McMachan dashed from the wood and captured the pickets. No one with the flag was molested. I desire to report to you that when General Averell and I determined to capture the pickets, neither of us had any idea that a flag of truce was approaching.
From the prisoners I learned that Hampton's brigade of cavalry, with a battery or so of artillery, was lying between the river and Martinsburg. His brigade consists of the First North Carolina, Tenth Virginia, Philips' Legion, and Cobb's Legion of Cavalry, all of which were reviewed by General Stuart yesterday. I have not a doubt that this force is where it is represented to be.
I beg to report that within half an hour after the capture of the pickets they were replaced from their reserve, which was lying at the time of the capture some few hundred yards off.
I have the honor to be, & c., very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN R. KENLY,
Brigadier-General, Maryland Brigade.
Lieutenant Colonel OLIVER D. GREENE,
Asst. Adjt. General and Chief of Staff, Sixth Corps. Hagerstown.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
HEADQUARTERS SQUADRON FIRST MARYLAND CAVALRY,
Williamsport, Md., October 31, 1862.
Brigadier General JOHN R. KENLY,
Commanding U. S. Forces at Williamsport and vicinity:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose and forward to you the report of Lieutenant McMachan, who was sent, according to your orders, by me to capture the enemy's picket, stationed across the river, opposite Williamsport.
I saw the picket captured, and know that the men captured by my lieutenant had no connection with the party bearing the flag of truce mentioned by him; nor did the flag of truce in any way possible cover or protect the picket captured.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. H. RUSSELL,
Major, Commanding Squadron First Maryland Cavalry.
WILLIAMSPORT, [MD.], October 31, 1862.
SIR: In accordance with orders received from you on the 29th instant, I proceeded across the Potomac, with 15 men, on purpose to capture the enemy's picket, stationed on the neck opposite Williamsport.
Crossing the river at Sharpless' Warehouse, I kept the woods until I struck the Williamsport and Martinsburg turnpike, beyond the picket station. I then dashed down, and succeeded in the capture of the entire picket (6 in number. At the same time I came in contact with a party of the enemy bearing a flag of truce, which I permitted to pass unmolested.
I knew nothing of the flag of truce until I surprised it in dashing down upon the picket, nor did any one in the federal service know anything of it until I was too far on the excursion to be recalled.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commanding Company I, First Maryland Cavalry.
Major CHARLES H. RUSSELL.