War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0697 Chapter XXXIII. RECONNAISSANCE TOWARD WARRENTON,VA.

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HEADQUARTERS, December 24, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded for the information of the Department, with copy of my letter* to General Stuart on the subject, of this date.

R. E. LEE,


A very gallant affair and modestly reported. To be remembered in estimating merit for promotion.

J. A. S. [SEDDON,]

Secretary [of War.]

DECEMBER 21-22, 1862.-Reconnaissance from Potomac Creek Bridge toward Warrenton, Va.


No. 1.-Brigadier General William W. Averell, U. S. Army.

No. 2.-Captain James M. Robertson, Batteries B and L, Second U. S.


No. 1. Report of Brigadier General William W. Averell, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. FIRST CAV. Brigadier, CENTER GRAND DIVISION, Near Hartwood, Va., December 22, 1862-9 p.m.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I left my camp, near Potomac Creek Bridge, at 6 p.m. last evening, and came to this place with 1,000 men and Robertson's horse battery; the latter failed to keep up with the cavalry at a walk, and I therefore determined not to take it with me any farther. This morning at daylight I set out toward Warrenton on the Ridge road; met one of my scouts, who had information of a camp north of the road, at a distance of 5 or 6 miles. I went through the fields and woods to every place that a camp had been reported to be, but could find no enemy. At White Ridge three of my scouts met me, who reported nothing at Elk Run, Warrenton Junction, or Catlett's. They left me last night; went through some camps of Sigel's cavalry, on Deep Run, supposing them to be the enemy; thence to Elk Run, where they arrived at 2 o'clock this morning; thence to the Junction and Catlet's. At White Ridge a picket of the enemy was discovered and pursued. He escaped in a thicket, but left a rifle behind. A mile and a half beyond White Ridge 7 pickets of the enemy were discovered and chased for 2 miles in the woods. Two of my men, in endeavoring to cut them off by riding over some very rough ground, received severe injuries by the falling of their horses. I then dispatched another scout to Elk Run, and pushed on through the woods to Morrisville, beyond which place a short distance a force of 200 or 300 of Sigel's cavalry was found in very insecure positions, wandering about. I cannot imagine why the enemy does not capture them. Colonel [Di Cesnola], in command of the force, was absent on my arrival, with some 250 men, at Kelly's Ford. I awaited his return, which soon after took place. He reported two regiments of rebel infantry on the opposite bank of the Rappahannock, with two pieces of artillery, who resisted his approach, wounding 2 of his men with musketry. He also reported


*See p.690.