HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS,
November 14, 1863.
The reconnaissances have been ordered.
Major-General, Commanding Cavalry Corps.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
November 14, 1863-11 p. m. (Received 1 a. m., 15th.)
Major-General MEADE, Washington:
Information received this evening shows that some movement of the enemy is on foot. Three contrabands reached headquarters this afternoon who had crossed the Rapidan 2 miles above Germanna Ford (at Mitchell's Ford). They state that they heard their master say yesterday afternoon that he had been to Mitchell's or Morton's Ford, and had found no troops there, and that the army was falling back; that Rodes' division fell back last night, moving toward Orange Court-House; that they overheard an officer say to their master that if he wanted to keep his negroes, he had better carry them off at once, as the army was falling back.
A deserter from the Fifteenth North Carolina, Rode's division, was brought to headquarters this evening. He states that he deserted early last night. His regiment was on picket at Raccoon Foird yesterday, and at night moved off without being relieved. That the orderly that brought the order to move said that cavalry pickets would take their place. That the brigade had already marched, and that the whole division was in motion. He says they moved toward some court-house, but does not know whether it was Spotsylvania Court-House or Orange Court-House. Believes the whole army has fallen back. This deserter came into Kilpatrick's pickets. General Davies' report, just received, corroborates these statements. he states the enemy's pickets are not so numerous as they were yesterday, and their infantry posts have been relieved by cavalry, and he believes that their main force has been withdrawn from the river.
There was a good deal of noise about midnight on the other side of the river and at Morton's Ford; reveille was at 3 o'clock this morning, and the noise of wheels and the shouting of men was heard. The cavalry on our front is ordered to push reconnaissances close in on the enemy not later than daylight to-morrow morning.
Gregg is ordered to send a strong scouting party toward Hartwood Church and United States Ford. The corps are ordered to hold themselves in readiness to move at very short notice. They have four days' forage and about twelve days' rations on hand. Of these rations, from three to four days' are of salt meat.
The atmosphere has been so hazy all day the signal officer on Pony Mountain has not been able to see anything. No scouts have returned; other scouts have been ordered out on both flanks.
If the enemy is falling back, it is not from any military necessity, but in consequence of a policy adopted at Richmond. If he is making a flank movement, our left as well as our right has been looked after. Our left offers some inducements to a concealed movement.
A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General, and Chief of Staff.