War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 0832 N. AND SE.VA., W.VA.,MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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Major-General WEITZEL:

General Gibbon would like you to send him a little sketch of your picket-line on the left, and he suggests that you strengthen the reserves of your picket-line on the left to-night.


Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.

CITY POINT, VA., March 4, 1865.

Colonel S. H. ROBERTS,

Commanding Third Brigadier, Third Div., Twenty-fourth Army Corps:

With your brigade and the cavalry ordered to report to you, you will proceed up the Rappahannock River as far as you may deem it safe and expedient to go on transports. You will then debark and proceed by land as rapidly as possible to Fredericksburg, Va., and capture the place, if not too strongly defended. Two army and two navy gun-boats are ordered to accompany the expedition. They are authorized to assemble in the Rappahannock in advance of the expedition. You will ascertain at Fort Monroe, however, whether they have gone forward, and if they have not you will not proceed without them. In advancing up the river be careful that no transport precedes the leading convoy. When you leave the transports you will place a small guard on the river-bank for their protection in the absence of the expeditionary force. It is understood that a very considerable contraband trade is carried on across the Potomac by what is known as the Northern Neck and through Fredericksburg into Richmond. The object of your expedition is to break this up as far as possible. If you succeed in reaching Fredericksburg you will seize or destroy all property which you have good reason to believe is being used in barter for unauthorized articles of trade between the rebel armies and the Northern cities. You will also destroy the railroad depot and as much of the road back toward Richmond as you can. After having accomplished this you are authorized to go to any point where information you may receive may lead you to suppose goods can be found which are in transit either north or south. All such will be either seized or destroyed. You will also arrest and bring with you all persons you know to be engaged, directly or indirectly, in smuggling or trading between the North and South. You will not unnecessarily disturb peaceful and quiet citizens, but you will take from the country such supplies and forage as may be necessary for your command. You will also destroy all accumulation of supplies of whatever description as you may have reason to believe are being collected for the use of the enemy. Having accomplished the object of the expedition you are sent upon you will return with your command to the place of starting. If you find that it would be advantageous, after doing all you can from your first landing, to go elsewhere on the Potomac or tributaries, you are authorized to use your transports for that purpose.