The colonel states resistance was made, but unsuccessfully; 1 officer and about 50 men were taken, and removed at once across the river.
Up to the time of the colonel's writing, 20 men had escaped, and he thinks his reconnoitering parties now out will bring in more.
Leeds' Ferry is a point on the Rappahannock at which the rebels have carried on their smuggling. It was at this point that a schooner and five boats used in this trade were destroyed several days ago. The rebels doubtless consider it too important to give up without an effort to hold it.
The river at Leeds is three-fourths of a mile wide. Colonel Gregg reports the enemy's force to be increasing in that direction, and thinks it not advisable to continue a force at Leeds unless it be occupied in force to hold it, as the distance renders it liable for a small force to be cut off at any time. Some of the troops on the rebel side were raised in King George County, and know the country, and it is difficult to say what they may next attempt.
Colonel Gregg could not have kept a larger force at Leeds from his command, as the support to the section of artillery at Port Royal required the main part of his command.
The colonel further states, the captain and squadron at Leeds were the best of his regiment.
I shall direct Colonel Gregg to draw in his detached parties to within supporting distance of his force at the Court-House, until other arrangements are made by the major-general commanding for the occupation of the lower part of the Peninsula.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant Colonel J. H. TAYLOR,
Chief of Staff, Right Grand Division.
DECEMBER 2, 1862.
I have directed General Pleasonton to take immediate measures for the security of his command, till the commanding general gives orders in the case.
E. V. SUMNER,
Brevet Major-General, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY BRIGADE, December 3, 1862.
GENERAL: Another detachment of some 15 men have returned from the squadron at Leeds, with Lieutenant Baker in charge. This party was on detached service yesterday when the attack was made. Twenty-five men came in last night, and, with this party, the number amounts to 40 men that have already returned. The whole squadron only numbered 60 men, so that 20 at the outside will cover our loss, and Colonel Gregg thinks some of these will yet return.
The attack was made by dismounted cavalry, having some of the citizens of Leeds in their ranks. The men who have returned report seeing 3 dead rebels on the field and 1 badly wounded in a house. The main party hastily returned to the other side of the river.