MAY 25, [1863.]
Honorable SALMON P. CHASE:
I have read the letter with deep interest. Recent foreshadowing in the Richmond papers in connection with reported changes in the position of the rebel troops across the river have caused delay in my action on your suggestions. Shall be in Washington to-night, when I will inform you of all.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS,
May 25, 1863.
Captain A. J. COHEN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Corps:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report and application concerning the Third Cavalry Division:
This division left its camps near Belle Plain on the 13th of April, forming a part of the cavalry command which subsequently accomplished the raid in the enemy's country toward Richmond. Seven regiments, with an aggregate strength present of 3,000, at that time formed the division. Two of the regiments succeeded in pushing through to Yorktown, and have since, by an order of Major-General Hooker, been detached as a temporary brigade. The division returned to camp at Potomac Creek on 11th of May. Inspections were at once begun, with the view of ascertaining losses of property. Partial requisitions were made. Before the inspections could be completed, and before anything could be had required in refitting my regiments, I was, on the 14th, ordered with three of my regiments to Bealeton, to guard the railroad from Rappahannock Brigade to Cedar Run, and subsequently the remaining two regiments were sent to relieve all the regiments on the Rappahannock.
The effective strength of the Third Division is 1,979 enlisted men, and this force is drawn out like a thread over a line of about 40 miles. Two regiments which I had at Bealeton are all supplied with forage by rail; the other three are but indifferently supplied, receiving, of course, no hay. The duty assigned to this division is well performed, but it requires for its performance an amount of labor which is fast rendering the horses unserviceable, and with 1,000 men I have not two details for picket duty on the railroad and in front of my camp. For the patrolling and scouting duty made necessary by the continued prowling about of bushwhackers and guerrillas, I have not sufficient men. The three regiments on the river have a total aggregate of 910, being but partially supplied with forage, no opportunity having been given for procuring clothing or refitting in any manner. The horses, worn down and reduced by the fatigue of the recent raid, cannot be called serviceable cavalry, having been ordered not [to] bring to this line any wheels.
Division, brigade, regimental, and company commanders are delinquent in reports and returns, which cannot be made, disposed as the command is at present. I must respectfully request, therefore, that the three regiments of this division doing duty on the Rappahannock between the railroad bridge and the infantry pickets above Falmouth may be relieved from such duty and be sent to this camp. Five regiments so small as these of the Third Division will not be more than sufficient for the proper performance of the duty on the railroad.