CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA.,
April 22, 1863.
Commanding Officer, Cavalry Corps:
The major-general commanding is of the opinion that are encamped in the immediate vicinity of your depot of supplies, and that you will spare no labor to put your command in a state of the utmost efficiency, while hole it in readiness to move at the earliest practicable moment. He also direct that you improve the opportunity to keep yourself advised of the condition of the water on the fords; also of the force of the enemy to guard the fords, and also mature your plans for an advance when the signal is given. Determine at what ford you will cross, at what hour, and the lines you will advance on to accomplish your mission. The line of the enemy's pickets, being extended, must be a weak one, and, if attacked at break of day, will easily be broken.
If you desire, vigorous demonstrations can be made by the infantry and artillery at Kelly's Ford at any hour, which, as before, will tend to draw the enemy in that directions. If necessary, a still larger force can be sent to that point, as it will require that best part of two days for them to reach there from this camp, it may not be in season. If the detachment you dispatched to look into Culpeper and Gordonsville should find them held by an infantry force too numberous to engage, let them pass round those places. After you break through the enemy's advanced lines, you will find no force in the direction of Richmond, that city itself being without a sufficient force to keep out your own command, should you advance on it. This, however, is not expected. Major-General Keyes has a command at Gloucester Point, and also at Fort Magruder. Wise is in his front with a small force.
After crossing the Rapidan, the major-general suggests that you subdivide point of meeting on your line of general operations. These detachments can dash off the right and left, and inflict a vast deal of mischief, and at the same time bewilder the enemy as to the course and intentions of the main body. It seems to him that these should move without artillery, and, if necessary to strike a railroad or effect a surprise, make long marches at night. You have sent so many animals to the rear, the general hopes that you will be able to pack ammunition for your batteries, and leave your wagons behind. All vehicles will only embarrass your operations. In his opinion two pieces of artillery to a division should be all that you attempt to move with. Of this you must be the judge. You have officers and men in your command who have been over much of the country in which you are operating; make use of them. You must move quickly and make long marches. The experience of your march up the river will, doubtless, satisfy you of what can be accomplished by celerity. Remember that you are turning the rivers, which the enemy, to follow you, must swim, should they become swollen. Cross them. however, as low down as possible, as that will shorten your marches. Let the officers and men selected to destroy bridges, &c., be efficient, and let their work be done thoroughly.
Should you be out of forage and food, you will find them at the farmhouse between the rivers flowing into the Potomac, as that country north of York River, low down, has hitherto completely escaped drainage by the army. I am instructed to inform you that the general regrets that up to this time you have made no mention of Colonel Davis' disaster the third day out from here. He requests that you will keep him fully and correctly advised of all your operations. He also requires