band, supposed to be Richard S. Farrow (whom we now have as a prisoner). Rapid succession of shots were exchanged, which resulted in 3 of our men being wounded, I fatally. I cannot say what loss the enemy sustained as they carried their wounded away with them, with the exception of Richard, S. Farrow, whom they left at a house on this side of the Occoquan. Our men were overpowered by the superior numbers of the enemy, which resulted in 20 of them being taken prisoners, the balance escaping with the officers. They captured about as many horses as men, and made a hasty retreat to Selecman's Ford, at which place we had 2 non-commissioned officers and 6 men, who bravely disputed their crossing, and had a sharp skirmish with them, wounding 2 or 3. Our men sustained no loss at this point, but, of course, had to retire, but continued to fire on them all the time they were crossing. I received information of the attack just after daybreak, and immediately went in pursuit. I took 100 men, and scouted the country south of Occoquan stream in front of our line of pickets a distance of over 5 miles in almost every direction. We traced the enemy as far as Bacon Race Church, supposing we must have been pressing them closely, as we found carbines, sabers and pistols which had been left by the way. We afterward ascertained that they were at least two hours in advance of us, and had gone to Brentsville at which point our prisoner told us that they would be re enforced and, as our horses were then much jaded, I did not think it prudent to pursue them farther.
I would respectfully suggest that I think it almost impossible to picket well the Occoquan stream with cavalry, as brave men can cross it at any point where the banks on either side are not too abrupt. Our force in only sufficient to guard the regular fording, and the banks of the stream are of such a character as to prevent us from patrolling from one ford to the other.
I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,
WM. P. BRINTON,
Captain, Commanding Post.
Colonel R. BUTLER PRICE,
Commanding Cavalry South of Potomac.
MARCH 23, 1863.- Skirmish on the Little River Turnpike, near Chantilly, Va.
Numbers 1. - Lieutenant Colonel Robert Johnstone, Fifth New York Cavalry.
Numbers 2. - General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army.
Numbers 3. - Captain John S. Mosby, Virginia Cavalry, including operations March 16 April 1.
Numbers 1. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Johnstone, Fifth New York Cavalry.
FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE, March 23, 1863.
SIR: At 5 p.m. our picket in front of Chantilly was attacked. The vedettes were on the alert, and gave the alarm. The reserve of about 70 men were immediately under arms, and charged the enemy, who fled for 2 miles along the Little River turnpike. Between Saunder's toll-