JULY 24-26, 1862.- Reconnaissance from Fredericksburg toward Orange Court-House, Va.
Numbers 1.- Brigadier General Rufus King, U. S. Army, commanding division.
Numbers 2.- Brigadier General John Gibbon, U. S. Army, commanding brigade.
Numbers 1. Reports of Brigadier General Rufus King, U. S. Army, commanding division.
Fredericksburg, Va., July 26, 1862 - 4.45 p. m.
I have just heard from our expedition. They arrived within 5 miles of Orange Court-House yesterday afternoon. Bivouacked there, and at daylight this morning advanced on the Court-House, driving in strong mounted pickets and following them to within 1 1/2 miles of the town. Satisfied from information there obtained that General Robertson was at the Court-House with two or more regiments of cavalry and perhaps a small force of infantry; that General Ewell with a large force of all arms was only 3 miles beyond, and that Jackson's force is strung along for 6 miles farther through Liberty Mills, General Gibbon, acting under my instructions, decided not to take his small force any farther. A 9 a. m. they were on their way home. General Gibbon says that he anticipates some pursuit, but is fully prepared. No man had hurt on our side. I will send detailed report of the reconnaissance as soon as General Gibbon returns.
Washington, D. C.
Fredericksburg, Va., July 27, 1862 - 10.30 a. m.
SIR: I telegraphed to you yesterday that I had heard from General Gibbon's expedition, which was dispatched from here Thursday afternoon in the direction of Orange Court-House, To ascertain, if possible, the strength and position of the enemy's forces in that quarter. A brief note from General Gibbon, Dated at 9 o'clock yesterday morning, and the report of my aide-de-camp, Captain Benkard, whom I sent out to meet the column early yesterday morning and who returned last night, enable me to state that the reconnaissance was successfully accomplished without loss on our side, the enemy's pickets having been driven by our cavalry and sharpshooters to within half a mile of Orange Court-House. The impression derived by General Gibbon from the statements of contrabands and white residents whom he saw and conversed with was that General B. H. Robertson, with two regiments and a battalion of cavalry, was at the Court-House or in its immediate vicinity; that General Ewell, with a force of all arms, was 3 miles beyond, and that the residue of Jackson's forces were strung along for some 6 miles in the direction of Madison Court-House, from which quarter an attack was apprehended by the Federal troops. When our