strong fire of musketry from rebel infantry was fired at them, dismounting 2 men. Taking, then, 25 carbineers from the Ninth New York, I proceeded myself to the river, to see whether I could safely cross the Rappahannock and capture the rebels, who were firing at us from the houses and behind the walls at Kellysville. While I was undecided whether I had to cross it and capture these men, a noise of wheels attracted my attention, and I saw distinctly two rebel guns, which were brought forward with the intention of placing them in battery against us; so I then thought it prudent to bring back these men, with all my command, to Morrisville, whig I did orderly and at a walk.
Captain Kennedy was instructed by me, after having scouted the righthand side of the wood, to cross the Marsh River and to proceed cautiously toward Wheatley Post-Office. On my arrival at Morrisville he reported to me that he did advance toward that point, but, owing to the ground, which was without trees and quite a plain, he was seen by the rebel line of pickets on the other side of the Rappahannock and was fired at by the whole line.
The information I could get with some certainty is as follows: That General Hampton passed through Morrisville on his way to Kellysville the morning of the 20th instant, with a force about 1,000 strong (some said 6,000 some 2,000, others 600 only.) He had more infantry than cavalry, and two guns. General Hampton recrossed the Rappahannock on the afternoon of the 21st instant with his cavalry only; some of his men said he took the Elk Run road and would be back in two days. It would thus account for the infantry and guns seen on the other side of the river.
My command had 2 horses wounded and 3 died from exhaustion.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
L. P. DI CESNOLA,
Commanding Cavalry Force.
Commanding Eleventh Army Corps.
DECEMBER 21-23, 1862. Scout to Catlett's Station and Brentsville, VA.
Report of Brigadier General William W. Averel, U. S. Volunteers.
HDQRS. FIRST CAV. Brigadier, CENTER GRAND DIVISION,
December 23, 1862-11.30 a.m.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that Privates Blaisdell and McGua, Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry, have just returned from a scout to Catlett's Station, Greenwich, Bristoe, and Brentsville, and report as follows, viz:
Left our picket line 4 a.m. Sunday; arrived at Bristersburg Stone Church 1 p.m. same day, where we saw some stragglers from Hampton's Legion, who were going toward Warrenton Junction; followed them to within a mile of the Junction; then went across the fields and woods to Catlett's. Found there that the railroad had not been used recently; had been no cavalry there since last Monday a week ago. Went to Greenwich about dark; roads did not seem to have been much used: staid in the woods until 3 a.m. yesterday; could see no camp fires; went through the town, which is small, perhaps a dozen houses; one large house of a dirty red color; saw no rebel soldiers. Went by the road to Bristoe, 5 or 6 miles distant. Crossed the Manassas Gap Railroad, which had not been used recently. Arrived at Bristoe about 11 a.m. yesterday. A boy told us that 11 of our soldiers had been there the day before. We left Bristoe about noon for Brentsville, which is 3 or 4 miles off. Went by the road. There appeared to have been no more than small country travel upon it. A man near Brentsville, named Allen Housens, told us that Hampton's Legion camped near there