asserted that they so intended. Information has been received showing that Ashby's Gap is strongly defended or the ford opposite. An attempt will be made to carry it and a reconnaissance will be pushed that way to-day from Upperville. As the ridge directly in your front is part of the one in which the gap is, General McClellan isanxious to have the ridge examined as far as infantry can do so, to ascertain its character for infantry and artillery movements. I went about two miles on it from Snicker's Gap and found a ridge road, finally branching east and west. He desires to know if troops can move along the ridge. Can you do anything to get this information? My cavalry are all out in front on a reconnaissance, but to-morrow I will be able to push beyond where the infantry (if you send out a small party) goes to-day. This party may see the enemy's motions if they hae a glass and pick up their cavalry pickets. I just learn that two or three brigades are moving back to Berryville; I presume relieved of guard at ford. I have given you all the news in my possession.
F. J. PORTER,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH CORPS,
November 3, 1 862-10 p. m.
General Porter directs that in case no order shall reach you before reveille to move your command, you are to send a party of about forty men along the ridge to the Trap road about four miles from this place. At this point the general and myself saw fires this afternoon. The ridge road is reported practicable as far as Ashby's Gap, and it is at this time highly important to determine whether or not this is the case, since this road will probably be used in the taking of Ashby's Gap to-morrow or the next day. This party must move with the expectation of meeting some of the enemy's pickets and make their best endeavor to capture them. This afternoon the general and myself rode along the ridge and met the advance of your reconnaissance with thirty men as we returned. This reconnaissance was not pushed far enough. Do not make the catching of the pickets and especial object, but make the reconnaissance quietly with the view of determining whether or not the Trap road is occupied by the enemy or not.
Your obedient servant,
ALEX. S. WEBB,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
November 3, 1862.
Major General A. E. BURNSIDE:
General Couch has been ordered to move to Upperville from his present position, he now having one division at Bloomfield and two at Snickersville. You will please move Whipple's division and the Ninth Corps by the most direct roads to the vicinity of Upperville, resting your right on the pike near that place, and so posting the troops as to be able to support Couch at Ashby's Gap, as well as to cover Paris and the turnpike from the south. Please order General Stoneman to the vicinity of Middleburg to communicate with General Schurz, who is to be at Thoroughfare Gap to-day. Porter remains at Snicker's Gap