War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0545 Chapter XLI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION,

December 5, 1863.

Colonel C. ROSS SMITH,

Chief of Staff:

COLONEL: Captain Sweitzer, commanding First Cavalry, on picket last night, made the report about wagons, &c., that I sent you this morning. As he did not hear the noise himself, I did not attach much importance to the report. The reconnaissance I sent out toward Madison Court-House as soon as I got this report went on very slowly, and the reports sent in are not satisfactory. The squadron went as far as within a mile and a half of James City, but saw nothing save some few scouts on the road. I have ordered out a strong force in that direction which will send reports early to-morrow.

I cannot, with my present force, picket Robertson's River. My line as now posted is 20 miles long. The object desired could be effected by doing as I did when here before-send scouting parties well to the right front on the principal roads. A brigade of cavalry could not insure the safety of a station at Thoroughfare Mountain. It is isolated and the enemy could surround it.

W. MERRITT,

Brigadier-General.

HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, SIGNAL DEPT.,

December 5, 1863.

Major-General HUMPHREYS,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: The following report has just been received, and is respectfully forwarded:

PONY MOUNTAIN SIGNAL STATION,

December 5, 1863-4.50 p.m.

Captain NORTON:

It has been too foggy all day to see along the Rapidan. A staff officer of General Merritt's reports the enemy moving cavalry, artillery, and infantry toward Criglersville.

CASTLE,

Captain, and Signal Officer.

Very respectfully, &c.,

L. B. NORTON,

Captain, and Chief Signal Officer, A. P.

HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,

December 5, 1863-5.30 p.m.

Colonel C. ROSS SMITH,

Chief of Staff:

The enemy have been skirmishing all the day with my pickets near Raccoon and Somerville Fords. The skirmishing was very slight until this evening, when an attempt was made by the rebels to drive my reserves back; it failed, however, the enemy being driven back by my men in splendid style. I had 6 men wounded. The line is all quiet at this moment.

Very respectfully,

G. A. CUSTER,

Brigadier-General.

35 R R-VOL XXIX, PT II