On the receipt of the news of the capture of Richmond by the general commanding the Army of the James, I was directed to proceed to that city and establish a depot for the supply of the army. I immediately placed the transportation in charge of Lieutenant Colonel A. B. Lawrence, chief quartermaster of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps, and proceeded to Richmond in compliance with orders. On the route instructions were given to the officers of the Quartermaster's Department in charge of the depots at Bermuda Hundred, Point of Rocks, Broadway Landing, Jones" Landing, Deep Bottom and Varina Landing to at once break up their respective depots and transfer all the stores to the main depot I proposed establishing at Richmond.
April 4, arrived in Richmond and proceeded at once to establish depots, collect abandoned and captured property, and procure data that would be of future service to the Government. From this date until the final breaking up of the Army of the James I remained on duty in the city of Richmond, transacting the various administrative duties pertaining to the Quartermaster's Department in and around Richmond.
On the 19th of June, by order of the Secretary of War, I was directed to report at Washington for duty in the office of the Quartermaster-General. On the 22nd of June I was assigned to duty in the Sixth Division, Quartermaster-General's Office, and immediately entered upon the duties pertaining to that division.
I would respectfully state that with one exception I have been present at all battles fought by the Army of the James from the 1st of July, 1864, to the date of the entire defeat and surrender of Lee's rebel army.
In conclusion, I would state that at the time of the entry of our troops into Richmond a portion of the city was in ruins. Through the burnt district the streets were impassable, being blocked up by the smoking ruins, and the thoroughfares of the city filled with accumulations of ashes, garbage, and rubbish. The gas and water works had ceased operations. The railroads and canal lines leading from the city could not continue running, their works having been destroyed. The various coal mines and manufactories in the vicinity of Richmond had suspended operations. The wharves were old, rotten, and almost entirely useless. In fact, every branch of industry was at a stand-still, and the city was crowded with thousands of idle and destitute. It is difficult at this time to comprehend the embarrassment of the Quartermaster's Department in such a state of affairs, when naturally the department was looked to bring order out of this confused state of things. It was therefore deemed just and equitable to place at work, for the benefit of the United States, these bands of wandering freedmen, who were enjoying their newly acquired liberty and subsisting at the expense of the Government. Orders were given to have warehouses fitted up for the purpose of accommodating those who were placed at work for the benefit of the Government. In the course of a few days more than a thousand men were engaged in gangs of twenty-five each, under competent foremen, and placed at work removing and clearing away the ruins of the burnt district, unloading vessels, repairing wharves, collecting captured and abandoned property in the city, and storing it in ware-houses. Numbers were sent into the country for the purpose of procuring and bringing into the city a large quantity of abandoned cord wood. Others were detailed with the Medical, Commissary, Ordnance, and Engineer Departments.