HDQRS. DETACHMENT 15TH Regiment N. Y. VOL. ENGRS., Near Banks' Ford, January 23, 1863.
General D. P. WOODBURY:
GENERAL: In reply to yours of this date, I have the honor to state: At 8 a.m. of the 20th, your orderly called at my camp, near Munroe's, stating he had a dispatch for Lieutenant Cassin, and, not finding him, then rode to seek him and deliver the order in person. About, but certainly not earlier, than 1 p.m., Lieutenant Cassin came to me and delivered a verbal order from you, stating that my train was wanted to lay a bridge by the following morning. He also stated that you wished me first to accompany him to the designated point, that I might ascertain the route and see where the bridge was to be thrown. Having done so, I returned without delay, and by 4 p.m. put the train in motion. I cannot see how your orders could have been more expeditiously executed. Had there been no rain, the train would have been at the rendezvous before 12 p.m. The storm, unfortunately, rendered energy useless.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. MAGRUDER,
Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Detachment 15th Regiment N. Y. Vol. Engrs.
HDQRS. DETACHMENT FIFTIETH NEW YORK ENGINEERS, Camp near Banks' Ford, Va., January 23, 1863.
Captain H. W. BOWERS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Engineer Brigade:
SIR: I have received your note informing me that the general commanding desires explanations on the following points, viz: First, the cause of the delay in starting my trains from my camp beyond Berea Church, and, second, why I did not have my teams hitched up and the trains put in motion as soon as I received notice of the time and place of crossing.
You further inform me that the general commanding expected me to take the necessary steps to be on the ground in time, and was greatly disappointed in not finding his expectations realized.
I have the honor to reply, first, that the cause of the delay in starting the trains is the simple fact that I received no orders to move, and that, had not Captain Beers accidentally met General Woodbury near the river late in the afternoon, they could not have moved when they did.
On Sunday, the 18th instant, I was in company with General Woodbury, near the river, and I then requested him very earnestly to give me ample notice whenever he wished me to move, reminding him of the great difficulties attending a night movement of the trains over bad roads. His last words to me when I left him were, not to move my trains until I received orders.
On Monday, the 19th, General Woodbury wrote me a note, the last paragraph in the following words, viz: "Don't move your pontoons until you receive orders."
On Tuesday, the 20th, Lieutenant Van Brocklin, acting adie-de-camp to General Woodbury, came to my camp, near the junction of the Poplar road and the Warrenton turnpike, bearing instructions for me from General Woodbury, to prepare certain roads by which Lieutenant-Colonel Magruder's trains might reach the river above Scott's Mill, and also "slides" for his boats. I asked Lieutenant Van Brocklin whether