Numbers 2. Reports of Brigadier General Fitz John Porter,
U. S. Army, commanding Fifth Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH PROVISIONAL CORPS,
Camp near New Bridge, Va., May 29, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report my return to this camp with the command placed under my orders on the 25th instant, to execute in the vicinity of Hanover Court-House special instructions of the major-general commanding.
I take great pleasure in stating that the expedition was eminently successful. The following objects were accomplished:
The defeat and rout at Hanover of Brigadier-General Branch's command, which comprised about 8,000 Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia troops, with the loss to them of 8 officers and more than 1,000 men killed, wounded, and made prisoners, the capture of one gun and many stand of arms, and of camp equipage, officers' baggage, &c., and of army stores to a much greater amount than we could bring away, in addition to a still larger quantity destroyed by the enemy in his flight; the destruction of extensive bridges on the Virginia Central and the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroads, and on the main wagon roads leading north from Richmond (including the destruction of telegraphic communication on those roads), thus cutting off the rebel force in Northeastern Virginia from all rapid relief from that city and from the avenues available for retiring on it, except via lynchburg. This also excludes Richmond from two of its four remaining avenues of supply; the destruction of all bridges over the Pamunkey and the roads on our right, thus securing us from any attack on our right and rear.
I have the honor further to report that the movements since Friday last [23d] of Colonel Warren's command from Old Church along the Pamunkey, with the design of destroying the bridges and cutting the railroads, has caused the rapid retreat to Richmond from before Fredericksburg of General Anderson's command. This releases for active operations the large force there under General McDowell, and I think must have relieved the Government of all apprehension of an attack on Washington.
I take great pleasure in bearing testimony to the admirable manner in which the command has acquitted itself. The behavior of officers and men showed the benefit the good training at hall's hill and elsewhere, given last winter by their brigade and regimental commanders. The regiments behaved most gallantly. Some, as occasion required, were heroic in their brave and successful resistance to the shock of vastly-superior numbers, holding their ground against all odds till relief arrived. Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode island, New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan were all represented, no State or section taking any exclusive part in any labor or danger, and the sons of each fought as becomes national soldiers, and bore with cheerfulness the long marches through heavy rain and mud and the exposures and privations incident to a forced march without shelter or supply trains. The regulars were also actively and laboriously engaged, and performed their highly important duty with the same success and cheerfulness.
Where all showed the same devotion to their country and the same alacrity in its service I cannot in this preliminary report speak of individuals or point out regiments specifically, and shall defer doing so till