No. 3. Reports of Brig. General Horatio P. Van Cleve, U. S. Army, commanding Fifth Division.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION, December 16, 1862.
MAJOR:The first report of the capture of our cavalry pickets yesterday evening was from a private who was on post at the time and made his escape. He stated that while a flag of truce from the enemy was waiting to receive an answer from headquarters, a body of rebel cavalry dashed in and captured our cavalry reserve. This statement was afterward corroborated by Lieutenant Rowe, of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, who reported, in addition, that he had learned from some who had escaped that Captain Abeel, who commanded the cavalry, had been very remiss in suffering his men to dismount and leave their ranks while the rebel party with the flag of truce were there. Lieutenant Rowe belonged to the company of cavalry on duty, but was not present at the affray, having been sent to these headquarters on business.
If the facts are as reported, it was disgraceful outrage on the part of the rebels. At the same time, those bearing the flag of truce may have borne no part in it, and the conduct of Captain Abeel was very culpable and unsoldierlike.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. P. VAN CLEVE,
Major-General, Commanding Fifth Division.
Major LYNE STARLING,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Left Wing.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH DIVISION,
Near Nashville, Tenn., December 25, 1862.
MAJOR:Pursuant to directions from Major-General Rosecrans, I have the honor to report the circumstances connected with the capture of a portion of the outposts in my front on the 15th instant, and the alleged detention of Lieutenant-Colonel Hawkins, of the Confederate Army, while at my lines with a flag of truce. Colonel Hawkins came to my outposts about 2 p.m. of the 15th instant, with communication for the general commanding, accompanied by several civilians and ladies, who desired to go to Nashville. Word was immediately sent to department headquarters, but, before a messenger could return, a scouting party of the First Alabama Cavalry attacked and captured all the cavalry outposts,and immediately retreated to the rebel lines. Colonel Hawkins was at this time waiting at my outposts for the arrival of a staff officer from the general commanding, and, when the enemy retreated, went with them beyond my lines. He presented himself the next morning at my infantry outposts, when he was placed under guard by Colonel Knifler [Knefler?], Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania [Indiana?] Volunteers, and the case reported to me for instructions. Colonel Knifler [Knefler?] believed Colonel Hawkins was in some respect responsible for the attack on the pickets the day before, and proposed to guard against a repetition of the occurrence. Soon after, Lieutenant-Colonel Hepburn, of General Rosecrans' staff, arrived, and Colonel Hawkins' dispatches received, and he sent beyond our lines. Of his subsequent arrest by Captain Knox and Lieutenant-Colonel Dickinson I know nothing, no report of