Numbers 26. Report of Lieutenant Colonel John A. Kress, Ninety-fourth New York Infantry, Acting Assistant Inspector-General, First Division, with congratulatory orders.
CAMP NEAR THE FITZHUGH HOUSE, VA.,
May 11, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the movements of the First Division, First Army Corps, since April 27.
Left camp at Belle Plain, Va., April 28; marched to a point near Pollock's Mill, which we reached about 9 p. m. Moved with pontoons to the bank of the Rappahannock at 12 p. m. Had twenty pontoons in the river just before daylight, when the enemy discovered us and fired a volley of musketry from the opposite shore. Posted skirmishers along the river to protect the boats as much as possible by their fire. At length received orders to cross at all hazards. The Sixth Wisconsin, Colonel Bragg, and Twenty-fourth Michigan Volunteers, Colonel Morrow, both of the Fourth Brigade, moved to the river at double-quick, by the right of companies, jumped into the boats, and crossed in the face of a deadly fire; seized and held the heights; killed 5 or 6 rebels and captured 90, including Lieutenant-Colonel [Joseph] Hanlon, Sixth Louisiana, and several other officers.
The balance of the Fourth Brigade were doubled-quicked to the bank, formed in line, and opened on the enemy, to distract their attention as much as possible from the men in the boats. The latter lost but 1 man while in the boats. The Second and Seventh Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana crossed in the pontoons as soon as they returned. The bridge was built quickly, and the whole division had crossed in safety by 10.30 or 11 a. m. Enemy's picket line in strength was formed along the Bowling Green road, about 50 yards from our own.
April 30.-Commenced throwing up intrenchments with logs from barns and huts. These were well under way when the enemy opened with shell and prevented the completion of the works, which were, however, completed before daylight of the next day, and were nearly 1 mile in length, presenting a line almost impossible for the enemy to take.
May 1.-Troops lay quiet all day.
May 2.-Ordered to recross the river. The movement was effected with slight loss in broad daylight, under a terrific shelling, which sunk one of the pontoons while the troops were crossing, killed 8 horses in Battery L, First New York Artillery, and 2 men. Total loss of division, in killed, wounded, and missing, 154.
Immediately after recrossing, the division marched to the United States Ford, reaching the neighborhood of the ford about 12 p. m., and crossing the bridges about 3 a. m. We were posted on the right of the army near Ely's Ford, on the Rapidan, where we remained during may 4 and 5. Recrossed the river on the morning of May 6, marched to Brewer's house, bivouacked, and moved next day to our present encampment.
The officers of the command seem to think it impossible for the men to carry eight days' rations; still, they will probably become accustomed to it.
JOHN A. KRESS,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Assistant Inspector-General.
Lieutenant Colonel H. C. BANKHEAD,
Assistant Inspector-General, First Corps.