me at Fort Sedqwick and was immediately ordered to the front to support the left of my line, and, of possible, occupy part of the line farther to the left; the latter was impossible, owing to the enfilading fire of the enemy from the covered way leading from Fort Mahone, and this brigade was then held as a support to the left of my line.
Immediately after dark a skirmish line was pushed forward, and the chevaux-de-frise taken from the rear and put our in front, of the line of my division. A line of works which had been commenced during the day connecting Miller's Salient with our picket-line on the right was completed and occupied, and much work was done during the night along the entire line held to put it in the most defensible position. The Two hundred and fifth, Two hundred and seventh, and Two hundred and eleventh Regiments Pennsylvania Volunteers were withdrawn to our old picket-line as a reserve, and General Hamblin's troops placed in the position occupied by these regiments.
At 3 a. m. of the 3rd of April I ordered the officer of the day to advance his skirmishers and feel for the enemy, and at the same time all the troops of my command were half in readiness for movement. The enemy having retired from my immediate front at 3.30 a. m., I moved my division forward in column of regiments, and at the same time ordered Colonel Harriman to move forward in the same manner on the right and General Hamblin on the left, and advanced to the suburbs of Petersburg without opposition, reaching it at a few minutes before 5 a. m. My line of skirmishers reached the city at about 3.15 a. m.
Immediately upon arriving in the city the Two hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Dodd commanding was sent to the river to secure the bridges and prevent them from being destroyed, and picket the river, and the Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers was sent to the left to communicate with troops of the Sixth Corps, and Colonel McCalmont, with the Two hundredth and Two hundred and eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, was ordered to take possession of the city, but upon arriving at the court-house he was met by Colonel Ely, commanding a brigade in First Division, who claimed that the surrender of the city had been formally made to him, whereupon Colonel McCalmont withdrew his command to the outskirts of the city, where the balance of the division was stationed. I am satisfied that my skirmishers were the first Union troops in the city, and that Colonel McClamont's brigade was the first which entered the limits of the city in a body.
I ordered Colonel Dodd as soon as relieved by troops which were to occupy the city, also Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick, commanding Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers after receiving his report that he had communicated with troops of the Sixth Corps, to return to their original camps. Harriman's Hamblin's brigades were ordered to rejoin their divisions. I then marched my division to the vicinity of the Avery house and got it in readiness for immediate movement.
I cannot refrain from speaking in the highest terms of the conduct of the officers and men of my command for their brave, gallant, and heroic conduct in this engagement and for the tenacity with which they held every inch of the captured works, and met and repulsed the stout and determined charges of the enemy during the entire day. They are deserving of the greatest praise. I would call particular attention to the conduct of Colonel J. A. Mathews, Two hundred and fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanding Second Brigade; Lieutenant Colonel W. H. H. McCall, Two hundredth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers,