Mills to hold the ford against the enemy. Here we received the first reliable information that General Hooker had recrossed the Rappahannock. The command reached Kelly's Ford in the night, and found the river swimming. The brigade was all posted on the approaches to the ford, and remained standing to horse until daylight, when the brigade began crossing. The crossing was effected without losing a man. Two worn-out horses were lost.
On the 8th, the brigade encamped near Rappahannock Bridge and drew forage.
On the 9th, moved to Bealeton for supplies.
On the 10th, started for Falmouth, and reached Deep Run, where instructions were received to picket the river from Rappahannock Bridge to Falmouth, which duty the brigade is performing now.
From the time that the brigade struck the river at Rappahannock Bridge on the 15th, up to the crossing of the river on the 29th, it seemed as though the elements were combined against our advance; such rains and roads I had never seen. During the whole expedition the roads were in a worse condition than I could have supposed to be possible, and the command was called upon to endure much severe discomfiture. The men's rations were destroyed almost as soon as issued. No fires could be lighted to cook or dry by, and the dark, cold, wet nights that the men were compelled to march wore them out; but all, without exception, were full of enthusiasm, ready for any emergency, and did their duty with hearty good-will. I have not heard of a complaint or murmur. Each regiment has had about the same amount of duty to perform. The Fifth probably had a little the most, and most nobly have they all responded when called upon.
There were a number of men from the brigade left whose horses had to be abandoned. It will be impracticable to get the names of these men or the number until the brigade is again concentrated. The Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, under Major Morris, had its equal share of trials and exposure, and has been more than equal to any task imposed upon it. A number of animals of inferior quality were captured, which served to bring out of the country the men whose horses had failed.
At Thompson's Cross-Roads a train of 15 new wagons was captured and destroyed by Captain Keogh, one of my aides, and Lieutenant Walker, of the Fifth. The mules, 60 in number, were distributed to the dismounted men of the command.
I have not received the reports from the regimental commanders of the operations of their respective commands, except from Captain Harrison, of the Fifth, and Captain Lord, of the First Cavalry; these are transmitted herewith. Captain Harrison speaks of his officers and men in most flattering terms. He himself has behaved most heroically throughout.
All of my staff-Captains [Myles W.] Keogh, [Joseph] O'Keeffe, and [Theodore C.] Bacon; Lieutenants [John] Mix, Peter Penn Gaskell, [Philip] Dwyer, and [William] Dean - have been severely worked, and have rendered valuable service to me. Untiring and zealous, they have relieved me of much anxiety, and have promoted good feeling through the brigade.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
Lieutenant Colonel A. J. ALEXANDER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Corps.