HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK, April 7, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt at 1.30 this morning of your order of the 6th instant to detach Brigadier-General Woodbury and his brigade of engineers, and direct him to proceed immediately to join General McClellan's command at Fort Monroe.
The necessary instructions have given to carry this immediately into effect.
With his I beg to state as follows: General McClellan, expecting to land at some point on the Rappahannock and proceed at once to Richmond, had prepared bridges, trains, and troops to cross the Piankatank, Mattapony, Pamunkey, and Chickahominy. Subsequently, having abandoned this project, and expecting to disembark my whole corps in the vicinity of Yorktown, he had placed this branch of the service in my command, sending all the regular engineer troops under Captain Duane, Engineer Corps, to Fort Monroe, together with all the bridge trains which he considered of any use, to wit, the canvas trains, the trestle train, and the French bateau train, with the mass of the tools and implements. The landing as proposed having been made unnecessary, and the occupation of the line of Big Bethel and his advance to so near Yorktown, and having now no streams of magnitude to cross, and the material being all he intended taking in any event for the greatest amount of that service, he can unquestionably dispense with General Woodbury's volunteers, he having all the regulars. If I am with my command to operate defensively merely this side of the Rappahannock this force and the train which has been left behind-the India-rubber one-will not be needed, but it I am to cross this stream, the Rapidan, to go against Fredericksburg or Gordonsville, it or an equivalent will be indispensable.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Department.
WASHINGTON JUNCTION, April 7, 1862.
A reconnaissance was made last night to the river, where a picket guard and a few infantry were discovered occupying what appeared to be rifle pits and two small redoubts of recent construction covering the fords. Some of the slaves who have come in say the rebels appear to be retiring.
J. J. ABERCROMBIE,
Bristoe, April 7, 1862.
Numerous complaints have reached division headquarters this morning of depredations committed upon peaceable and unoffending citizens by some of the troops in this command. The evil has grown to be intolerable, and the most stringent measures must be adopted to prevent a repetition of this offense and inflict summary punishment upon the