George. General Morris had been repeatedly instructed by me to keep a close watch upon Garnett's movements, and to be ready the moment he retreated to follow him up vigorously with all his available force, and crush him if possible; but, much to my surprise, when he discovered that Garnett had escaped, he only sent a portion of his force about eight miles, and then halted it for several hours, to
communicate with me bring up re-enforcements. This detention gave Garnett the opportunity to get far in advance, and had it not been for the rapid and well-directed march of the advance, conducted by Captain Benham, it is believed that the rebel general would have escaped unharmed. Captain Benham is entitled to great praise for prompt and energetic movement upon Garnett's rear, the result of which will be seen from his report inclosed. This shows that General Garnett and about twenty others of the enemy were killed, and fifty, and fifty prisoners and two stands of colors and one rifle cannon taken, besides the baggage train and a large amount of other property. I take very great pleasure in recommending Captain Benham to the especial notice of the General-in-Chief. Immediately after learning that Garnett had retreated, I ordered Brigadier-General Hill, commanding at Grafton, to assemble all his disposable force, and endeavor, by a rapid march upon Saint George or West Union, to cut off the retreat of the rebels, but I have not yet heard the results of his movement. My last advises this evening report General Hill's advance within four miles of the retreating rebels.
I have not time now to notice individual acts of merit and bravery displayed in the recent conflicts, but shall take an early opportunity of presenting them to you in detail. I cannot, however, let the present occasion pass without making mention of the services of Brigadier-General Rosecrans in conducting his command up the very precipitous sides of the mountains and overcoming the formidable obstacles which impeded his progress; also for the very handsome manner in which he planned and directed his attack upon the rebels at hart's farm, carrying them after a stout and determined resistance.
I also conceive it to be due to my volunteer aide-de-camp, Colonel F. W. Lander, to speak of his services in the connection. He, by the request of General Rosecrans, accompanied his column, and by his experience assisted materially in concluding the troops over a most difficult country, and displayed extraordinary activity and courage in the battle. He escaped unhurt, having the horse under him disabled by a canister shot.
I pursued the retreating rebels yesterday as far as Cheat River, and became satisfied that they would not stop short of Staunton. I therefore returned to this camp, which commands the communication between Eastern and Western Virginia, over the Staunton and Parkersburg turnpike.
General Garnett's command when last heard from were retreating in great confusion near the North Branch of the Potomac, on the road leading from West Union to Williamsport.
I trust I will not be regarded as merely conforming to a formula when I express the great obligations due to my personal and general staff, who by their good judgment, untiring energy, and cool conduct have enabled me to overcome the inevitable difficulties of an imperfect and hasty organization, and to accomplish whatever good result have been achieved. As far as I have myself observed and learned from their officers, the conduct of the volunteers who participated in the actions at Rich Mountain and at Carrick's Ford was unexceptionable. They invariably displayed an ardent desire to meet the enemy, and