with the utmost care. Send up the balloon, and, if practicable, let small reconnoitering parties be sent on to the high ground. Hold communication with all persons you see on the other side of the river, and make use of all other means to accomplish this end. If any of the information gathered should be of value in the movements of the army, let it be sent to me at once by telegraph.
MAY 4, 1863 - 8.10 a. m.
The enemy are advancing on Fredericksburg; reported to have possession of Orange Plank road. One brigade just reported advancing. Now, 8 a. m., a column reported coming on Telegraph road.
Major-General, Chief of Staff.
NEAR BANKS' FORD,
May 4, 1863 - 8.15 a. m.
There is a force, I judge a brigade, about 4 miles southeast by east from Banks' Ford, upon a hill. Open lot. Think road back of them.
E. S. ALLEN,
(Copy for General Sedgwick.)
MAY 4, 1863 - 8.20 a. m.
General BENHAM, or
Commanding Officer, Banks' Ford, Va.:
Have operator keep copies of all my dispatches to General Hooker and his to me, to be sent to General Sedgwick whenever communication is opened with him. Give instructions, and be careful that any dispatches sent him do not fall into enemy's hands. Advise me if you have any communication with him. If not, let us know the moment you can do so. Make efforts.
MAY 4, 1863 - 8.30 a. m.
I am occupying the same position as last night. The enemy made an attack on Howe; did not amount to much. I think I have made secure my communication with Banks' Ford. I think they will attempt to drive me back. I await instructions.
May 4, 1863 - 8.35 p. m.
Following just received from signal station, Fitzhugh house, 6 p. m.:
A large squad of cavalry has been opposite this point all day,, about 1 mile back from the river. Their horses have been kept saddled. I counted 180 of them. i