FIRST AUDITOR'S OFFICE, April 21, 1864.
Honorable J. A SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Several gentlemen left Essex yesterday and report that a large Yankee fleet has ascended the Rapphannock River, about-twenty miles below Tappahannock, and had sent in advance a machine which appeared to be hunting for torpedoes. The information can be relied on. The gentlemen who brought it will call on you, if you wish it.
Your obedient servant,
JOHN A. PARKER.
CHAFFIN'S BLUFF, April 21, 1864.
Major T. O. CHESTNEY,
The following dispatch has just been received:
Scouts from Norfolk report that Burnside left Portsmouth on the 14th instant, with 10,000 men, toward Weldon. Three regiments are at Norfolk and Portsmuth, 500 men at Yorktown, one regiment at Gloucester. Kilptaric is on the Potomac. A small force remains at Fort Monroe. Two companies are at Newport News. The troops that were there have gone to re-enforce Burnside.
Lieutenant, at Swynyard's.
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
April 22, 1864.
GENERAL: Another scout (young Ransom) has just returned from the Valley. He is now here. I will give you his facts as briefly as they will admit of. He left the vicinity of Charlestown yesterday, 2 a. m., and his news from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is to the night of the 20th. The Ninth Corps passed over the road about the last of March and 1st of April, since which time he feels confident that no organized corps has passed, nor any westward. He says, however, that since the passage of the Ninth troops have been going eastward and westward about equally. The impression among the people is that veterans are coming east and new troops going west. He says very few troops are now at Harper's Ferry (one regiment infantry and two companies of cavalry). He seems very positive that Eleventh and Twelfth Corps have not passed, and I thought he could better explain orally the reasons for his belief, though one man thought they had (without an assignalbereason). They could have gone by way of Harrisburg, but, judging from an order* I inclose, they were on the 6th of April still with Sherman. The First New York Cavalry re-enlisted 195 out of 400 effective, the remainder refusing. In Wheaton's brigade of Sixth Corps very few re-enlisted, not half. In inclose a slip* brought by Ransom about McDowell. I dont' know him. The Yankee spy had better be looked after. Ransom says Averell is now on a raid. He started on the 12th with amixed force of cavalry and infantry, estimated at from 2,000 to 6,000, but returned on the 14th to Martinsburg. From that time till 19th he was occupied to all appearances in extensive preparations for a big raid and on 19th marched toward Romney. A considerable force had been concentrating at NewCreek to co-operate with