I desire to make favorable mention of Captain J. H. Harmony, Captain Levi H. Dagget, Lieutenant George T. Jewett, and Lieutenant Orlando N. Ferry, members of my staff, for their strict attention to their duties and efficient service throughout the campaign.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. H. SMITH,
Brevet Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding.
Major H. C. WEIR,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Cavalry Division.
No. 213. Report of Major General Edward O. C. Ord, U. S. Army, commanding Army of the James.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES,
Richmond, Va., April 26, 1865.
SIR: In obedience to orders from the lieutenant-general commanding, I took Turner's and Foster's divisions, of Gibbon's corps, Birney's division, Twenty-fifth Corps, and Mackenzie's cavalry division, and placed them on the left front of the Petersburg defenses, by a march of thirty-six miles. This was done secretly, and although my lines were within rifle shot of the rebels and I had to cross two bridges overlooked by them, the movement was not, as I afterward learned from rebel officers, even suspected. As the success of our movement depended in a great measure upon its secrecy I will detail the measures I took to attain that end. Some days before the intended movement I withdrew quietly most of the forces required for it, and after a demontration on the right with them, placed them in camps where they could not be seen or heard; the remainder of my command I kept in motion, changing camps frequently. Pickets for several nights previous to the move were detailed only from the regiments to remain behind. On the night of the movement, and for some time afterward, the camps of the troops taken were kept lighted and tents standing, bands playing calls as usual. The bridges across which my troops had to pass were the day before covered with moist straw and compost, and no changes were shown in any part of my lines visible to the enemy. Before leaving the lines near Richmond, anticipating that General Grant would turn the enemy out of Petersburg and that Lee would evacuate Richmond, I gave General Weitzel written instructions how he had best march his men into Richmond so as to avoid the rebel torpedoes, a line of which covered their entrenchments. On reaching the left part of the enemy's works to the west of Petersburg my command was placed on the ground between the Sixth and Second Corps, and by direction of the lieutenant-general we pushed forward, drove in the enemy's outposts and pickets, capturing several hundred men, and established our line within 400 yards of the rebel works; this cost me several hundred men and officers, and took till the night of the 1st of April. Much patience, endurance, and pluck were displayed by the men.
Mackenzie's cavalry was sent on 31st of March to cover the Fifth Corps trains, afterward to report to General Sheridan. On the night of the 1st April having received orders to break through the enemy's line if an opportunity occurred and I could get my batteries under