Finding that much of the public property, of no great value, could not be carried off or destroyed without wanton injury to private property and danger to the lives of the sick and wounded left by the enemy, these officers, acting under previous instructions, inflicted no further injury.
All the objects of the expedition having been accomplished, the command returned that evening to their respective camps.
I refer the major-general commanding to the reports herewith inclosed of the several officers concerned.
In closing this report I desire to express my admiration for the conduct of the officers and men in the laborious march to Hanover; the steadiness with which they turned from the pursuit of a retreating foe to meet the unexpected attack of an unknown force in their rear; the confidence they evidenced in their officers; the good order in which they went into action. Specially worthy of note was the firm resistance Martindale's brigade presented to the attack of a superior force, holding it in check till it could be met and routed by the remainder of the division.
I have further to express the highest satisfaction at the manner in which the troops were handled in action by their division, brigade, and regimental commanders. General morell, commanding division, and his brigadier-generals, Martindale and Butterfield and Colonel McQuade; also General Emory and Colonel Warren, and Captain Benson, commanding mounted battery, and Major Williams and Captains Chambliss and Arnold, of the cavalry; also Captain Charles Griffin, of Fifth Artillery, commanding Morell's artillery, each in his operations earned the favorable notice of his superiors. Colonel C. W. Roberts, Second Maine, is specially deserving of commendation, as also Colonel Johnson, Twenty-fifth New York, and Lieutenant-Colonel Rice, Forty-fourth New York.
I have the honor to refer to the reports of those officers, herein forwarded, with their enclosures. I desire also to express my thanks to Major A. S. Webb, captain, Eleventh Infantry, whose assistance as guide and volunteer aide was invaluable; also to Major Myer, signal officer, the almost indispensable services of whose corps were in continual requisition during the operations. Major Myer posted the signal officers most advantageously, and at once in person communicated their reports, which enabled me to direct operations most successfully.
I wish also to make known my admiration for the gallantry and good conduct of my personal staff, who were constantly employed under fire in the duties of their respective positions. I designate Captain Locke (assistant adjutant-general) and Captains Kirkland, Mason, and Norton, and Lieutenants Monteith and McQuade. Brigade Surgeon Lyman, medical director of my corps, was indefatigable in his attention to our wounded and those of the enemy. In this connection I would also mention Brigade Surgeons Waters and Bentley, both of whom were untiring in their services.
The command met and defeated on this occasion was the division of North Carolina and Georgia troops, said to have been 8,000 or 9,000 strong, under Brigadier-General Branch.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. J. PORTER,
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS, Assistant Adjutant-General.