SPECIAL ORDERS, ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Numbers 118. Richmond, Va., May 23, 1862.
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IV. Colonel J. Thomas Goode's Fourth Regiment, Virginia Heavy Artillery, is assigned to duty as infantry with Brigadier General Henry A. Wise's brigade, and will report accordingly, without delay, to General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding Department of Northern Virginia.
V. Lieutenant-Colonel Harris' battalion, Virginia Heavy Artillery, will, without delay, report for duty as infantry to General Joseph Artillery, will, without delay, report for duty as infantry to General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding Department of Northern Virginia.
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VII. Major General J. B. Magruder is assigned to the command of the Trans-Mississippi District, of Department Numbers 2, and will report to this office for instructions.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
CAMP NEAR AYLETT'S, KING WILLIAM,
May 24, 1862.
Brigadier General L. O'B. BRANCH:
GENERAL: By direction of General J. R. Anderson I send a courier this morning to open communication with you, and not knowing your adjutant I have to address myself directly to yourself.
I have the honor to report the results of numerous and extensive reconnaissances (made in person and by small parties sent out by me) along the banks of both the Pamunkey and Mattapony Rivers and for a short distance down the York.
There are no Federal troops in this county except a few guards and pickets at West Point, Williams' Ferry, and Mrs. Munday's. There are numerous vessels lying in the Pamunkey all the way from West Point to Garlick's, but they are congregated mostly at the White House and at Taylor's quarter, 2 miles above West Point. Much the larger part of the vessels consist of sailing transport and store vessels.
Last night there was great activity in the arrival and debarkation of troops at the White House. Since Tuesday last none have arrived, and those previously landed have nearly all been sent forward in heavy columns along the line of the York River Railroad and by the old Cold Harbor road, through the lower end of Hanover.
Since Saturday last a great many of the enemy's armed vessels have disappeared, going off in the night, and, as the people living on the river suppose, to James River. A gunboat came up the Mattapony on Monday last, but got aground some 4 or 5 miles below the village of Aylett's, and when she got off put down the river and went out of it, since which time there has been no reappearance of hostile boats in that stream. Persons who were taken on board, however, were told that a lighter draught boat would be sent up in a few days to capture the vessels or destroy them and the stores lying at and near Aylett's. These stores could all be easily saved if proper effort was made, as it is only some 20 miles to the railroad, but there is no quartermaster or quartermaster's agent here having the requisite authority, and in the mean time vessels and cargoes quietly await the inevitable hour of the enemy's approach.