War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0826 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

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gone to within 3 miles of the station, by the following roads: From the picket station near the crossing of Potomac Creek by the Stafford Court-House road,by the Aquia road to the road to Stafford Store, and to the store where the company of the First New Jersey was captured of the evening of December 2, at 7 p.m. They followed this road up to the Bristoe road, and along this road to the Brentsville road, and, after following this about 2 miles, turned off on a by-road to the Catlett's Station road. On this they went to within 3 miles of Catlett's Station. They came back by the main road from Catlett's Station to Stafford Store. This is the road by which the secession cavalry which captured the New Jersey company came down, and they saw the marks of their march along the road. They (the rebels) has stopped to feed at three places,and had lighted fires 2 miles beyond Stafford Store. From what they could learn, they judged the rebel force to have been about two regiment, or near 1,000 men, belonging to Stuart's cavalry force. The citizens said that a force of 2,000 cavalry had been for two weeks about Warrenton and Catlett's Station, and that they had been scouting about the country this side all that time. After taking the New Jersey company, they returned by the same road they took in coming down, and were said to be still in the neighborhood of Catlett's Station, but my men did not have time to go farther and get in to-night. They saw no rebel soldiers at all during the whole scout, and could hear of none having been there since the evening of December 2.

All has been quiet to-day with my pickets.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. W. AVERELL,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY,

Camp near King George Court House, Va., December 4,[1862]-10 p.m.

Captain A. J. COHEN,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry:

CAPTAIN: I have just returned from Port Conway, to which place I had gone because of heavy cannonading there. This afternoon the rebels opened a battery on the gunboats at Port Conway. The gunboats replied by an active firing for some two hours. Just before my arrival, the boats left Port Conway, and descended the river without communicating with my command there. Where they have gone, or whether or not they will return, I do not know. At the time of the firing, the enemy were discovered working on rifle-pits above Port Conway. The abrupt departure of the boats made it necessary for me to change my dispositions at Port Conway; accordingly I sent the section to this camp,and left near the ferry 100 men. I regret that the boats should have left without taking or destroying two large flat-boats at Port Royal. These boats, directly opposite Port Conway, would cross over 150 men, and I had made frequent requests to have them taken. I have sent down the river to overtake, if possible, the boats, and ascertain their destination, and to express my readiness to send back the section if they intend to return. The enemy may attempt to cross some force above or below; but, from a careful inspection of my pickets to-night, I do not doubt but they will fail to accomplish anything. My pickets in all directions, and about the several camps, are posted under my personal supervision, and if they do their duty, cannot be surprised.