That night we continued our march without interruption to New Kent Court-House.
The affair at Eltham forms one of the most interesting incidents of the march of my command in retiring from Yorktown out of the Peninsula. The route is nearly parallel to a deep, navigable river, filled with vessels of war, gunboats and transports of the enemy. Along this river are many most favorable landings, and good, lateral roads leading from the river, intersecting our line of march at almost every mile, and at points varying in distance between 1 and 3 miles from the river. This delicate movement has been successfully accomplished.
The comfort and quiet with which the march of the troops has been conducted on this line is largely due to the admirable dispositions and watchfulness of the cavalry rear guard, first under Colonel Fitz. Lee and more recently under Brigadier General J. E. B. Stuart, supported from day to day by brigades detailed for this purpose.
All of my staff officers have been untiring in their efforts to assist me in conducting this movement.
The whole command is in the finest spirits and in excellent condition, anxious to meet the invaders at any odds.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. W. SMITH,
Major THOMAS G. RHETT,
Asst., Adjt. General, Department of Northern Virginia.
Numbers 11. Report of Brigadier General William H. C. Whiting,
C. S. Army, commanding First division.
HDQRS. DEFENSE OF CAPE FEAR RIVER, N. C.,
November 14, 1862.
MAJOR: Having learned that no record had been received at the War Department of the battle of Eltham's Landing, fought on May 7 last, by my division, then forming part of the Reserve Corps, commanded by Major General G. W. Smith, I beg leave to supply a copy. It is defective in wanting the report of the gallant Colonel (now Brigadier General) Wade Hampton, which was with the original, together with the names of the killed and wounded. Otherwise it is word for work from the notes on which my original report was written.
We have since learned that the enemy's losses were very heavy in that battle. It was very creditable to the officers and men, and produced important results on the enemy's movements. It is due to the division that the record of one of the most brilliant of its many battles should be supplied on the files of the War Office. I have, therefore, to request that you will ask the major-general commanding the department to have this forwarded. If I am not mistaken, he himself sent in the originals with a report of his own.
W. H. WHITING,
Brigadier-General, late Commanding First Division.
Major SAMUEL W. MELTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.