HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Baltimore Store, July 2, 1863-11 a. m.
GENERAL: If you desire to make a dash at Bottom`s Bridge tomorrow, please send out to-night 8 or 10 head of good beef-cattle, to be killed out here this evening. West now occupies the position I occupied last night. The tail of his column was just leaving as I got orders back to him. I will send another regiment to him to-night, and start the advance at the same time the main body leave here, 6 o`clock to-morrow morning. I shall feel very secure without a train. Beyond this there can be no safety for a train, as it would be easy to cut it at a great number of points. I think, therefore, the troops should make a dash and return the same day. I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. KEYES,
Major-General, Commanding Fourth Corps.
P. S. - Your note received. I think I am in the best place to prevent the enemy from going down the Peninsula, but I have no idea that he will undertake to do that at present.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS, Fort Yorktown, VA., July 15, 1863.
SIR: In obedience to your verbal orders, I left the White House on the morning of July 1, with a force of artillery, infantry, and cavalry, amounting in all to a trifle less than 6, 000 men, to operate near Bottom`s Bridge. My orders were not to destroy Bottom`s Bridge, nor the railroad bridge, but to engage the enemy with a view to detain him while General Getty, with another column, should proceed to destroy the bridges across the South Anna River, and to cut the railroads above Richmond. Accordingly, Colonel West, with three regiments of infantry, one four-gun battery, and 150 cavalry, marched well in advance at 5 a. m., and I followed later with the main body, comprised of Terry`s brigade, Porter`s brigade, two of McKnight`s batteries, and detachments of the Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry and Sixth New York Cavalry. The roads were muddy, the weather oppressive, and the march to Baltimore Cross-Roads, which was about 10 miles by the route taken, was one of the most fatiguing I have made on this Peninsula. Nearly all the ambulances were filled; and as the enemy`s pickets increased rapidly in numbers. I ordered a halt of the whole force for a rest, in lines of battle, with vedettes and skirmishers thrown out about a mile in advance of the main line. I found the position a good one against a front attack, but the roads leading round to the right an left of the main road come in from near Bottom`s Bridge on both flanks and in rear, so that there are not 100 yards of the whole circuit at the Cross-Roads upon which the enemy could not come in with about equal facility, and attack as suddenly from the cover of woods. As soon as the men were refreshed, I ordered Colonel West to push forward his advance, and at dark to bivouac at a point a little more