The inclosed report has been made by General Sigel of a reconnaissance in that direction.* The man who saw and reported the pontoon bridge at Rappahannock Station will be directed to report to you to accompany the force. The pontoon bridge, if constructed, should be destroyed. The railroad bridge at Rappahannock Station should be destroyed. The railroad for a mile this side of the Rappahannock should be effectually destroyed and the ties burned. The command should go prepared to accomplish this. An infantry force must be moved to watch the United States Ford and the crossing above, to prevent any movement in the rear of the cavalry force, and support the movement. The whole command should go in the lightest order possible, taking every precaution to conceal their movements. They should carry sufficient provisions to last them while accomplishing the object directed. General Sigel, upon your application, will furnish you with all the information possible.
The Third Corps marched down in the vicinity of the river from Rappahannock Station and Bealeton to their present camp, and valuable information may possibly be obtained from General Stoneman.
The general desires that this force should start early to-morrow morning. They will make frequent reports, and communicate here as often as necessary.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
February 4, 1863.
Commanding Center Grand Division:
GENERAL: The inclosed dispatch just received from General Sigel since the order the reconnaissance was made. The major-general commanding directs that the reconnaissance be made as ordered, care being taken to prevent collision with General Sigel's troops, and that the railroad and the railroad bridge be thoroughly destroyed.
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. ELEVENTH CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Stafford Court-House, Va., February 4, 1863.
Major General F. SIGEL,
Commanding Reserve Grand Division:
GENERAL: I have the honor to announce that in consequence of the report of the last scouting party, which stated that the enemy had built a pontoon bridge over the Rappahannock, near Rappahannock Station, yesterday, 100 men, under Captain Hanley, Ninth New York Cavalry, were sent to Rappahannock Station in order to ascertain more positively the rebels' intention at that point. He crossed the Orange and Alexandria Railroad between Rappahannock Station and Bealeton Station, and pushed 2 miles farther up, and scouted the whole country
*See Stahel's report of February 3, 1863, Part I, p.6.