Second Brigade left its camp at 2.30 this morning and the First is about leaving. I shall move with the latter. One regiment of the Second is already at the church, which is some 8 miles from here by the road which can now be traveled.
General Williams, commanding Twelfth Corps, kindly offered me a brigade of infantry to march to Aquia Church; but I told him I did not think it could be of much service, the roads were so bad. My force is amply sufficient for the rebels if we can get hold of them. General Williams states that reports to him make out the rebels intend attacking Dumfries. I have sent to warn my pickets in front of that place to be on their guard and give me the earliest information of any approach. I shall not move beyond Aquia Church until I hear further concerning the rebel movements. I have requested General Williams to keep me informed.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA.,
February 26, 1863.
Brigadier General GEORGE STONEMAN,
Commanding Cavalry Corps:
The commanding general directs me to say that the cavalry force recently stationed on the Maryland shore to prevent desertions form this army and the entrance of improper persons and traffic within our lines from that direction having been withdrawn, you will be expected to picket along the river on this side from the infantry pickets on our right flank to Aquia, and from Belle Plain to the infantry pickets on our left flank.
The portion excepted is at present picketed by the infantry brigade under the command of Colonel W. F. Rogers, Twenty-first New York Volunteers.
Very respectfully, &c.,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
February 26, 1863-9 a. m. (Received 10 a. m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
The report of an intended raid into Maryland by the united forces of Jackson and Stuart is entirely without foundation.
About 2,000 of the enemy's cavalry felt my pickets yesterday afternoon; were repulsed, and Stoneman is now after them at full chase, with instructions to follow them to their camps, should it be necessary, to destroy them.* These are on the south side of the Rappahannock, and near Culpeper. The rebels crossed the river at Kelly's Ford.
*See skirmish at Hartwood Church, Part I, pp. 21-25.