general commanding ordering a cavalry reconnaissance down the Chickahominy a company properly instructed were sent out by me in the direction of Long Bridge and are now absent.
Small parties were dispatched this morning at an early hour upon the roads to my left. One of them, under charge of Captain Keenan, accompanied by Lieutenant West, of my staff, has just returned. They proceeded a distance of about 2 miles on the Charles City road in a westerly direction, then, turning to the left, followed the Quaker road, so called, a distance of about 6 miles, to within sight of James River. Nothing unusual was detected.
Captain Smyth, in charge of another party, fell in with the enemy's mounted pickets about 8 o'clock this morning on a road running parallel with James River, and was fired upon. This point is a regular picket post of the enemy, who seems to have men there to observe and report the movements of the gunboats.
I will take the liberty to remark that in my opinion it is a dereliction of duty on the part of the gunboats to permit the enemy's pickets to skirt the shores of the river and his forces to lie quietly encamped within range of their guns.
I am about sending a detachment under Captain Keenan, in whose prudence and energy I place confidence, directly across the country to the river. He will soon be able to ascertain whether a force has passed or is passing.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding Division.
HDQRS. HOOKER'S DIVISION, THIRD ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Fair Oaks Station, Va., June 23, 1862.
Captain CHAUNCEY McKEEVER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Army Corps:
By my roster it will be the duty of Sickles' brigade to go on picket service at 4 o'clock p.m. to-day. For the three last tours of duty of this character this brigade has been able to turn out but about 1,700 men. I deem this number as insufficient, and as my other brigades are exhausted in the performance of their own share of this duty, I respectfully request that 600 men from some other camps may be ordered to re-enforce Brigadier-General Sickles for twenty-four hours, commencing at 4 o'clock; and if this cannot be done from the Third Corps, I request that this application may be sent to general headquarters.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
JUNE 23, 1862-8.45 p.m.
Captain CHAUNCEY McKEEVER:
Have this moment returned from the front. At one time out whole line of pickets was thrown well forward, and when night came the right remained so, but the left, from causes which I do not know so well, but which Grover says he can explain to my satisfaction, was withdrawn, to prevent being cut off by rebel regiments.