We remained at Buzzard Roost until nearly noon of the 14th, were then marched off on the Villanow road, and arrived near Villanow some little after dark. Passed the camps of the entire army, which was encamped in line, and then bivouacked ourselves, strongly guarded. As no guards were placed between the officers and men that night, and we expected to be separated from them on the next day, they were instructed how to proceed to make their escape. During the march of that day several more men were shot for being unable to keep up with the rest; several men escaped. A ration (very small) or corn meal and beef was also issued to us that day, being the first and only food we received from them.
I have forgotten to mention above that on the night of the 13th to the 14th all the colored soldiers were marched down to the railroad track and obliged to destroy it. One man, who refused to do this, was shot on the spot.
On the morning of the 15th General Cheatham told me that if I and the officers of my regiment had concluded to accept the paroles, that we could be paroled at once. We had hesitated to do this when I surrendered, and made it an especial stipulation that we should have the choice in the matter; but as it was plain enough that our men could derive no benefit whatever from our going to prison, as General Hood told me that we were to be separated, I and my officers agreed to accept the paroles, which I knew would not be recognized, and that we would be enabled to return to duty at once in consequence.
On the morning of the 15th several of my officers counted the rebel army, which had been passing ever since 4 a. m. in three columns, two of which went on the La Fayette road, and one went south. I counted 170 regiments and about 50 pieces of artillery. These pieces were mostly 12-pounder Napoleons. I estimated the force that I saw passing, from 4 a. m. to 7 a. m., at about 40,000 men, and this estimate agrees with that of other officers who observed the army pretty closely. The animals were in very good condition, and I observed that a great many extra horses were along, especially with the artillery. I saw General Hood, General Cheatham, General S. D. Lee, Generals Loring, Cleburne, Brown, Bate, French, and Maney, and three or four other general officers, whose names I did not learn. The men were generally comfortably dressed, had no rations whatever, but seemed to be satisfied and determined. I was told by some that they intended to go into Middle Tennessee; by others that they were going to Blue Mountain.
We were paroled at 3 p. m. on the 15th instant, and marched back that evening to Dug Gap, escorted by some cavalrymen, who left us at the gap. I and my officers and men arrived at Dalton at about 9 p. m. of the same day.
I am, general, with respect, your obedient servant,
Colonel Forty-fourth U. S. Colored Infantry.
Brigadier General WILLIAM D. WHIPPLE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Cumberland.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Nashville, Tenn., February 16, 1865.
Colonel L. JohnSON,
Forty-fourth U. S. Colored Troops:
COLONEL: Your report dated October 17, 1864, in reference to the surrender of U. S. forces under your command at Dalton, Ga., October