Today in History:

1073 Series I Volume XXV-I Serial 39 - Chancellorsville Part I


marched through Culpeper to Rapidan, a distance of 28 miles, meeting no enemy deserving the name, and from that point reporting to me for instructions. From there he marched to Ely's Ford, 23 miles, and recrossed the Rappahannock at the United States Ford May 4.

It is unnecessary for me to add that this army will never be able to accomplish its mission under commanders who not only disregard their instructions, but at the same time display so little zeal and devotion in the performance of their duties. I could excuse General Averell in his disobedience if I could anywhere discover in his operations a desire to find and engage the enemy. I have no disposition to prefer charges against him, and in detaching him from this army my object has been to prevent an active and powerful column from being paralyzed in its future operations by his presence.

Please have these papers referred to the War Department.

Very respectfully, &c.,


Major-General, Commanding.

Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General, U. S. Army.

CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., May 13, 1863.

Colonel J. C. KELTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith the report of the operations of a cavalry command under Brigadier-General Averell, with instructions to attack, rout, or destroy a rebel cavalry force commanded by Brigadier-General Fitzhugh Lee, stationed in the vicinity of Culpeper Court-House. After the brigadier general commanding had permitted one-third of his force to remain on the north bank of the Rappahannock, his passage of the river with the residue of his force appears to have been eminently soldierlike, and his dispositions for engaging and following the enemy, up to the time of his recrossing the river, were made with skill and judgment; and had he followed his instructions and persevered in his success, he could easily have routed, fallen upon his camp, and inflicted a severe blow upon him. The enemy was inferior to the command he had in hand in all respects. The reason assigned-that he heard cars arriving at Culpeper, and not knowing but that they might be bringing re-enforcements to the enemy-is very unsatisfactory, and should have had no influence in determining the line of that officer's conduct. He was sent to perform a certain duty, and failed to accomplish it from imaginary apprehensions.

Notwithstanding, this, the expedition has not entirely without its good results. The conduct of the troops was everywhere satisfactory, and in the crossing of the river and in receiving, repelling, and giving charges it was eminently soldierlike and heroic. The effect has been to inspire the cavalry with encouragement and confidence. These operations have been illumined with an unusual number of instance in which individual officers and men displayed great courage and heroism. I must confine my enumeration to a few of the more conspicuous, and respectfully invite your attention to the list as furnished me by Brigadier-General Averel, and herewith transmitted.

Colonel Duffie, of the First Rhode Island Cavalry, for his splendid charge at the head of his regiment to cut off the rear of the enemy's