May 1, expecting an attack, the troops were ordered under arms at 4 p. m., in the trenches, and remained there until dark.
May 2, the brigade withdrew from their trenches, and, under cover of the river bank, to the bridge, and recrossed the Rappahannock.
Moved at 9 a. m., resting a few moments to allow the pickets to join us, a part of whom assisted in saving the boats. The brigade moved along the River road to the Catlett road; then to near Hartwood Church; thence to within about 2 miles of the United States Ford, where we were ordered to encamp at 10 p. m.
At 2 a. m. (3rd instant), the brigade was again formed, and, crossing at the United States Ford, advanced to the front, where, at 6 a. m., it was deployed in line of battle, the Twenty-fourth, Nineteenth, Seventh, and Second forming in rear of Sykes' division, and the Sixth 15 paces in rear of the Twenty-fourth. The men were ordered to throw up defenses in front of the line, which were completed at 12 m., the men lying on their arms, momentarily expecting an attack. The Twenty-fourth was here detached and moved to the right, on the Rapidan, where it did picket duty until our forces recrossed the river.
On the 4th instant the men were in position.
On the 5th instant the men in position. Received orders to march at 2 a. m. Moved by a new road cut through the woods to the United States Ford, where we arrived shortly after daybreak, when we were ordered to fall back to the crest, and, forming in two lines of battle, faced to the rear, when I ordered the men to make coffee.
At 8 a. m., the troops in our advance having crossed, I ordered the brigade to move across the Rappahannock. A heavy rain had been falling since dark of the preceding day. We moved to and by the Catlettt road to near Hartwood Church, where the brigade encamped at 5 p. m.
At 8 a. m. on the 6th, the troops were again in motion. We marched to White Oak Church, thence to near Fitzhugh's farm, where the brigade is still encamped.
Of the troops of this command I cannot speak too highly. With heroic fortitude and bravery, on the bloody fields of Gainesville, Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and their late gallant struggle in forcing a crossing of the Rappahannock River, they have won for themselves imperishable honors. To officers and men I wish to award the credit of their noble deeds and thank them for winning for themselves so enviable a reputation. I respectfully request that the general commanding the army make honorable mention of the officers and men of this command for their gallantry in crossing the river on April 29.
I am greatly indebted to the officers of my staff-Captain J. D. Wood, assistant adjutant-general; Captain H. Richardson, acting assistant inspector-general; Lieuts. S. H. Meredith, aide-de-camp, and C. C. Yemans, acting aide-de-camp-for their promptness in the discharge of their duties on the battle-field and on the march.
Accompanying this, please find tabular statement of the casualties of the command.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain T. E. ELLSWORTH,
A. D. C. and A. A. G., First Division, First Army Corps.
*Embodied in revised statement, p. 173.