War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 1074 N.VA.,W.VA,MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

retreating forces. Major Chamberlain, First Massachusetts Cavalry, for heroic services, commanding the applause of his companions, until he fell, severely wounded. Second Lieutenant Brown, First Rhode Island Cavalry, in heading the party which forced the passage of the Rappahannock under a galling fire from the enemy in his rifle-pits. I am reliably informed that this young officer's clothes were pierced with five bullets and his horse with three, and yet he bravely pushed on at the head of his party. It would be a great satisfaction to me, and it would be of great service to this army, to have the above-named officers advanced one grade, their promotion to date from the day of their distinguished services.

Very respectfully, &c.,

JOSEPH HOOKER,

Major-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

UNITED STATES FORD, RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER, May 4, 1863.

GENERAL: Pursuant to the instructions which I had the honor to receive from you yesterday evening, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Second Cavalry Division since it crossed the Rappahannock:

On the 28th ultimo, the division was in bivouac near Warrenton. In obedience to orders received from the major-general commanding the Cavalry Corps, it moved from that place about 10 p.m., and reached the vicinity of Rappahannock Bridge and Ford about 5 a.m. on the 29th, ready to cross the river in the morning.

At 6.25 a.m. a copy of your instructions to the major-general commanding the corps was received, dated April 12, and a copy of a modification of those instructions from the same source, dated April 28.

I reconnoitered the Rappahannock Ford at 7 a.m., with Colonel J. B. McIntosh and other officers. The force of the enemy and the defenses on the opposite side were insignificant, but the ford, upon trial, was found too deep for the passage of my command with safety. The swimming of 3,000 cavalry across a deep, swift river when there was a practicable ford 4 miles below, and in view of the immediate active operations which must take place on the other side, I regarded as unsafe, unnecessary, and imprudent. A staff officer from the major-general commanding the corps brought me a message to the effect that, if I found the ford impracticable, I should be guided by my own judgment as to the place of crossing. I marched my command to Kelly's Ford, over which half of it was crossed, while the other half passed over the bridge. The cavalry was over before 3 p.m., but the pack-train was delayed a short time by a break in the pontoons.

My command consisted of Colonel B. F. Davis' brigade, the brigades of Colonels McIntosh and Sargent, with Tidball's battery; in all about 3,400 sabers and six guns. With it I was directed by the major-general commanding the corps to proceed in the direction of Brandy Station, reach there, if possible, that night, and communicate with Buford, who would be at Stevensburg.

On the day following I was to proceed to Culpeper Court-House and Rapidan Station, attacking the cavalry of the enemy and keep him occupied, while Buford proceeded with the major-general commanding the corps to execute that portion of the original instruction which referred to operations in rear of the enemy's main body.