War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 0862 N. AND SE. VA., N.C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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country that we passed through to-day. Inform the general as to the success of your movements to-day. Give all information that you have of movements of the enemy. A small squad of rebel cavalry, numbering about fifty men, near the bridge over the Rockfish River. The roads here are much better than between Waynesborough ad Charlottesville.

Very respectfully,

JAS. W. FORSYTH,

Chief of Staff.

FIELD ORDERS,

ROCKFISH RIVER, Numbers 4.

March 6, 1865

Brevet Major-General MERRITT:

The major-general commanding directs that you move to-morrow on the tow-path of the canal, if possible, and send a party-rapidly in advance and secure the bridge over the James River at Bent Creek. The Third Cavalry Division will move to the railroad crossing on the Tye River. Open communication with it at that point. It is possible that the Third Division may move farther; however, open communication with it as before named.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. W. FORSYTH,

Brevet Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.

HOWARDSVILLE, VA., March 6, 1865.

Brevet Brigadier-General FORSYTH,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: I arrived at Scottsville without opposition at 3 p.m. Sent a force to destroy the aqueduct over Hardware River. Captured two loaded canal-boats at Scottsville, one with shell and other with stores. Cotton factory and mill destroyed. I left General Gibbs at Scottsville, with orders to move here to-night, in case Colonel Maxwell and the force sent to Hardware Aqueduct get in, otherwise to come here early in the morning. It is now 10.15 p.m. General Devin, just in, reports leaving his artillery a few miles back under guard of a regiment. The roads have been very heavy, but not so bad as between Staunton and Waynesboroug. The report is that Johnston is moving to Lynchburg with Beauregard's army; that Petersburg was evacuated day before yesterday; that the bridge over the James above is guarded, with the intention to burn it if we advance there. I expected to meet your communication parties here to-night when I got here. I will send a force at 2 o'clock in the morning to secure the bridge over the James, unless I hear something from you to countermand the order. There is no doubt, I think, of the evacuation of Petersburg. A great deal of loot has gone up the canal. I have destroyed all locks on the canal from Scottsville to here. It's slow work destroying the canal. A boat-load of stores was captured at this place (Howardsville). I saw fires in direction of party sent along the Rivanna. Seemed to be in direction of Palmyra. Gibbs had orders to destroy canal as much as possible. No enemy in sight, save 150 reported in rear. Have not troubled us any. Will await orders here.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. MERRITT,

Brevet Major-General.