War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 1036 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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Report of Brig. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry Brigade, with congratulatory orders. HDQRs. CAY. BRIG., DEPT. OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, June 17, 1862. GENERAL: In compliance with your written instructions I undertook an expedition to the vicinity of the enemys lines on the Pamunkey with about 1,200 cavalry and a section of the Stuart Horse Artillery. The cavalry was composed of portions of the First, Foarth, and Ninth Virginia Cavalry. The second named, having no field officer present, was, for the time being, divided between the first and last mentioned, commanded, respectively, by Col. Fitz. Lee and Col. W. H. Fitzhugh Lee; also two squadrons of the Jeff. Davis Legion, commanded by Lient. Col. W. T. Martin, the section of artillery being commanded by First Lient. James Breathed. Although the expedition was prosecuted farther than was contem- plated in your instructions I feel assured that the considerations which actuated me will convince you that I did not depart from their spirit, and that the boldness developed in the subsequent direction of the march was the quintessence of prudence. The destination of the expedition was kept a profound secret (so essential to success) and was known to my command only as the actual march developed it. The force was quietly concentrated beyond the Chickahominy, near Kilbvs Station, on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, and moved thence parallel to and to the left of that road. Scouts were kept far to the right to ascertain the enemys whereabouts, and advanced gnard, flankers, and rear guard to secure our column against surprise. I purposely directed my first days march toward Louisa, so as to favor the idea of re-enforcing Jackson, and encamped just opposite Hanover Court-House, near South Anna Bridge (Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad), 22 miles from Rjchmon d. Our noiseless bivouac was broken early next morning, and without flag or bugle-sound we resumed our march, none but one knew whither. I, however, immediately took occasion to make known my instructions and plans confidentially to the regimental commanders, so as to secure an intelligent action and co-operation in whatever might occur. Scouts had returned, indicating no serious obstacles to my march from that to Old Church, directly in rear of and on the overland avenue of com- munication to New Bridge and vicinity. I proceeded, therefore, via Hanover CQurt-House, upon the route to Old Church. Upon reaching the vicinity of Hanover Court-House I found it in possession of the enemy; but very little could be ascer- tained about the strength and nature of his force. I therefore sent Col. Fitz. Lees regiment (First Virginia Cavalry) to make a detour to the right and reach the enemys route behind him, to ascertain his force here and crush it, if possible; but the enemy, proving afterward to be 150 cavalry, did not tarry long, but left, my column following slowly down, expecting every moment to hurl him upon Lee; but owing to a bad marsh Colonel Lee (lid not reach the intersection of roads in time, and the cavalry (the Regular Sixth) passed on in the direction of Mechanicsville. This course deviating too much from our direction, after the capture of a sergeant they were allowed to proceed without interruption on their way.