HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Williamsburg, May 8, 1862.
Brigadier General GEORGE STONEMAN,
Chief of Cavalry:
General Franklin was yesterday attacked by the enemy. He repulsed them handsomely, holding his original position at all and advanced positions at some points. He was unable to follow up his success for want of transportation.
Sedgwick's infantry had landed, and transportation and forage are going up rapidly.
In attempting to communicate with General Franklin you must be exceedingly cautious.
The four newspaper reporters taken yesterday will be turned over to the provost-marshal-general, who will keep them in close custody until further orders.
What was the strength of the enemy's rear guard you saw yesterday and what became of it?
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAMSBURG, Thursday, May 8, 1862 - 6 p. m.
Chief Top. Eng'r, Army of the Potomac, Williamsburg, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I have to-day executed your instructions, directing me to state "whether it was practicable to communicate from General Sumner's headquarters to the main left-hand road, where General Heintzelman and General Hooker passed a portion of last Monday night."
I crossed from Whitaker's house, then General Sumner's headquarters, to the left-hand road; about one-third of the distance is open country, and tolerably level; the remaining two-thirds is rather densely wooded, surface more undulating; infantry and cavalry can now cross it without difficulty. The whole distance is 1 1/4 miles. Course from Whitaker's by compass is south west. This brought me about 300 yards from the edge of the woods. Captain McKeever, assistant adjutant-general on General Heintzelman's staff, informs me that General Heitzelman bivouacked that night 20 to 30 yards from edge of woods.
It is proper to add that on Monday night the communication across was undoubtedly more difficult than it is now, as we have since then had three clear days, but that it could have been effected at that time us the opinion of your very obedient servant,
W. R. PALMER,
Major Topographical Engineers, Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. CAMP OF THE ADVANCE GUARD, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, May 8, 1862.
General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that my advance guard, consisting of the Sixth U. S. Cavalry, Major L. Williams commanding, was