below that point. The river is fordable for infantry at Ely's Ford, also at two fords located 2 and 3 miles above Ely's. The roads on this side the river leading to it are in excellent condition, and afford every facility for the passage of troops. In addition to this the signal officer reports great activity among the rebels in the vicinity of Morton's Ford. they could be plainly seen throwing up earth-works and placing guns in position.
This I consider reliable, as a portion of it came under my personal observation.
Very respectfully, &c.,
G. A. CUSTER,
HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, THIRD DIV., CAVALRY CORPS,
November 20, 1863-6 p. m.
Colonel C. ROSS SMITH,
Chief of Staff:
From examination made by an excellent officer of my command, and from citizens who have lived many years in the immediate vicinity of the Rapidan, I learn the following facts:
Ely's Ford is one of the best fords on the river, and artillery can be crossed with the utmost facility. Three miles above Ely's Ford there is a ford known as Hall's, which is an excellent ford, over which artillery can be passed. At this point the enemy have thrown up three small rifle-pits, but they are of trifling importance. At a point about one-half mile above Hall's Ford is a private ford, known as Humphreys' Ford, that is a good ford for infantry, but too rocky and narrow for artillery. One mile below Ely's Ford there is a ford called Urquhart's Ford, which will afford a passage for infantry and has been used for wagons, but it is not a good ford. There is a road running almost parallel with the river from Germanna to Ely's Ford, at an average distance of 1 1/2 miles from the river. Hall's Ford can be plainly seen from Ely's Ford.
G. A. CUSTER,
Brigadier General, Commanding Second Brigadier, Third Div., Cav. Corps.
November 20, [1863.]
Our scouts just returned from Twelve-Mile Ordinary report that Pickett is coming down to retaliate, which is my earnest wish. I can hold my Williamsburg line against at least 10,000 men with no heavier artillery than we have a right to apprehend. I have small hopes of such a movement by Pickett, but if so, are there sufficient troops and transportation to throw a force in his rear? A very small force would be safe, as I will press him very close in front.
I. J. WISTAR,