the breaking up of communication upon the left did not prevent his communicating, as during the whole day he was in communication, either by Banks' Ford or the Philips house, with General Hooker. During the night his forces recrossed the river at Banks' Ford and took position on this side, and communication ceased, by signal, near his command.
May 5, 1863. - Captain Babcock having reported for further instructions, I directed him to establish a line of stations of observation, and report upon the bank of the river connecting Banks' Ford with the Phillips house. This was found impracticable, as the enemy were closely picketing the other bank of the river, and no stations could be established which would not be in range of the sharpshooters. The line would not have been of enough importance to counterbalance such peril to the officers, so, upon such representation, I countermanded the order. The bridges near the Lacy house having been taken up during the previous night, and General Gibbon having removed his headquarters to the Phillips house, the telegraph station at the Lacy house was broken up, and but one station, that at the Phillips house, was kept open. Anticipating that the enemy might now attempt to cross at some point near Port Royal, I directed Captain Gloskoski and Lieutenant Marston to report to General Pleasonton, who, with a small force of cavalry, felt able to hold the enemy in check for a time at any crossing he might attempt. One of the most furious storms of the season, commencing at 2 p. m., prevented these stations from being useful until the next morning. It also greatly damaged the telegraph lines, tearing the poles down, and greatly deranging the instruments. On the extreme right, Lieutenant Tuckerman, who was stationed at the brick house on the south side of the river, opening communication with Lieutenant [John E.] Holland, who was stationed at the chestnut tree near United States Ford, on the north side of the river, rendered efficient service. The right wing of the army was in motion, leaving its intrenchments to recross the river, when the bridges were swept away. No other communication than that by signals was possible. The heavy rains had so swollen the river that it was impossible to ford it. An order was sent by signals at 9 p. m. to suspend the movements until the bridges could be repaired. The movements, by this order, were suspended until 1.20 a. m., May 6, when an order was sent by signal to continue the movements again. Previous to establishing this communication, the anxiety to get the order across the river was so great that Lieutenant Holland had volunteered to swim the river with dispatches.
May 6, 1863. - By daybreak this morning the signal stations, telegraph lines, & c., on the south side of the river had been called in, and communication completely abandoned. Captain Fisher ordered to camp all the officers belonging to the reserve party, and directed the officers assigned to corps to rejoin the corps to which they were attached. In order to keep up the lines of observation upon the banks of the river, I directed Captain Gloskoski and Lieutenant Marston to establish a station at Buckner's Neck, making reconnaissances to Port Conway, Captain Kendall and Lieutenant Fortescue at the Seddon house, and Lieutenants Hill and Brooks were to establish stations at the Fitzhugh house and Taylor's Hill. Thus a complete line was again established, observing the country from Port Royal to Falmouth. Our pickets extended from Falmouth to Banks' ford and beyond; so a long line of river was well watched.
On the morning of May 7, the party was inspected and re-equipped and supplied, the telegraph wire from Banks' Ford to United States