crossing and diverging from the main road. The bridge on e first stream nearing Herndon is broken up. It is made of poles and easily repaired, and there is no difficulty in crossing the stream. The second stream is also bridged, but probably not sufficiently strong for artillery. The stream is fordable and no trouble need be anticipated. On nearing the railroad at both stations we discovered the enemy's pickets mounted. At Thornton's Mills they fired upon us, and the fire was returned. Having only a party of ten men, I did not deem it prudent to expose ourselves to an ambuscade, and having accomplished the object of the reconnaissance I returned.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
John G. PARKE,
Captain, Topographical Engineers
Major- General McCall,
OCTOBER 21, 1861.- Engagement at Ball's Bluff, Va.
Report of Lieutenant Walter M. Bramhall, new York Light Artillery.
AT THOMAS OXLEY'S HOUSE,
Near Conrad's Ferry, Md., October 24, 1861.
SIR: I beg to submit to you the following report of my participation in an engagement which took place on the Virginia shore of the Potomac opposite Harrison's Island on the 21st instant:
During the afternoon of the 20th Captain Vaughn, of the Third Rhode Island Battery, came down to my camp with one section of his battery, when the command of the artillery there, consisting of his one section and mine, devolved upon him. The night was passed without any alarm, and in the morning Captain Vaughn left to go to his camp at Poolesville, to attend to matters concerning his battery. During his absence, a bout 1 p. M. a courier arrived from General Baker, bidding us report with all dispatch to him upon the Maryland side of the Potomac, opposite Harrison's Island. Being the senior artillery officer four pieces, in less than half an hour. Here we were joined by Captain Vaughn, who soon left us, temporarily, to discover some point from whence to shell the enemy from our side with effect. At the time of our arrival but little firing was heard upon the opposite shore, and that only desultory. At about 2.30 p. M. however, the firing of musketry suddenly became very brisk, accompanied by occasional discharges of artillery. At this time General Baker who had been actively engaged in superintending the dispatch of re- enforcements, crossed himself, accompanied by but one officer, who, I am informed, was Major young, of his command, leaving word to forward the artillery with all dispatch. The means provided for this purpose consisted of two scows, manned with poles, and which, owing tot he swiftness of the current, consumed a great deal o time in the trip from the mainland to the island. Captain Vaughn not having yet returned, I took command and ordered he immediate embarkation of the pieces. I crossed with the first piece (which happened to be a Rhode Island piece) accompanied by Colonel Cogswell, of the Tammany regiment, arriving upon the island after a half hour's hard albore to keep the boat from floating down the stream. We ascended the strap bank, made soft and sloppy by the passage of the troops, and at a rapid gait crossed