HEADQUARTERS FIRST PROVISIONAL BRIGADE,
Camp at East River, Va., May 15, 1862.
Brigadier General JACOB D. COX,
GENERAL: Yours of this morning (6 a. m.) reached me at 1.30 p. m. Colonel Moor has sent forward a messenger announcing his arrival at French's, and I wrote to him the substance of your communication in reference to him, although I supposed he had instructions in reference to his movements. I have asked him to come up here in the morning, if his presence is not essential at his camp, for an hour or two.
I cannot refrain from congratulating myself on finding that my letters to you in reference to movements to the front, &c., are met on the road by your own dispatches announcing the same policy. It seems to me that your information of roads, &c., must be very good, so much so that I feel modest about sending the inclosed sketch.*
I hope you will be satisfied in reference to action for forwarding transportation. I am trying to do my best, but it is up-hill work in a mountainous country. I have no doubt of our ability to dislodge the enemy, and move forward as soon as you deem it proper to give the word.
I am trying to get persons to act in the capacity so much needed and mentioned in your note of to-day. The trouble is that the soi-disant Union men are not to be trusted. The real ones have been driven off, and it would take our own men a month to learn from observation of the roads and positions as much as we know from maps and casual information. I have sent out, however, for a man who can be trusted, and I hope to ge one or two others this evening.
I think Colonel moor's brigade is precisely in the right place, and should think it quite possible that the force detached to the cross-roads may find a party of the enemy.
In front of my position at Adair's I learned this morning from Lieutenant-Colonel Hines that it was beyond question that a certain house on the opposite side of the river was occupied by rebel pickets. I sent him up with three companies of rifles-one of Twenty-third, two of Colonel White's-with one howitzer, to stir them up. It was done very readily, and after a few shots the enemy's picket of 50 or 60 men left the vicinity.
What I have written concerning the route to Wolf Creek by French's Mill, by the Narrows, and by the road on east side of New River, and the by-road up Limestone Run seems to cover the whole matter of approach to the enemy. The force on the other side of New River can drive the enemy from the narrows if he shall not have left before the advance is made. That going by French's Mill and Wolf Creek would cut him off from retreat to the west, and he would fall back to fight at Poplar Hill. No stand can be made at Pearisburg if my information of topography be correct. I will send you another courier in the morning at furthest.
I have ever confidence in the actual condition of our affairs, and I trust in God that no untoward event may mar the prospects of your command. At present it seems to me they are excellent.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. P. SCAMMON,
Colonel, Commanding First Provisional Brigade.