I started, or had not General Averell been recalled, and had he formed a junction with me, as was to be expected, I could have detached a force to Charlottesville, which is almost unguarded, and destroyed the depot of supplies said to be there.
It has been frequently suggested since our return that we could easily have gone into Richmond. Without discussing the question as to the propriety or feasibility of such a thing, suffice it to be known that in your letter of April 22 I am told that "this, however, is not expected," and, besides, the commanding general told me himself that he did not want me to go into Richmond, and subsequently he sent me positive orders by my chief of staff, Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor, that under no circumstances was I to enter that city.
The assurance that "you may rely upon the general's being in communication with you [me] before your [my] supplies are exhausted," and to "let him hear from you [me] as often as necessary and practicable," was based, it is to be presumed, upon the supposition that the Army of the Potomac would be within communicating distance of us before the end of six days, during which time our supplies were supposed to last.
Beside carrying out the objects contemplated in our instructions. other results transpired of equal importance. To the pecuniary loss in the destruction of the bridges over rivers, railroads, telegraphs, canals, wagon and railroad trains, public stores of all kinds, horses and mules captured, and those brought out by escaped slaves, corn, meal, and bacon consumed by animals and men, &., there must be added the money value of some 450 negroes, who came out of the country with the various parties. Several thousand more would have obtained their freedom through us could they have procured the means of transportation. Added to all this and much more is the moral effect the expedition has produced in the minds of both the white and black man, not only in that region but throughout nearly the entire South. Not one of the least valuable among other results of this expedition is the influence it has had upon the cavalry arm of the service, both in showing us what we are able to accomplish if we but have the opportunity and in convincing the country that it has not spent its men and money in vain in our organization.
To the enlisted men of the command, for patient endurance, implicit obedience, constant vigilance, reliance upon their officers, and cheerfulness in the performance of every duty, however arduous, I am proud to point as models and examples.
To Generals Buford and Gregg, and Captain Robertson, commanding the artillery, and the officers under them, I render my warmest thanks for their hearty cooperation in the execution and carrying out of all my orders, and the implicit confidence with which they honored me throughout the whole operations. Nothing was asked of them but what was freely given and promptly and thoroughly executed.
I beg leave more particularly to call the attention of the commanding general to Colonel Kilpatrick, Second New York Cavalry; Lieutenant-Colonel Davis, Twelfth Illinois Cavalry; Captain Lord, First U. S. Cavalry, and Captains Merritt and Rodenbough, Second U. S. Cavalry, and the officers and men under them, as worthy of special notice for the parts they performed; also to Captain Tucker, First Maine Cavalry, and Captain Harrison, Fifth U. S. Cavalry, for their gallantry in charging into and checking largely superior forces, and for the handsome manner in which they drew off their commands; to Lieutenant Tupper, Sixth U. S. Cavalry, for driving in and capturing the enemy's pickets and a