HEADQUARTERS FIRST PROVISIONAL BRIGADE,
Camp at east River, Va., May 14, 1862.
Captain G. M. BASCOM,
SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, as follows:
1. I have for duty 2,500 men, viz: Twenty-third, Thirtieth, Twelfth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, five companies of cavalry, and McMullin's battery.
2. The rations of the Twenty-third, Thirtieth, Second Virginia Cavalry, and McMullin's artillery expire this evening. We shall then have for issue sugar, coffee, and beans for four days. Bread expires to-night. Have no flour. The Twelfth Regiment has rations for three days after to-day.
The quartermaster (Gardner) reports 47 wagons back at Princeton and en route from Princeton to Flat Top for commissary and ordnance stores.
The mule pack-train left Princeton for Raleigh on the 11th instant to bring forward stores-25 for bringing ordnance stores, 20 for commissary stores. Here the country is exhausted until we can move to the front in force.
3. The enemy in front is reported in force; how great it is impossible to ascertain with accuracy, but enough is known to convince me that he has been largely re-enforced. There are rumors of eight regiments, besides their artillery heretofore reported, and a small cavalry force. The 500 mentioned by the reports received by me last evening I presume to be an exaggeration. I inclose the reports of Lieutenant-Colonel Paxton, Second Virginia Cavalry, accompanied by that of Captain Scott, of the same regiment, and the report of Lieutenant McConnel, Thirtieth Ohio Volunteers, with the indorsement thereon.
4. I have appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Hines, of the Twelfth Regiment, to the post of commander of pickets and outposts, charging him with securing the safety of the camp from surprisers, &c., lest any force, large or small, might create alarm or cause disaster by surprise. I have directed pickets and outposts to be placed on all the approaches to the camp under his direction, having at least one company at each picket post, and the outposts to be connected by deploying sentinels to the right and left, so as to embrace the whole camp by such a chain as will make surprise impossible.
5. I find it absolutely necessary to have some one to act as provost marshal, and have designated Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, of the thirtieth, for that duty.
6. As to the positions of the enemy, and approaches to and from him, I can only say that he occupies the camp at the Mouth of Wolf Creek, and has extended his lines of pickets down the valley between East River Mountain and my camp. The approaches on that side are very difficult and well watched. He doubtless has a considerable cavalry force at the Salt Wells, some 12 or 14 miles below. I suspect he has been joined by the force from Tazewell, and that he has received re-enforcements from Monroe and from the direction of Newbern. This is something more than conjecture, but is of course subject to that degree of uncertainty that attends observation of an enemy in a country so broken as this.
I shall strictly observe your orders in reference to offensive movements, and make no advance, except to repel probable attacks, unless