port the brigade crossing the river, should it be deemed necessary. One hundred cavalry will be directed to report to you for this service, to enable you to communicate with your brigades, and also with these headquarters, as often as you have information of importance to communicate.
Captain Candler, of the staff, will accompany you to Richards' Ford, and will remain until after the brigade shall have crossed the river, when he will rejoin these headquarters.
The general suggests that you station your sharpshooters along the bank of the river while the brigade is crossing, prepared to pick off any of the enemy who may attempt to resist you. The brigade will remain at Richards' Ford, unless it should be called to support the advance, until Thursday morning, and will go prepared to clear the road down to Richards' Ford of the fallen timber. All the pioneers will be provided with their tools.
After crossing Ellis' Ford, that brigade will remain at that point until Thursday morning, when the whole of your command will return to camp. You will march, prepared to be absent from camp three days, and will be able to take a few of your ammunition wagons as far as Hartwood, and even Morrisville; also ambulances, but in the direction of Richards' Ford. It will not be practicable for your vehicles to proceed beyond Hartwood.
The general desires you to bear in mind that in the accomplishment of the foregoing instructions you are at liberty to make such use of your whole command as will best secure their end, and that if an additional force should be required, which is not presumed, it will be held in readiness to aid you. Relying upon your resolution, sagacity, and devotion, the major-general feels no apprehension of your entire success.
Very respectfully, &c.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
December 30, 1862.
Commanding Center Grand Division:
GENERAL: I am directed by the commanding general to inform you that the orders for preparing for a movement of the army may possibly be modified by a dispatch received this evening, of which the following is a copy:
I have good reasons for saying you must not make a general movement of the army without letting me know.
The general goes to Washington to-nigh, being summoned as a witness before a court-martial. He proposes to see the President, and will on his return communicate with you the result of the interview.
Information was received this evening from a contraband that Jackson was preparing to cross the river below us and attack on our left. Little reliance is placed in this report, but it is given you for what it is worth.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNumbers G. PARKE,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.