During Tuesday afternoon and night, my pioneers, under the energetic direction of Captain Briscoe, aide-de-camp, to General Birney, made a road 2 rods wide, through 3 miles of forest, to the United States Ford.
At daylight I was ordered to follow the artillery simultaneously with the Fifth and First Corps, these to be followed by the Second Corps as fast as the covering column closed in on its left, and this corps in turn to be followed by the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps in the same order. This movement was thrown into some confusion and its success imperiled by the premature withdrawal of the pickets of the Fifth Corps and the premature movement of the Second and Eleventh Corps, the former taking my bridge, on the right, and crossing the river in advance of my First Division.
My command having been withdrawn in good order, Colonel McLaughlen, First Massachusetts Infantry, general officer of outposts, reported to me near the ford with the outpost detail, and my column, after passing without confusion or loss to the north side of the Rappahannock, moved to the old camps at Boscobel and Bellair, which they reached during the afternoon of the 6th.
Herewith I have the honor to submit nominal and tabular returns of casualties, together with the reports of division and brigade commanders and the chief of artillery. In none of the sanguinary combats in which the troops of this corps have been engaged have they had better opportunities than on Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, to inflict great injury upon the enemy and to render signal service to this army and the cause. Soldiers and commanders performed their duties with ardor, alacrity, and devotion. As long as the history of this was shall be read, conspicuous upon its pages will be the record of the achievements and the sacrifices of the Third Army Corps in the battles of the Wilderness and of Fairview. The most difficult and painful of duties remains to be performed-an appropriate tribute to the fallen and the just commendation of those most distinguished for good conduct. Such losses as those of Berry, Stevens, McKnight, Lancaster, Crowther, and Dimick, are irreparable. It is a consolation to know that they and their noble associates among the dead did not fall unrevenged, for in the loss of Jackson and Hill, and the flower of the rebel army on Saturday and Sunday, the enemy learned to respect the prowess of the Third Army Corps.
I shall fail in giving adequate expression tot he obligations I feel toward division, brigade, regimental, and battery commanders. The gallantry of Whipple was gracefully acknowledged by his promotion before his wound proved to be mortal. The dashing leadership of Birney had already received a like recognition. The chivalrous Berry proved but too soon how well he had deserved the highest rank in our service, and I trust that Pleasonton's brilliant conduct on Saturday-calm in the midst of tumult, and full of resources when others yielded to the pervading dismay-may be the occasion of his deserved advancement. General Carr, commanding Second Division, temporarily; General Graham, commanding, Third Division, temporarily; General Mott, of the New Jersey brigade (who was seriously wounded); Colonel Sewell, who succeeded to the command; Colonels Bowman and Berdan, commanding brigades in the Third Division; Colonel Potter, Twelfth New Hampshire, (dangerously wounded); Colonel Blaisdell, Eleventh Massachusetts; Colonel Egan, Fortieth New York; Colonel Elis, One hundred and Twenty-fourth New York, and Colonel Tilghman, Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania (dangerously wounded), deserve especial mention for the gallant and skillful handling of their several commands.