If General Roberts is assigned to me, I would like to have him take command of my Second Brigade, if it can be gotten together, as it is the strongest in numbers.
You are informed as to the composition and strength of the forces under the rebel General Jones, in my front. That force, as I am reliably informed, has recently been re-enforced by the forces under General Imboden, consisting of one battery, about 1,200 cavalry, and about 500 infantry, and they are promised the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Regiments Virginia Infantry, from Fredericksburg, and it is rumored that they are soon to be joined by Floyd with a force of about 6,000.
I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. H. MILROY,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
February 21, 1863.
Colonel J. C. KELTON,
The services of Brigadier General John Buford are very much needed here. Cannot he be relieved from duty on that court and sent here at once?
WASHINGTON, D. C.,
February 21, 1863.
The General-in-Chief directs me to say that General Buford is on a court the trial of an officer of your command, and cannot be relieved till trial is over.
J. C. KELTON,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,
Falmouth, Va., February 21, 1863.
DEAR SIR: I telegraphed you last evening that the pickets had reported that sixteen pieces of artillery and eleven pontoons were seen passing through Fredericksburg down the river. The information did not get to me until twenty-four hours or more after the movement was observed-as stupid a thing as ever occurred in military history. It is but a specimen of how military duties are done by a great many officers in my corps. Higher officers spend their time in reading newspapers or books, playing cards or the politician, drinking whisky, and grumbling. Of course, this charge does not include all by a long way, for it contains some of the finest that ever drew sword, from major-general down.
Upon a personal investigation, I find that the movement of pontoons and artillery was seen by so many that nobody reported the facet. The general officer of the day was Colonel Frank, one of our most sterling officers.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
D. N. COUCH,