on Fourteenth street was burned by incendiaries, who set a canal-boat on fire and pushed it under the bridge. This was evidently done in hopes of embarrassing our retreat, and General Kershaw's division passed the bridge while on fire at a double-quick. By 7 a.m. the last troops had reached the south side, and Mayo's and the railroad bridges were set on fire.
From the hills above Manchester we watched for some time the progress of the flames, and all at once saw fire break out through the roof of the large mills on the side farthest from the burning ware-houses, the flames from which scarcely reached half way up the sides of the mill. It was considered a fire-proof building, and extra precautions had been taken by the owners. I cannot conceive how it could have caught in such a place, unless set on fire. I have been told that Mr. Crenshaw found his mill full of plunderes, whom he got out by agreeing to give them all the provisions in the mill, and that they were in the act of building a fire on the upper story of the mill when discovered. I tried to find out if this were true, but no reply has come to the letters written for that purpose. If correct, it affords exact proof of what I am firmly convinced is the case-that the burning of Richmond was the work of incendiaries, and might have been prevented by the citizens.
General G. W. C. Lee's division crossed the river at Drewry's, and united with Kershaw a few miles from Manchester. We marched very rapidly to join the main body, and though delayed by the swollen condition of the Appomattox came up with it near Amelia Court-House on the 5th of April. We were to march all that night, but, owing to the slow progress of the trains and troops in front, had only reached Amelia Springs, seven miles off, by 8 a.m. Parties of cavalry here appeared on our left flank, and about 11 a.m. made an effort to get to the road on which our trains were moving past us. Gordon's corps, the rear guard, was being hard pushed at the same time. I threw out as skirmishers part of Colonel Atkinson's command of heavy artillery, of General Lee's division, and a battalion of light artillery, acting as infantry, under Captain Dement, which had just been assigned to me. These troops soon repelled the enemy's cavalry skirmishers. Their demonstrations continued from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m., and I retained my troops in position to cover the passage of the trains. As soon as they were out of the way I followed General Anderson's corps, and was followed by General Gordon, who brought up the rear of the trains, constantly fighting.
On crossing a little stream known as Sailor's Creek, I met General Fitz Lee, who informed me that a large force of cavalry held the road just in front of General Anderson, and was so strongly posted that he had halted a short distance ahead. The trains were turned into a road nearer the river, while I hurried to General Anderson's aid. General Gordon's corps turned off after the trains. General Anderson informed me that at least two divisions of cavalry were in his front, and suggested two modes of escape-either to unite our forces and break through, or to move to the right through the woods and try to strike a road which ran toward Farmville. I recommended the latter alternative, but as he knew the ground and I did not, and had no one who did, I left the dispositions to him. Before any were made the enemy appeared in rear of my column in large force preparing to attack. General Anderson informed me that he would make the attack in front if I would hold in check those in rear, which I did until his troops were broken and dispersed.