for the manner in which you have performed your part in the general plan, I cannot refrain form expressions of admiration at the noble spirit that has animated you throughout, at the brilliant exhibition of those soldierly qualities for which the Second Corps has been conspicuous. The rapid manner in which you pressed the pursuit, from the moment the enemy was discovered in retreat, driving him before you, by constant combat, over an unknown country, through dense undergrowth and swamp, form positions which his advanced troops had entrenched, has, I believe, been unexampled.
Being in direct pursuit the opportunities for large captures were not yours; but spite the disadvantages you labored under, the results to the corps have been the capture of 35 guns, 15 flags, and 5,000 prisoners, and the capture or destruction of 400 wagons, with their contents, besides tents, baggage, and other material, with which the road was strewn for miles. In addition you have contributed eminently tot he general success, and to captures made by other corps, by hemming in the enemy and preventing his escape, and have done your full share in the grand closing scene.
In the operations before Petersburg your success was brilliant. General Miles, which the First Division, was ordered to advance and attack the enemy, flushed with success over two divisions of another and most spirited manner. The enemy was driven back rapidly into his entrancement, with severer loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners.
In the plan of general assault upon the enemy's lines on the morning of April 2 this corps was not to attack, but nevertheless the Second Division captured one of the enemy's redoubts, with three guns, and the Third Division, under General Mott, less favorably placed, captured and held the entrenched rifle-pits of the pickets, under the fire of their main entrancements.
During the night of the 1st instant General Miles' (First) division had been detached, under orders of Major-General Sheridan, nd in the pursuit of the following day attacked the enemy, entrenched in a strong position, which was finally carried in the handsomest manner, with the capture of 2 guns, 1 flag, and 600 prisoners.
These great successes have been gained with comparatively small loss, but the rejoining of our vicinity is tempered by the reflection that in that loss many nobel spirits are counted.
In this brief glance of what you have done, I cannot attempt to award to each the full merit due, but must content myself with thanking the division commanders-Major-General Miles, Major-General mott, Major-General Barlow, Brigadier-General De Trobriand, and the commander of the artillery, Lieutenant-Colonel hazard-and, through them, the troops they command. My thanks are also due to Brigadier-General Hays, who commanded the Second Division when it carried the enemy's redoubt before Petersburg.
While enjoying the satisfaction of having done your duty to your country, it is a source of intense gratification to us all-that the greatest military feat of the country was reserved as a fitting climax to the great deeds of that army of which this corps had always formed a part-the Army of the Potomac.
A. A. HUMPHREYS,