headquarters Army of the Potomac at Morrisville on the following day at 2 p.m.
Arriving there with my commanders, I found the commanding general and his staff, and learned that a portion of the army was about to cross the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford that day. I had previously been directed to hold my command in readiness to move on the following morning, April 29, and consequently no preparations had been made to move on the 27th, such as drawing in the pickets, calling in scouting parties, &c.
At 5.45 p.m. I received the accompanying instructions [marked A]. From Morrisville to where the Cavalry Corps lay was 13 miles, from there to where some of the extreme pickets were was 13 more, so that it was quite late at night before the command was all assembled and ready to start, and owing to the state of the roads the result of the recent heavy rains, and the darkness of the night, rendered doubly obscure by a dense fog, the corps did not reach the river until near 8 a.m. of the 29th. Arriving at the river, we found but one ford within the limits prescribed in our instructions which could be passed over, and that not by pack mules or artillery. By dint of great exertion we succeeded in getting all over the river by 5 p.m. I assembled the division and brigade commanders, spread our maps, and had a thorough understanding of what we were to do, and where we were each to go. Averell, with his division, Davis' brigade, of Pleasonton's division, and Tidball's battery, was to push on in the direction of Culpeper Court-House, and myself, with Gregg's division, Buford's Reserve Brigade [to which had been attached the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry Lancers],
and Robertson's battery, was to push on toward Stevensburg. It was expected that Averell would be able to reach Brandy Station that night, driving whatever enemy was there before him, and I was to communicate with him at that point.
Arriving on the other side of Rocky Run, Captain Drummond, with a couple of squadrons, was sent by a cross-road to Brandy Station, but, upon arriving there, this dashing officer found neither the enemy nor General Averell.
About midnight, learning from a staff officer of General Averell that he had gone into camp near where I left him, I sent Captain Merritt, of my staff, with a platoon, to recall Captain Drummond. I also sent back word to General Averell that I had not time to concern myself with the enemy in his front; that I should turn him, whatever his force was, over to him, and, pushing on at 4 a.m. the next morning in the direction of Richmond, would proceed to the execution of the work before us.
Instructions were given to have all the pack-mules and led horses sent in the direction of Germanna Mills, and to follow in the rear of the army and remain with it until we formed a junction therewith, which we expected would be in the vicinity of Richmond, and for each officer and man to take with him no more than he could carry on his horse, myself and staff setting the example. I explained to the officers what was expected of us, where we were going, and what we were going to do, and it was a source of the greatest satisfaction and encouragement to me to see with what eagerness and zeal every one entered into the accomplishment of his appointed task.
From that moment I felt sure that we should meet with success if it lay within the reach of human effort; and here I take the occasion to say that from that time out to the completion of the expedition I never, under the most trying circumstances and the most discouraging