dents, and from inspection, the river is very low, and can be crossed at numerous places by small bodies, and at the principal fords, in which should be included Banks's, United States, Richards', Ellis', Kemper's, and Kelly's, by infantry, cavalry, and artillery. I beg leave, however, on this point, to refer to Captain Comstock, who took notes, and whom I have desired to prepare a memorandum upon these crossing-places, to present to the commanding general.
The instructions of the commanding general required I should prevent the crossing of the enemy at Banks', United States, Richards', and Kelly's Fords. He will see that Ellis' and Kemper's, both good fords, not included in his instructions, are guarded. I desire also to call his attention to the back that there are two fords at Banks', each of which have to be defended,separated some half a mile, and, as before stated, there are many crossing-places which, if undefended,the enemy could cross infantry to attack in reverse the forces holding the principal fords.
The necessity of guarding so many points requiring detachments has weakened the forces at the main points; so that while I believe the enemy can be checked and delayed in any atemption to cross, yet I do not think his crossing can be prevented if he is determined at any sacrifice to force a passage. It was for this reason I have suggested assigning the Second Division of my corps to this duty, and asked for additional batteries.
I should have mentioned that, in accordance with the suggestion of the commanding general, a reserve of three regiments are posted at Morrisville, to watch and resist any attempt of the enemy crossing above Kelly's Ford, and coming down the Warrenton road. A battery which has been placed at Richards' Ford (where it is not absolutely essential) has been ordered to Morrisville since the commanding general has signified indisposition to increase the artillery.
I beg leave to refer to the report of Captain Comstock, * for the details as to the proposed temporary obstructions and defenses at each point.
GEO. G. MEADE,
STONEMAN'S SWITCH, May 31, 1863.
Chief of Staff:
I sent a dispatch last evening from Deep Run, inclosing one from General Buford, reporting the destruction of Bristoe Station bridge, and giving his contemplated movements. I also reported the adequacy of my one division to defend all the crossing-places and prevent the enemy from coming over. I applied for authority to move Sykes' division, and asked for three batteries of light twelve to report to General Barnes.
Has this dispatch been received, and what action does the commanding general propose to take on my suggestions?
GEO. G. MEADE,