HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA, ARMY OF THE JAMES,
In the Field, December, 15, 1864.
You will make a personal inspection immediately of the whole cavalry picket and vedette, and make a report of its position with reference to our line of works and the enemy's line, its strength in numbers and what changes, if any, are made in the vedettes and pickets at night. The report will be accompanied by a sketch, and sent in to-night if possible.
E. O. C. ORD,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION, In the Field, December 15, 1864.
Brigadier General JOHN W. TURNER,
Chief of Staff, Army of the James:
GENERAL: In obedience to orders received from the general commanding, I inspected the entire line of cavalry pickets and found no changes since my visit yesterday, the affair reported in the morning having been nothing more than an ambuscade to capture some of our vedettes. They succeeded in capturing one, and retired soon after. The accompanying sketch* will show the points required in the general's order, viz, the enemy's line of vedettes approximately; the line of works, and our line of cavalry and infantry pickets, and their position with reference to the entrenchments. The sketch is as complete as I could make in the time allowed, as it required all of daylight after receiving the order to make the personal inspection required. Each brigade commander has charge of a portion of the line in proportion to the strength of his command. Colonel Evans, Third Brigade, has nineteen mounted posts on the left, supported by twenty dismounted men posted in rear, in two detachments of ten each. Colonel West, First Brigade, has charge of the center, and has twenty-five mounted posts, and has thirty-nine dismounted men posted in little reserves of a corporal and three men in rear a short distance, to support the line. Colonel Spear, Second Brigade, has fourteen mounted posts mostly in open ground on the right, extending from near Fussell's Mill to Sweeny's, where the line rests on the slough formed by Four-Mile Creek and Bailey's Run. There are in fall-eight mounted posts, all in sight of each other; that is to say, each posts is visible from the posts on the right and left, and in addition are the dismounted men supporting the line on that portion held by the First and Third Brigades. Very little change is made in this line at night. Some posts that are more exposed than others are drawn back a little at night and advanced again in the morning. This was the case this morning when, in advancing that portion posted along the old of entrenchments to the Darbytown road, the enemy had during the night occupied the old works, and were cancellated behind them, and suddenly rushed out upon men and succeeded in seizing one of the horses by the bridle. Only a portion of the enemy's line of pickets is visible.