force in the vicinity of Independent Hill, and, by a rapid march, take possession of the fortifications on the south side of the Occoquan, and with two or three light guns shell me out of my present position.
A detachment of the First Pennsylvania Cavalry, from Dumfries, now lying here, for the purpose of escorting wagons to General Franklin's corps, lost 2 men, taken prisoners by the Confederates day before yesterday in the vicinity, as near as I can ascertain, of Greenwood Court-House.
The Occoquan is fordable in several places, both above and below Wolf Run Shoals. I have an infantry and small cavalry picket at Woodyard Ford, with infantry patrols extending down the river to Wolf's Ford. I have placed a small cavalry picket at Bacon Race Church, with directions to patrol as far as Maple Valley. I have a very small infantry picket at Sally Davis' Ford, with a similar one at the junction of the roads at G. Davis', with directions to patrol as far as Sandy Run stream. I have placed a platoon of infantry also of Wolf Run Shoals Ford. I have but 552 men, including my officers, for duty in my regiment, from which I have limited my detachments to two companies; had I a larger force I should materially strengthen and extend my pickets, particularly down the river. From all that I can learn, we have no troops in front and left nearer than Stafford Court-House.
There should not be less at this point than two regiments of infantry, one six-gun battery, and at least 200 cavalry. This road, Wolf's Ford road, appears to be the most direct route, and is traveled by army trains from this point to Dumfries. A large train is daily expected. The country south of the Occoquan and east of the Telegraph road is constantly patrolled by the enemy's cavalry, and, unless we have a similar force to contend with them, they can continue to do so with impunity, and may be able to capture some of our trains. Under these circumstances, I of course fell exceedingly anxious to receive specific instructions as to the nature of the duties required of me at this point. Colonel Nichols informed me that he was directed to retire upon Fairfax Station in case of an attack in force.
I respectfully request that Lieutenant Schriber, acting assistant adjutant-general, may, at his earliest opportunity-to-morrow, if possible-visit this post, with a view of ascertaining the amount and character of the force required here, so as to determine the nature of the duty required. I mention Lieutenant Schriber's name, supposing Colonel D'Utassy will hardly be able to come down.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. L. WILLARD,
Colonel One hundred and twenty-fifth N. Y. Infty., Commanding
HEADQUARTERS CASEY'S DIVISION,
No. 15. Washington, December 6, 1862.
Brigadier General E. H. Stoughton, U. S. Volunteers, having reported for duty at these headquarters, pursuant to Special Orders, No. 86, Headquarters Defenses of Washington, of 5th instant, will assume command of the Second Brigade of this division.
By order of General Casey:
ROBERT N. SCOTT,
Captain Fourth Infantry, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
53 R R-VOL XXI