better than on this, and heavy loads can be drawn over them. This makes me incline to the opinion that the enemy will make a stand at this point.
I have two strong parties out reconnoitering to-day, and shall report their return.
Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.
PURCELLVILLE, October 31, 1862 - 4 p. m.
GENERAL: One of my squadrons has returned, and reports having driven in the enemy's pickets on the Snickersville and Aldie pike, capturing two carbines and two sabers; the rebels dropped them in their haste; they took to the mountains. Several Union men told the party that Stuart, with his cavalry and four pieces of artillery, crossed last night into this valley and took the road to Union. He left twelve pieces of artillery in the gap. Some of Stuart's men said they were going round toward Leesburg.
The party report the Snicker's Gap, from what they saw of it, as a much rougher one than the South Mountain. They also report a force on the mountain watching the gap road, some 5 miles south of Snickersville.
Bayard;s scouts ought to hear something of Stuart to-day.
The Quakers still report a rebel force on the other side of the mountain, opposite Snickersville.
General R. B. MARCY.
PURCELLVILLE, October 31, 1862 - 8.30 p. m.
GENERAL: My scouts are just in from the mountain north of Snickersville. They succeeded in reaching the top, and had a view of the Shenandoah River. Large camps were on this side of the river, on the Snicker's Gap road. The signal station has been taken away from the mountain. They heard the rumble of artillery in the gap.
From several sources I hear there is about 6,000 men in the gap. All accounts agree that infantry is necessary to take possession of this gap. The road up the mountain north of the gap will require work.
I am, general, very respectfully,
General R. B. MARCY.
P. S. - I have advanced my pickets to-day within 1 1/2 miles of Snickersville.
[PURCELLVILLE, October 31, 1862.]
(Sent 10 p. m.)
GENERAL: I sent you a dispatch stating Stuart's cavalry had compelled my aide-de-camp to General Bayard to return to Philomont. The officer has arrived in camp, and states Stuart took the road to Aldie,