site for a bridge in the neighborhood of the fords. I first went to the crossing of the Telegraph road. The best site for a bridge appears to be about 75 yards to the left of the rebel, where the stream is narrowest, about 4 feet in depth at ordinary stage of water, approaches good (provided the abutments of bridge are of the same height as the banks of the creek), and turning off at an acute angle from the road as it now approaches the ford; present descent not over 13 degree. Bank on this side 8 to 10 feet in height, and opposite side 4 to 5 feet. Soil on both sides as good as usually found in this section. Marsh 100 yards to the left of point designated. The main difficulty lies in the width of the stream, which is at least 40 to 45 feet, requiring strong pieces of at least 55 feet in length. The timber, with the exception of string-pieces, would have to be hauled about one-eighth of a mile, the latter half a mile. To build a safe bridge at this point would require the exercise of engineering skill and judgment, with proper tools and workmen. Temporary affairs might be constructed over the ford, but could be washed away in any freshest. There are now lodged, on the ford trunks of trees 1 1/2 feet in diameter and 20 feet and over in length, brought down by the late flood.
I next proceeded to the ford used by our pickets in going toward Masters' house. It is on the road from Garrisonville, and about half a mile beyond Ebenezer Church. I found a point to the left where the stream is narrowest, 20 feet wide, 2 1/2 in depth, hard bottom, approaches good, even grade on the bank, which is 4 feet high; descent to the ford about 8 degrees. Soil, usual average of wood roads. Wood grows down on the bank on both sides of the creek. It would be a comparatively easy task to bridge at this crossing. There are two other fords used by our pickets, one at Wigginton's Mills, about the same character and width as the last mentioned, and the other, called Hickeron Ford, which is above the junction of Cannon Creek, where the stream becomes much narrower, but equally deep in freshest.
There are many errors in your map, both as to direction of roads and distance of points.
This fact, and the violent storm of snow and sleet that continued throughout the day, prevented as complete a reconnaissance as I would otherwise have made, but the foregoing are the main facts ascertained.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. C. DEVIN,
Colonel Sixth New York Cav., Commanding Second Brigadier, First Cav. Div.
P. S.- I heard of a ford, said to exist on the of Mr. Moncure, which is passable at any stage of water. I have ordered it to be examined and reported on.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
February 23, 1863.
Respectfully returned to Brigadier-General Stoneman.
If the ford Colonel Devin speaks of in his postscript is not sufficiently good to cross at all times, orders will be given to General Woodbury to apply the engineering skill Colonel Devin speaks of.
By command of Major-General Hooker: