in force opposite Snicker's Gap leaves me in doubt of the intention of the commanding general to move me in case he is in force. I have, in anticipation that the move will be ordered, directed General Sykes to withdraw from the gap his division and to post General Tyler's brigade for its defense; Sykes then to move his command to this place prepared to march at a moment's notice; Humphryes' division to remain here to secure the pass, but prepared to move at a moment's notice; Butterfield to be ready to move at short notice to-morrow morning; following Sykes. My design is, if directed to move, to leave Humphreys here, but to follow the following day. Shall be prepared to carry out the instructions returned by the bearer, Captain McQuade. I have trains on the road to-night and to-morrow from Harper's Ferry with provisions and clothing which could not be obtained earlier. I do not like to leave the route uprotected till they return. The force I know to be opposite consists of at least five regiments (large) and a battry of ten guns. These regiments have been in or near the road to Berryville all day, and the battery posted to sweep the ford and part of the road on this side of the river. The battery relieved a battery of eight guns early this morning, the latter retiring to a camp behind timber. Four regiments moved to the river-bank this morning and the same number were seen to withdraw. The woods into which they went have been full of men all day. A large camp (wall-tents, shelter-tents, and A tents, and about twenty wagons) has been visible all day and men moving in it. This camp is partly in the woods, and has been visible all the time. Cavalry has been on the road all day in small parties, and the same men on picket yesterday returned to-day. These regiments and other parties have been seen by several pesons from different points. If the batteries are not if there I think it impurdent to move without leaving Humphreys. If the trains get up, and the commanding general designs abandoning this line, Humphreys and the Forty-fourth can join by night march, sending the wagons in advance with the rest of the column. The party sent to Ashby's Gap along ridge road has not returned. I have about twelve wounded men, some badly. I expect Captain McQuade to return by daybreak, w hichw ill be time enough for me to issue the necessary orders to move, being prepared.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. J. PORTER,
SPECIAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS, Numbers 168.
Camp near Snickersville, Va., November 4, 1862.
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4. Brigadier-General Sykes will at daybreak withdraw his division from the position now occupied by it in Snicker's Gap, posting in its place, for the defense of the gap, the brigade of General Humphreys' division, now on the Blue Ridge, giving to the latter such information and instructions as shall govern it until the command of it shall be resumed by General Humphreys. General Sykes will then march his command to Snickersville, and there bivouac in readiness to march at short notice. General Humphreys will resume command of the brigade
*For reply, see Colburn to Porter, November 5, 1.20 a. m., VOL. XIX, Part II, p. 546.