Cavalry, was drawn up in line of battle, faced also to the rear, and still a mile farther on Naglee's brigade and several batteries under Major West were formed in line of battle on the brow of a ridge. All these arrangements were made before daylight, and the extremities of the lines of battle concealed in the woods or by the inequalities of the ground, so as to confuse the enemy in regard to our numbers. The Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, under Colonel Gregg, was ordered to accompany me, to act as circumstances might dictate. The columns of infantry moved in the fields parallel to the double line of wagons in the main road. The men were kept in the ranks and the ranks and teams closed up, so that the army never presented a more formidable appearance nor had it before been so much massed and in so good a situation to repel an attack, which was threatened, but not made, during the march of our columns.
As the last of our wagons passed the rear guard withdrew to new positions. Every straggler who could be seen was sent forward, and nothing was left behind except a small number of wagons which broke down. No doubt some stragglers concealed in the woods fell into the hands of the enemy.
As the day advanced the continuous deluging rains rendered it next to impossible to get forward the trains over Kimminger's Creek, which is the boundary of our present camp. It was found necessary to park some 1,200 as they came up on the other side of the creek, and it was not till after dark of the 3rd instant that by extraordinary exertions the last of the wagons was brought over.
Brigadier-General Wessells, with his brigade, assisted by Miller's battery and a party of Gregg's cavalry, remained to guard the wagons and to defend them against the enemy, approaching with cavalry and artillery. After firing a few shells the enemy left upon being saluted with a few 100-pounders from the gunboats.
I do not think more vehicles or more public property was abandoned on the march from Turkey Bridge than would have been left in the same state of the roads if the army had been moving toward the enemy instead of away from him; and when it is understood that all the carriages and teams belonging to the army stretched out in one line would extend not far from 40 miles, the energy and caution necessary for their safe withdrawal from the presence of an enemy vastly superior in numbers will be appreciated.
Accompanying this report are reports of Brigadier-Generals Couch and Peck, commanding divisions, and of Major West, chief of the Reserve Artillery of the Fourth Corps, and of their subordinates. To these officers, especially to my staff, and to many others I owe my acknowledgments for their efficient co-operation with me in the late movements. In other communications many gallant officers have been recommended for advancement.
In the battles, labors, and exposures to which this army has been subject the Fourth Corps has had its full share. Many in that corps have fallen while nobly and bravely fighting for our cause. Their names will be held in honorable remembrance. A few, I regret to say, have sought to evade the stern duties which this crisis imposes upon every man who loves his country.
E. D. KEYES,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Fourth Corps.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.