War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0425 Chapter XXIV. RECONNAISSANCE, ETC.

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APRIL 16, 1862. - Reconnaissance to the Rappahannock River, Va.

Report of Major Robert C. Anthony, First Rhode Island Cavalry.


In pursuance of orders, we started this morning for the Rappahannock River, stopping to take the blacksmith Robert Willis in charge. Arrived at the river about 1 o'clock p. m. I threw out scouts on both sides of the railroad, one of which, in charge of Lieutenant Manchester, had quite a sharp skirmish with the enemy's pickets. Several shots were exchanged. We had one horse badly wounded. There are no bridges on the river, but below the railroad is a ferry-boat large enough to take a horse. Above the bridge is an encampment large enough to hold 2,000 troops. The embankments I should think would extend nearly 2 miles. The river is quite low, and a bridge could be thrown across in a very short time.

Very respectfully,


Major, Third Battalion First Rhode Island Cavalry.


Commanding Brigade.

APRIL 16, 1862. - Reconnaissance to Liberty Church, Va.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel Willard Sayles, First Rhode Island Cavalry.


April 17, 1862.

SIR: In obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 36, from Brigadier-General Abercrombie, I took a squadron from First Rhode Island and one from First Maine, and started from camp at 10 p. m. April 16, 1862. We directed our course to Liberty Church, which we reached about 1 o'clock this morning, having learned from a guide, whom we took from a plantation of one Mr. Randolph, that the enemy in small numbers were in the habit of congregating at this place.

Stopping at the house of a Mr. Willis, we were told by one of his servants that a small cavalry detachment of about 10 had visited that place yesterday morning and another of about 14 in the afternoon, the one coming from and the other going in the direction of the Rappahannock. He also told us that a Mr. Olinger was continually giving assistance to the enemy and receiving them at his house, which is situated in the vicinity of the church. We called upon and after a conversation with him, in which he admitted himself a secessionist, and after contradictory statements relative to his connection with the rebel force, we arrested him. Also, upon similar information, we arrested a Dr. Beale.

We learned from all sources that the enemy are in the habit of daily visiting Liberty Church in small numbers. They are mostly cavalry.



Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Detachment.

Colonel LAWTON.