Roswell Farnham to Edwin H. Stoughton

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Camp of 12th. Vermont Vol. MilitiaNear Fairfax Court House Va.Jan'y 12th. 1863General

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In complaince with an order recived at 2-1/2 o'clk P. M. Jan'y 11th. I moved the right wing of the 12th. Regt. to the stone Bridge on the road leading to Chantilly for the purpose of protecting the camps of cavalry in that vicinity.

The four right companies encamped on the east side of the stream about a hundred and fifty yards from the bridge. Company C., Capt. Page, was taken beyond across the stream & encamped in the pine woods on the south side of the road outside of the cavalry camp. Capt. Page extended his pickets or videttes to the top of the hill where the "Ox Road," so called, crosses the Pike, keeping up the connection with his main body by intermediate posts. The post at the top of the hill consisted of a non-commissioned officer & three privates.

Nothing occurred during the night to disturb the pickets, except the unexpected passing of two considerable bodies of cavalry.

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The first, under the Major of the 18th. Pennsylvania, consisting as the Maj. said of two hundred cavalry, passed at about 10-1/2 o'clk. Altho' the pickets were instructed that they need expect no large bodies of troops during the night, yet owing to the coolness & good conduct of Sergt Thompson of Co. C. no alarm was made. About one o'clk two cavalry pickets came dashing past the infantry pickets saying that they were pursued by seventy rebel cavalry. The Maj. had already reported that number of rebels within our lines & expressed fear of an attack. The seventy rebels proved however to be a body of scouts out under the Col. of the 18th. Penn. who came up to our pickets soon after the cavalry pickets were driven in. Our pickets halted the Col. & learning the true state of the case allowed him to pass.

The prudent conduct of our infantry pickets alone saved the camp from a serious alarm as they were given to understand that no bodies of troops would pass over the road during the night.

In consequence of the Maj's statement that there were rebels within our lines

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& his expressed fears that we should be approached from the rear, at four o'clk. I posted a small picket on the pike in our rear, to give notice of the approach of any armed bodies from that direction.

The night & morning however passed without an alarm, & at 11-1/2 o'clk. in compliance with an order rec'd at eleven we started for camp where we arrived at 12-1/4 o'clk Jan'y 12th

Respectfully submittedRoswell Farnham
Lt. Col. 12th. Vt. Vol. M.

To Brig. Genl. Stoughton
Com'g 2d Brigade, Casey's Division
Near Fairfax Court House, Va.