at one time some seven regiments assigned to his command to assist his brigade while in this vicinity, and I myself have frequently had assigned as my assisting force some 4, 000 to 8, 000 additional troops; while their efficiency and my own must have been most manifestly greatly increased if these assignments had been for a permanence, when the officers could have known and have been prepared to obey their general, and when I could have known and selected the proper portions of the command for these often most difficult, delicate, and dangerous operations of war.
I trust, therefore, that the proposition for the assignment of two brigades of infantry, two batteries of artillery, and two squadrons of cavalry, to the aid and protection of the engineer Brigade in its operations as an advance corps of this army, may be favorably considered by the commanding general. I feel well assured they cannot be assigned to any higher or more effective military duty with an active army of operations.
The proper use of such a force, I am well aware, will be a most dangerous and responsible duty, but it is a danger and responsibility that I would cheerfully meet for the efficient service of the country.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
H. W. Benham,
FAIRFAX, August 3, 1863.
The following just received:
Fairfax Court-House has been surrounded all day by Mosby's guerrillas. Every team going down and returning has been captured. They are 200 strong. They are trying to get to the mountains with their booty.
MOSES SWEETER, Storekeeper.
A. H. Grimshaw,
ALEXANDRIA, August 3, 1863.
Several sutlers were captured yesterday 4 miles this side of Fairfax Court-House by guerrillas. We have a man here who was one of the captured party, and can identify them. They were not soldiers. We understand that Colonel Forney has charge of that business. We will forward the man to you, if you wish. He is perfectly acquainted with al the roads in that vicinity.
H. H. Wells,
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, August 3, 1863-5. 30 p. m.
Major-general Couch and Brigadier-general Kelley, Chambersburg, Pa.:
The command of the troops belonging to your department, now in Maryland or on the Potomac, above the Monocacy, will be turned