Numbers 2. Report of Lieutenant George Browne, jr., Sixth New York Battery.
CAMP OF FIRST BRIGADE, HORSE BATTERIES,
Near Aquia, Creek, Va., March 19, 1863.
LIEUTENANT: I beg to submit the following report of the participation of my battery in the recent expeditionary movement commanded by Brigadier-General Averell:
Pursuant to orders from headquarters Cavalry Corps, dated March 15, 1863, my battery took up its march from camp near Aquia Creek at daybreak on the morning of the 16th instant but owing to the fact of the guide having mistaken the road, I did not reach Hartwood Church until 4 p.m.
Upon my arrival there, I reported to Colonel Curtis, and received an escort to Morrisville, which place I reached at 11 p.m.
We halted fed the horses, and moved forward with the column at 4.30 a.m. of the 17th instant, arriving at Kelly's Ford at about 6.30 a.m.
Upon arriving at the ford, skirmishing commenced between the cavalry pickets of the enemy and our advance. The enemy here making a very stubborn resistance to our crossing, I was ordered to advance one piece into position, with a view to cover to axmen who were employed in removing the obstructions to the ford, which being accomplished, our cavalry advanced to the ford. After one or two attempts, a crossing was effected and the enemy driven in all directions, some 30 prisoners being taken, together with horses and equipments.
At this time I brought one more piece into position, to cover the crossing of the main column, which being, effected my battery went forward piece by piece over the ford one squadron of cavalry carrying over the ammunition by hand, which was necessitated by the dept of the water. We then moved forward, and our advance came up with the enemy about half a mile from the ford.
At this time my right section was ordered forward, and after advancing a short distance, the cavalry became engaged with the enemy, who were in force. Owing, however, to the narrow and extremely muddy and impracticable condition of the road, I could bring but one piece into battery sending the others to the rear. The enemy now appeared in such force as to momentarily check the advance of our cavalry, which, however, soon rallied, and drove them from the woods, their left flank being turned by our cavalry on the right, with which was posted two of my pieces, commanded by Lieutenant Clark, and which did good execution. The enemy were driven across the plain in the greatest confusion.
At this time I received an order from Lieutenant Rumsey to bring my whole battery into position into the open field from which the enemy had been driven. This order I executed at once, calling in the two pieces which were posted with the cavalry on the right, as also the two pieces which were with the reserve. I formed my battery in line, and moved forward with the cavalry to the woods at the farther extremity of the plain, where we formed in battery to receive the enemy, who was expected to make a charge. At this point, by command of Lieutenant Rumsey, I left two of my pieces with the reserve, their ammunition being nearly exhausted.
After a brief delay, we again moved forward in column of pieces, with the cavalry skirmishing as they advanced for about a mile, and came into battery of four pieces in a large open plain on the left of the road. At this point we received from the enemy the first intimation that our