which must soon be, unless we keep him too busy in the mighty task of taking Richmond.
On Wednesday there was much activity among the shipping on the Pamunkey, many arrivals and departures. The inward bound were generally loaded with stores, forage &c., and the outward bound were all light. On neither were any troops observed.
McClellan's army, according to the statement of Colonel Black, of Pennsylvania (Ex-Governor of Nebraska), made to Mr. Roger Gregory, of this county, on Saturday last, numbers 120,000 men.
There is nothing indicating a move through this county on General Anderson's rear. There is more danger of a flank movement on General Johnston's left, involving the railroads, communications, &c.
I learn from one of my scouting parties that got to camp on yesterday that Federal officers were at Mrs. Braxton's (a little below the Old Church in Hanover) on Monday or Tuesday, selecting a place of encampment for a large force. The ferryman at New Castle and the overseer on Mrs. Braxton's estate say that the officers marked out a very large area and said they wanted room for 8,000 or 10,000 men. The point of selection is equally convenient for a flank movement or a direct one along the Cold Harbor road, and there is very little difference in distance from it either to Richmond or to Hanover Court-House.
My friend Captain Old, commanding cavalry near Hanover Court-House, wrote me a note which I received yesterday, expressing a wish to establish communication with me, and I am desirous of doing so, but my number is small and my horses worked hard. If, however, you will instruct the captain to send a courier to Mangohick Church, in this county, each day, I can meet him there as a common point nearly equidistant from Aylett's and the Court-House. I suggest that the courier should be directed not to leave Mangohick before the arrival of one from my camp.
It will afford me pleasure, general, to furnish prompt intelligence of any noteworthy facts that I may obtain, and I shall certainly dispatch a fleet messenger to you when anything occurs. Please inform me by return of the bearer of the news generally, and furnish me your day and night signals and countersign.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir,
B. B. DOUGLAS,
Captain, Ninth Virginia Cavalry, Commanding, on Detached Service.
May 24, 1862.
Captain McClung will establish communications with Captain Douglas in the manner suggested within.
Return this letter to me.
L. O'B. BRANCH,
Harrison's, May 24, 1862-11.30 p. m.
DEAR GENERAL: I have just read your note, having been to Richmond. Huger telegraphed to me that Blanchard's brigade started his