War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0782 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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in to the fords the enemy has felled timber across, showing they feared us more than we have thought.

The roads in this neighborhood are so bad that this command will not be able to remain here much longer.

The forage is eaten up, and my trains cannot supply forage and subsistence too. In fact, since September my command has been foraged on the country it was in, and required no train for forage.

The road from Hartwood to this place is now almost impassable for wagons, and it is absolutely necessary to remove this command nearer a depot of supply to get subsistence alone.

This creek (Deep Run), I am told, is swimming after heavy rains, so I shall cross it as soon as I can. I do not think it is necessary to keep pickets at the fords above this creek; a strong picket here is sufficient. Please inform me if I am authorized to withdraw them. Infantry can do this service much better than cavalry, for the country is wooded and the river is very rocky, rendering it difficult for horsemen to navigate in its vicinity, and, with no forage, they will soon be reduced to infantry.

One of my wagon horses died last night from the effects of the storm.

My command has only two days' rations, and my wagons, though they started for Belle Plain yesterday, will not be able to get back loaded, over the roads around here.

Would it not be well to establish a depot at the town of Rappahannock, and throw the cavalry on the other side of the river, to forage there as much as possible, and at the same time we can be scouting toward the railroad to see what the rebels are about?

I shall do my best to shelter the animals from this storm. There is a great deal of straggling behind the army, and this also adds to the duties of my cavalry. The cavalry of each corps should keep its own stragglers up, and not leave them for me to take care of.

My ambulances have been going constantly, bringing up sick infantry left behind on the road. I mention these things not as complaints, but for your information, that you may understand the state of the service, and make the proper corrections.

I am, general, very respectfully,


Brigadier-General, Commanding Cavalry Division.


Camp near Grove Church, November 21, 1862- 6 p.m.

Captain A. J. ALEXANDER,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Corps:

SIR: The officer sent to reconnoiter at the river has just returned, and reports that three squadrons of the Eight Pennsylvania Cavalry picket, at Ellis' and Kemper's Fords and the road to Morrisville. The river can, with some difficulty, be forded by cavalry, but not by artillery. The officer in command at Ellis' Ford was very confident that there was no force of the enemy near there, as he crossed to-day, and their pickets disappeared; returning, however, when he recrossed, though very cautiously.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Rhode Island Cavalry.