in the vicinity of the Danville road prevented his making use of it, and being pursued toward Farmville he retreated across the Appomattox at that point, burning the bridges behind him.
At 5 a.m. on the 8th the corps started up the Lynchburg road after Sheridan's cavalry and followed by the Fifth Corps. The troops, learning of the presence of the enemy before them and that the cavalry needed assistance, pushed forward with a will, marched until nearly 12 o'clock, dropped down alongside the road for a three hours' sleep, and were again under way at 3, cheering at the sound of the locomotives captured by Sheridan. By General Ord's direction I was to throw my force across the road leading from Appomattox Court-House to Lynchburg. As we approached the designated point the firing, which at first appeared to be merely that of a skirmish line, rapidly increased and neared the road upon which my troops were moving. Foster was moved up at a double-quick, formed across the road, and his line pushed forward at once with as much rapidity as was permissible by the retreating bodies of cavalry. In the meantime the firing seemed to gain so rapidly toward our right that I deemed it best to face Turner to the right and push him forward on Foster's right, instead of throwing him on his left, as originally intended, to check the advance of the enemy. These maneuvers were rapidly performed, and as soon as our infantry opened fire the enemy fell back, and on our reaching the cleared ground in sight of the Court-House information was received that negotiations were going on for the surrender of Lee's army and that hostilities had ceased.
From this time till the 17th I was engaged in receiving the surrender of Lee's army and removing the public property to Farmville. On the 12th Mackenzie's cavalry and Turner's division were sent to take possession of Lynchburg, where a large quantity of public property was taken possession of and either used, removed, or destroyed. On the 17th the command started to return. It reached Burkeville on the 19th, left there on the 21st, and reached here to-day.
In all these operations it is a matter of pride and pleasure to refer to the conduct of my troops. Their behavior under fire was admirable, and their marching, both by night and day, drew forth praises from the highest sources. By their rapid marching they twice succeeded in throwing themselves across the path of Lee's retreating forces, and by their firm stand there aided materially in the grand final result of the campaign.
I desire to call especial attention to the energy and zeal displayed by my division commanders, Bvt. Major General J. W. Turner, and Brigadier General R. S. Foster, who were untiring in their efforts and gallant in their conduct on the field. Their reports, together with that of Brigadier General Charles Devens, whose division remained on the north side of the James and was the first to enter the city of Richmond, are inclosed, and their recommendation for promotion cordially indorsed. The reports of the three battery commanders who accompanied my command are also inclosed. Captain Elder fired the last at the retreating cavalry near Appomattox Court-House.
I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
Bvt. Colonel ED. W. SMITH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the James.