were on their routes, or needing repairs, and the quartermaster reported some 12 tons as our whole stock of coal. Commodore Davenport kindly gave us all he had, and the wheels are still in motion.
The Twelfth Cavalry had to be sent to relieve the Third, causing additional travel and consuming time. At the first, I confess I began to despair, since so much transportation is called for, cavalry and artillery.
The Spaulding arrived, and I shall send time companies of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts and two of cavalry upon this vessel. The Vedette arrived this evening. She is being repaired, and will leave early in the morning with a schooner in tow for Elizabeth City, with cavalry. The Patuxent is due in a few hours, I believe. The Pilot Boy will be due to-morrow evening with the Twenty- fifth Massachusetts from Washington. A tug was sent off with orders for all vessels, and they will be hurried off as rapidly as our facilities will admit.
Dr. Rice, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, was captured yesterday, and his orderly also. Some of our pickets at Little Washington have been bagged. I have very little confidence in the Twelfth Cavalry, and hope you will be able to send back the Third Regiment again.
One of the companies of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts constitutes the garrison of Fort Gaston, and is well instructed in artillery. Having nothing to replace it with, I have retained it.
Our sick-list is very large, indeed, and does not run down, as I anticipated, with the advance of the season.
The small-pox has materially reduced our stock of lumber, by producing a scarcity of hands, but orders have been given to press the mills for your wants at Fort Monroe.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN J. PECK,
Fort Magruder, Va., October 23, 1863.
Brigadier General I. J. WISTAR,
GENERAL: Upon the occasion of passing Mrs. Lee out of the lines yesterday, I deemed it expedient to send out a scouting party in advance, as far as the Nine-Mile Ordinary. This I did, because upon a former occasion, I sent a small party out, and afterward heard that if we did the same thing again the expedition would come to grief. They said of us that we were too cowardly to come out upon any other occasion than when ladies accompanied us. It was well that I sent a good strong party, 1 officer and 50 men, for they were set upon going out by guerrillas and returning they wee drawn into an going out by guerrillas, and returning they were drawn into an ambush by a party, how strong it was not known, at Six-Mile ordinary. A considerable volley was delivered into the flank of the column as it was moving along the road. Telegraph were had been stretched across the road to trip their horses as they returned. No one was hurt, which all parties agree in representing as miraculous.
I should like extremely well to make a dash to-morrow morning up the road with some cavalry and infantry, say about 100 of each, not to go beyond the Nine-Mile Ordinary, and see if these fellows