men swam across to an island, then crossed the island down near James River, and found himself within a hundred yards of Mulberry Island, where he saw the enemy's pickets. He also saw a camp on the spit between Warwick and James Rivers.
For the information of Major-General McClellan I send a copy of my note to General Smith to withdraw his masses from the enemy's shot and shell. Under that order and the remarks of General McClellan General Smith has withdrawn his division some 3 miles away to the right, with the exception of Davidson's brigade, which I fortunately intercepted before it moved. General Smith's orders to Davidson required the withdrawal of all his pickets from the front occupied by Smith's division yesterday. It appears, therefore, that General Smith has entirely mistaken his orders, unless he received orders from General McClellan which I did not hear, General McClellan having only, as I understood him, reiterated my orders that General Smith should withdraw his men not on duty as outguards, &c., to camps far enough to the rear and right to be out of the range of the enemy's shot and shells. I consider all safe, but I have not yet learned the exact position of Smith with his two brigades.
I am doing everything possible to get up supplies, and I have deemed it prudent to send a train to Newport News for small rations, having been informed by Captain Taylor that he has shipped them to that point.
I have directed General Casey to send forward a brigade to Young's Mill, to which point the roads are practicable, as soon as he gets transportation. I am afraid just now to bring more troops here, for fear they will starve until the roads are improved.
Professor Lowe asks me for six wagons to bring up his balloon. I cannot furnish one until I get up forage and provisions.
If the front occupied by Smith yesterday is assailed, Graham and Davidson have two brigades and a battery or two to oppose him. I do not fear that the enemy will cross in force anywhere, but he is more likely to assail my right if he would do much damage.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. KEYES,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Fourth Army Corps.
Washington, D. C., April 8, 1862.
Headquarters, near Yorktown:
Your two telegrams of the 7th instant have just been received-10 o'clock p.m., Tuesday, 8th April.
Your proclamation is approved, and I will send by mail the proceedings of a military commission for similar offenses lately in Missouri, which are a good form of procedure.
Your telegram respecting military operations was received at the same time and will be submitted early in the morning for the consideration of the President. We have official information, this moment