About the middle of December, when there was every prospect
of remaining in our present quarters for the winter, several of the regiments of the Second Brigade were moved to new and better ground, and an order published regulating the formation of camps and the size of huts, &c.:
The houses for the men will be built of logs or poles six feet long, set upon end, or if sunk in the ground, seven feet long; gable ends facing the picket-line; chimneys on left side or facing the front of the camp; houses to be covered with sheltertents, and four men will occupy one house.
In the Third Brigade no general orders were given respecting the size of huts, but in each case left to the regimental commander. The medical and line officers were generally attentive to the hygienic condition of the camps. None of the regiments were camped in woods, but all in open ground, which in my opinion is by far the most preferable for winter camps.
On November 19 I issued a circular directing that in each brigade the surgeon-in-chief should detail by rester, weekly, a medical officer to inspect the brigade and send to him a written report of the condition of the regiments, which report was to be forwarded to the surgeon-in-chief of division. By this means I hoped to create a spirit of emulation among the officers of the different regiments, and also to keep myself informed of the condition of the division weekly, both of all improvements in hygiene, &c., and inattention on the part of medical officers. These were, of course, in addition to my own inspections, which were made at least monthly. I also gave special directions about the keeping of records, which had to a considerable extent been neglected during the summer, and in the manner of keeping which there was no uniformity through the division. During the month we had number of men killed and wounded while on picket and scout. Many of these cases were wounds from buckshot, some musket and pistol balls. Twenty wounded were received in hospital during the month. In November the division hospital constantly improved in conveniences, comforts, and neatness. A new ward was established, chimneys completed, wards partially floored, and drainage provided for. During the month 203 cases were admitted and ninety cases sent to Cavalry Corps hospital at City Point. Many of the cases were of severe type, fevers, chronic diarrhea, and a few cases of pneumonia. The monthly reports for November exhibit a very marked diminution of cases of acute diarrhea, dysentery, and malarial fevers, and an increase in chronic diarrheas, bronchitis, catarrh, pneumonia, and tonsillitis.
On December 1, at an early hour of the morning, the whole division, except a few detachments left on picket, moved out on an expedition to Stony Creek Station. Fifteen ambulances accompanied the command, but no supply wagons, as we expected to return the same evening. We started from camp at 4 a. m. and proceeded by Lee's Mill to the plank road. At the mill we found the bridge burned and were delayed some time, building a new one. We moved down the plank road about three miles, then turned to the right crossed Jones' Hole Swamp and came to the Rowanty, where we found the enemy in some force, but they were driven across before they had time to destroy the bridge. The Third Brigade was left here to hold the brigade while the other two pushed on to the railroad at Duval' Station. The First Brigade remained here to hold the Halifax road, while the Second Brigade pushed on and soon came in view of Stony Creek Station. They found on the opposite side of the creek a strong earth-work,