HARTWOOD, August 31, 1863.
Colonel C. ROSS SMITH,
Chief of Staff:
The enemy's scouting parties come up the river, on this side, to within 4 miles of Falmouth last evening. They fell back during the night. All quiet this morning.
HDQRS. MIDDLE DEPT., 8TH ARMY CORPS, Numbers 44. Baltimore, Md., August 31, 1863.
Having returned from my temporary absence, I hereby resume command of the Middle Department, Eighth Army Corps.
ROBT. C. SCHENK,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.
NORFOLK, August 31, 1863-2. 45 p. m.
You advised me there was none of the enemy on the Peninsula to prevent a movement in the direction toward Urbanna. Now you advise me there is considerable force at Gloucester. My advice comes through you in relation to the above. Onderdonk can go in no other way than to cross directly to Gloucester; to go by Dudley's Ferry, he could not be crossed alone in a week. If there is a large force in Gloucester, we can do nothing in Matthews County, for we could not send Onderdonk there without holding Gloucester with a strong force of infantry and artillery until he could return. We have not the disposable force.
YORKTOWN, VA., August 31, 1863.
My intelligence is contradictory, of course. I send you the best I can get, changing from time to time. It is certain some force of rebel cavalry left Urbanna Friday night, and that a force, probably the same, crossed at West Point Saturday morning, going toward Richmond. Cannot hear any news of Emerson Miller's three companies excepting they sent off a number of conscripts. Onderdonk will go direct to Matthews Court-House to-morrow at daylight, unless forbidden. The gunboat will co-operate. I have a guide in view. I think he is about three days too late.
I. J. WISTAR,