I had no artillery, all being with the train. My line ran across a little ravine which leads nearly at right angles toward Sailor's Creek. General G. W. C. Lee was on the left, with the Naval Battalion, under Commodore Tucker, behind his right. Kershaw's division was on the right. All of Lee's and part of Kershaw's division were posted behind a rising ground that afforded some shelter from artillery. The creek was perhaps 300 yards in their front, with brush pines between and cleared field beyond it. In this the enemy's artillery took a commanding position, and finding we had none to reply, soon approached within 800 yards and opened a terrible fire. After nearly half an hour of this, their infantry advanced, crossing the creek above and below us at the same time. Just as it attacked General Anderson made his lines with him to see the result, when a staff officer, who had followed his troops in their charge, brought him word of its failure. General Anderson rode rapidly toward his command. I returned to mine to see if it were yet too late to try the other plan of escape. On riding past my left I came suddenly upon a strong line of the enemy's skirmishers advancing upon my left rear. This closed the only avenue of escape, as shells and even bullets were crossing each other from front and rear over my troops, and my right was completely enveloped. I surrendered myself and staff to a cavalry officer who came in by the same road General Anderson had gone out on. At my request he sent a messenger to General G. W. C. Lee, who was nearest, with a note from me telling him he was surrounded, General Anderson's attack had failed, I had surrendered, and he had better do so too, to prevent useless loss of life, though I gave no orders, being a prisoner. Before the messenger reached him General Lee had been captured, as had General Kershaw, and the whole of my command.
My two divisions numbered about 3,000 each at the time of the evacuation; 2,800 were taken prisoners, about 150 killed and wounded. The difference of over 3,000 was caused mainly by the fatigue of four days' and nights' almost constant marching, the last two days with nothing to eat. Before our capture I saw men eating raw fresh meat as they marched in ranks.
The heavy artillery brigade of Lee's division was closely engaged for the first time on this occasion, and spite of the fall of its commander, Colonel Crutchfield, displayed a coolness and gallantry that earned the praise of the veterans who fought alongside of it, and even of the enemy.
I was informed at General Wright's headquarters, whither I was carried after my capture, that 30,000 men were engaged with us when we surrendered, namely, two infantry corps and Custer's and Merritt's divisions of cavalry.
I deem it proper to remark that the discipline preserved in camp and on the march by General G. W. C. Lee, and the manner in which he handled his troops in action, fully justified the request I had made for his promotion. General Kershaw, who had only been a few days under my command, behaved with his usual coolness and judgment.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. S. EWELL,
Late Lieutenant-General, C. S. Army.
General R. E. LEE,