DECEMBER 6, 1863-6 p. m.
General W. MERRITT,
Commanding First Cavalry Division, Culpeper, Va.:
GENERAL: Major Scott has just returned and reports as follows. His written report will be sent as soon as received: The cavalry went through James City, drove out a few pickets there, cleared out the signal station on Thrughfare Mountain. Went as far as Robertson's River and ascertained satifactory that the enemy have no force on this side the Rapidan, except a few very small scouting parties. The Second Virginia Cavalry is picketing on the other bank of the Rapidan. General Fitzhugh Lee's division of cavalry is reported to be at Wickham's Mills, six miles this side of Orange Court-House. No force in Madison Court-House, and one had been there lately. Small forage trains and are frequently passing to and fro in search of forage. Lieutenant Emmons reports that although the pickets on the left are within hailing distance with Colonel Chapman's right in the day, [they] are open at night, and he has closed them up so as to be close together at day and night.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
[29.] Colonel, Commanding, &c.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY RESERVE BRIGADE,
December 7, 1863-9 p. m.
[Brigadier General W. MERRITT:]
GENERAL: Major Scott, First New York Dragoons, with a squadron of this regiment went out this p. m. try and capture some of the signal party on Thoroughfare Mountain. He found about his own force there of the enemy prepared, dismounted, to receive him. He charged and ran off the whole party, but could not get any of them. He, however, brought in their signal flag, which I send by the bearer, not from its intrinsic value, but with the hope that its loss may cause some of the rebel fair sex to sleep cooler to-night.
[29.] Colonel, &c.
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, DEPT. OF WEST VIRGINIA,
Charleston, W. Va., December 8, 1863.
SIR: You will move with all your mounted troops and one section Simmonds' battery this p. m., en route for Lewisburg, timing your march so as to reach Gauley to-morrow evening, and encamp on the Tompkins farm, two miles and a half above the bridge. The troops will take hard bread, sugar, coffee, and salt for three days. The same rations for seven days will be transported under the direction of the division quartermaster; forty rounds ammunition to be taken in cartridge-boxs and sixty to be transported by wagon. Send immediately to this office report of number of men with which you can move, and number for duty remaining in camp.
By command of Brigadier-General Scammon:
JAS. L. BOTSFORD,
[29.] Assistant Adjutant-General.