myself, after a short consultation with the major-general commanding, with Colonel McIntosh's regiment [Third Pennsylvania Cavalry], to the point of attack.
The instructions to the officer commanding the pickets had been to post his reserve at or near Hartwood, and to keep it entirely screened from observation; to picket all the roads approaching our army between the Rappahannock River and Poplar road, connecting on the left with the pickets of the Second Cavalry Brigade, and on the right with the pickets extending to Aquia Creek. The greatest vigilance and carefulness were enjoined upon him; patrols were frequently to examine the country in front, and his reserve was to stand to horse from one hour before sunrise until one hour after, every morning.
On the evening of the 26th instant, an officer was sent to visit the pickets, who remained with them until the morning of the 27th. He was directed to warn them of an expected demonstration on the part of our enemy; to direct the officer in command to keep his reserve constantly saddled and ready for action; to increase the vigilance of the patrols and pickets, and guard against the attack, which he must soon expect. He was told to expect the attack in the morning. It appears that the enemy avoided all pickets and roads, making their way through the woods directly to the reserve, which they first attacked and surprised; then, turning back, took up the pickets in the Marsh road, recrossing the Rappahannock at Ellis' Ford. After the most careful and comprehensive instructions, and with a timely warning fresh in his memory, Captain Johnson permitted his command to be surprised and a great portion of it captured, bringing disgrace and shame upon his regiment and the brigade to which it belonged, and our cavalry service into disrepute.
I have the honor to request that the name of Captain George Johnson, Third Pennsylvania Cavalry, be dropped from the rolls, or, if an opportunity shall occur to bring him to trial, that it may be done.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. W. AVERELL,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
Lieutenant Colonel JOS. DICKINSON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Center Grand Division.
GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
No. 190. Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 2, 1862.
Captain George Johnson, Third Pennsylvania Cavalry, while in charge of a cavalry picket on the 28th of November, having, by his negligence, continued after repeated warnings from his commanding officer, permitted his party to be surprised by the enemy, and himself and a number of his officers and men to be captured, is, subject to the approval of the President of the United States, dismissed the service for disgraceful and unofficerlike conduct.
The commanding general hopes and believes that a lack of discipline in the regiment and brigade to which this officer belonged did not warrant him in so gross a neglect of duty.
By command of Major-General Burnside: