HEADQUARTERS SIXTH CORPS, Numbers 2.
February 2, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel N. Bowen having reported at these headquarters in obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 37, from the Adjutant-General's Office, is hereby announced as assistant adjutant-general of the Sixth Corps. He will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
By order of Brigadier-General Brooks:
JAMES A. SCRYMSER,
Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
February 3, 1863.
General D. BUTTENFIELD,
Chief of Staff:
SIR: I submit, as desired, a notice of the places on the Rappahannock River between Skinker's Neck and the United States Ford, which have been examined as possible places for crossing Skinker's Neck. The river at this place bends irregularly through three-fourths of a circle for nearly a mile radius, giving a neck a mile and a half across. The peninsula so inclosed is generally low, not more than ten or twenty feet above the river, but on the northwest side of the Neck the ground rises abruptly from the river to a height of 100 feet, and this high ground runs like a spur into the peninsula, as shown on the sketch herewith. The edge of this bluff is about 1,800 yards from the best place for crossing, and as it curves around is surmounted by six earth-works, some of which look like simple artillery parapets, and some like redans or closed works. In front of this line, on the slope of the hill, are long rifle-pits. The bluff sees nearly the whole of the peninsula, and while occupied in force by the enemy would make the crossing of very doubtful practicability. On our side of the river the ground is generally a plateau, forty or fifty feet above the river, rising into hills from half a mile to a mile and a half back from the river. The bluff referred to is higher than anything on our side within a mile and a half of it. On the opposite side of the river the ground rises rather rapidly from the river bottom to wooded hills, which come close to the river above and below the Neck. The approach to the crossing on this side for 200 yards from the river is through a wooded marsh. The peninsula is generally cleared.
Seddon's and Hayfields.-On the opposite side of the river the plateau is some forty feet above the water, slopes gradually down to it, and is from half a mile to a mile and a half in width, rising then to wooded hills, of which the slopes toward us are generally cleared. On this side the plateau is of about the same height, also cleared, and opposite Hayfields descends abruptly to the river bottom. Near Seddon's the hills narrow the plateau on our side, coming within half a mile of the river. The high ground near Seddon's and the gentle slope from the river up to the plateau on the other side, that slope being thoroughly seen from this side, are the main advantages of this place. Some of the objectious are, first, that at the place proposed for the lower bridges a mass of woods on the bank of the river is occupied by the enemy, and they would have to be driven from it before these bridges could be built; second, on the other shore the Port Royal road, running nearly parallel to the river and half a mile from it, gives in places a good defensive line; third, at a mile from the proposed upper bridges a spur with