War of the Rebellion: Serial 045 Page 0742 N. C, VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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toward Little Washington and Sperryville. Merritt's dispatch, at 10 a. m., says he is sorely pressed at Manassas Gap; thinks they are trying to feel him, the roads about Manassas Gap being impracticable for either army for artillery. Merritt says large trains have been seen passing through Front Royal toward Chester Gap. I cannot contend against the heavy force to any purpose. Shall confine myself to watching movements, &c.

The guerrillas are very numerous hereabouts; to-day killed a sergeant who was out with a small party foraging for the section I have here. A patrol of 9 captured the mail that Lieutenant [James H.] Wade's orderly lost. The orderly is safe in our lines, having escaped when the guard with him was chased. I sent to Warrenton to-day, and find no troops there. Yesterday a detachment of Heintzelman's cavalry passed through and returned. The train I have (almost empty) is a nuisance. I cannot leave it without a strong guard. I shall send the train with a guard about half way to Warrenton to-night; send to Merritt to fall back to Orleans; Gamble to hold his own, and shall join Merritt myself with Devin's available force to-night. I feel convinced that Longstreet is marching direct to Culpeper or Gordonsville. Rumors that I get say Gamble has captured about 500 head of beef-cattle. I would like to know something of the army's movements, and more of what I am expected to do. I shall take three day's rations for the command that will be in the vicinity of Orleans. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. BUFORD,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY RESERVE BRIGADE, Manassas Gap, July 22, 1863-6 p. m.

Colonel [C. Ross SMITH?]:

I am occupying the Gap. Have made frequent reports to headquarters through General Buford. Find the enemy in strong position at the west end of the Gap. Penetrated within 3 miles of Front Royal yesterday, but retired my advance about 1 mile, mainly because there is no position for artillery ahead as far as I can get. Had two small fights yesterday, and have been skirmishing more or less all day. Used the artillery freely this morning. The enemy show no disposition to advance, save by turning my flanks. Columns of cavalry are reported moving down the Valley to Front Royal from Winchester, and large wagon trains have been seen on same road.

[W. MERRITT,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.]

HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY BRIGADE, At Hillsborough, July 22, 1863-7 p. m.

Captain A. J. COHEN,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

The ferry and ford at Key's Ferry is too deep to be crossed with safety; it is not fordable. The enemy picket down to the ferry on the opposite side. From persons living on the Shenandoah, I ascer-