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Doc. 154. reconnoissance to Occoquan River, November 12, 1861.

The following is a complete account of the reconnoissance to the Occoquan River, Va.:

The rebels having made a demonstration against our pickets on the 11th Nov., General Heintzelman sent out two small parties of cavalry to reconnoitre. They returned with a report that the rebels, with four hundred cavalry and two regiments of infantry, were encamped near Pohick Church. General Heintzelman, believing he could disperse them, telegraphed to the Commanding General, and was authorized to prepare an expedition. On the 12th inst., at three A. M., Gen. Richardson's brigade, with Company G of the Lincoln Cavalry, and Capt. Thompson's and Capt. Randolph's batteries of artillery, advanced upon Pohick Church by the telegraph road, followed, an hour later, by Gen. Jameson's brigade, and Company G, Lincoln Cavalry.

Their instructions were for Gen. Richardson to divide his brigade at Potter's house, just beyond Piney Run, he to follow the telegraph road, and the other two regiments, with a battery and a company of cavalry, to cross to Accotink and reach Pohick Church by the Accotink and Pohick continuation of the Alexandria turnpike, so to time his march as to have both his columns reach the church at the same time. Gen. Johnson's brigade followed an hour later on the telegraph road as a reserve. Gen. Heintzelman himself left Headquarters at daylight, and overtook the advance where they were halted, a short distance on the north side of the church.

It was soon ascertained that the rebel cavalry had left, having encamped at the church the night before. Our men advanced and occupied the ground, and sent out parties on the different roads. The regiments under Col. Hayman took the road to Colchester. There are no signs of the enemy having been recently in that vicinity, nor were there any indications of their occupying the opposite bank of the Occoquan at that point.

Col. Terry, who commanded the troops which followed the telegraph road to Mrs. Violet's, learned that the enemy's pickets had left there two hours before. On the opposite side of the Occoquan there was seen a small force of cavalry and infantry, evidently apprised of the advance. The cavalry pickets on the road toward Elsey's had also retreated very recently.

Having ascertained these facts, the troops returned to their camps. Gen. Heintzelman expresses great gratification at the spirit, zeal, and activity displayed by the troops. We were five hours at Pohick Church; the main body marched twenty-two miles, and the regiments, which were pushed forward to the Occoquan, about thirty; all were back to their camps by nine P. M. Colonel Berry's regiment of General Sedgewick's brigade, with Captain Todd's company of Lincoln Cavalry, marched at four A. M. on the old Fairfax road with orders to halt at the Accotink, and push forward a reconnoissance as far as the Pohick. Col. Berry seems to have mistaken Fairfax Station for either Springfield or Burke's Station; the latter is the more probable. He says he took the road toward Pohick Church; le should have followed the old Fairfax road as far as the Pohick. By taking the road toward Pohick Church, his scouts came in sight of our troops in advance of the church, and mistook them for the enemy drilling. Our skirmishers saw them, and reported the rebel cavalry and infantry on that road. Gen. Heintzelman advanced a force to meet them, but after sending forward no one could be discovered, and the troops were withdrawn. Of the Lincoln Cavalry Sergeant O'Brien is killed; Bugler Benton mortally wounded, since dead; Private Miller wounded, missing; Private Mitchell wounded slightly; Capt. Todd, missing; Private Johnson, missing; and seven horses missing. This loss was sustained by the negligence of the officers of this cavalry in permitting their men to straggle in the presence of the enemy, and to plunder. The rebels evidently occupy several points on the railroad in force, have a cavalry force at or near Elsey's and Sangster's crossroads, and a force at Wolf Run Shoals. Gen. Heintzelman was accompanied and assisted by Capt. Moses and Lieut. Hunt, of his staff, and Lieut.-Col. Schickfus and Capt. Oth, of the Lincoln Cavalry.

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