HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, SIGNAL DEPT., December 23, 1863-3.55 p.m.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: In reply to an inquiry of mine, concerning the last report from Pony Mountain, the signal officer on that station reports that-
The camps at Morton's and Raccoon Fords appear as usual, but those between the two fords have disappeared. Camp smokes appear this morning about a mile to the rear of where the camps were.
Very respectfully, &c.,
L. B. NORTON,
Captain, and Chief Signal Officer, A. P.
HDQRS. EIGHTY-THIRD PA. VOLS., MEDICAL DEPT., December 23, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the facts and circumstances as far as I am able relative to the death of Dr. Jared Free, assistant surgeon Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was killed in an encounter with guerrillas on the 10th of December, 1863.
Dr. Jared Free joined the regiment on the 26th of June, 1863, at Frederick City, Md., when the army was on the march to Gettysburg, Pa. He participated in the battle of Gettysburg, and after the battle was retained at the First Division (Fifth Corps), hospital, where he remained until some time in September, when he rejoined the regiment at Beverly Ford, since which time until the time of his death he had been on duty with the regiment.
On the 10th of December, 1863, Dr. Free, accompanied by E. W. Bettis, quartermaster sergeant, went to the country, in charge of 20 guards and three wagons, for lumber. The pass granting them permission did not arrive at these headquarters very early in the morning, and the wagons started in advance, while Dr. Free, E. W. Bettis, quartermastger sergeant, and guard remained behind awaiting permision from brigade headquarters. By the time the pass returned from brigade headquarters, the wagons had proceeded some distance on the road toward Kelly's Ford. Dr. Free, E. W. Bettis, quartermaster sergeant, and guard followed in the direction of Kelly's Ford, whiter they supposed the wagons had gone. But on the way they met a wagon and some guards of the Forty-fourth New York Volunteers. The guard informed them that the Eighty-third wagons had gone up to Mount Holly Church. Dr. Free and party proceeded to Mount Holly Church, and were informed by some soldiers of the Forty-fourth New York Volunteers that the Eighty-third wagons had gone in the direction of the old camping ground near Captain Payne's.
Dr. Free and party concluded to take a near cut across the ravine and strike, the road at the nearest point. They passed down into the ravine without molestation, but found the opposite side of the hill too difficult of ascent, so they dismounted and followed the path up the ravine until they would come to a place that they could ascend. While following this path they were attacked by a band of guerrillas, who came rushing down the hill, at the same time ordering the quartermaster sergeant to hald and surrender, or they would blow his brains out; but notwithstanding their threats he quickly