Report of Major-General D. H. Hill.
Headquarters division.General: I have the honor to report the operations of my command, from the battles around Richmond until after the battle of Sharpsburg. On the twenty-third of July, I was detached from my division, and placed in charge of the department of the south side, extending from Drewry's Bluff to the South Carolina line. As General McClellan was then at Westover, on the James, some thirty miles from Richmond, and it was thought he might attempt an advance by the south side, my first attention was given to the defences in that direction. Heavy details were made from the division and two brigades near the bluff, to complete a line of intrenchments around it, and controlling the Petersburg road. Not a spade full of earth had been thrown up about Petersburg, and it was in a wholly defenceless condition. A system of fortifications was begun, (which subsequently met the approval of the chief engineer, Colonel J. F. Gilmer, C. S. A.,) and the brigades of Ransom, Walker, and Daniel were put to work on it. About a thousand negroes were procured (chiefly from North Carolina) and employed in like manner. Pontoon bridges were constructed at several points to make the connection rapid and secure between the two positions to be secured. The defences of the Appomattox were also strengthened, and a movable car planned and ordered to prevent a landing at City Point. An effort was made to organize and make efficient the numerous independent companies in the department, which had been of little use and much expense to the country. A concentration of these troops at Weldon and Goldsboroa was ordered to prevent the cutting of our important lines southward. In accordance with instructions from the General commanding Army of Northern Virginia, I made a personal examination of the Yankee shipping and encampment, on the twenty-eighth instant, and determined to attack it from Coggins's Point and Meycock's, on the south side. This expedition was intrusted to Brigadier-General French, and was a complete success. Forty-three pieces, under command of General Pendleton and Colonel J. T. Brown, were placed in position on the night of the thirty-first, on the banks of the river, within easy range of the objects to be reached. Much damage was done to the Yankee shipping, some destruction of life caused in the camp, and the wildest terror and consternation produced. The report of General French is herewith submitted. This officer had charge of the expedition, agreeably to the wishes of General Lee. Doubtless the night attack had much to do with the evacuation of Westover, as it made McClellan feel that his shipping was insecure. Two days after, he took possession of Coggins's Point, and maintained a force on the south side till he left the river. His gunboats were attacked at the mouth of the Appomattox, and points were selected for the further harassing of his shipping. An expedition was sent out, under Colonel J. R. Chambliss, to within two miles of Suffolk. Arrangements were made for the defence of the Blackwater, Chowan, and Tar Rivers, and a point selected for fortifications on the Roanoke to secure Weldon. On the twenty-first August, I left Petersburg to join the army in Northern Virginia, and was given command of McLaws's division and three brigades of my own division at Hanover Junction. The brigades of Ripley and Colquitt, of my division, were in advance of us, at Orange Court-House. On the twenty-sixth August, we left Hanover Junction, and joined General Lee at Chantilly, on the second September, three days after the Yankees had been finally and decisively beaten in the second great battle of Manassas. On the fourth, Anderson's brigade was sent to fire on the Yankee trains at Berlin, and, with two brigades, we drove away the Yankee forces near the mouth of the Monocacy, and crossed the Potomac. That night and the next day were spent in destroying the lock and canal banks. The aqueduct could not be destroyed for want of powder and tools. The night of the fifth, my division followed General Jackson to within a few miles of Frederick. The General being disabled by the fall of his horse, the next morning I was placed in charge of all the forces, and marched into Frederick. The telegraph wires were cut and the station seized. A few stores and prisoners were taken in the city. On the tenth, my division constituted the rear guard, and had charge of the immense wagon train moving in the direction of Hagerstown. On the thirteenth, I was ordered by General Lee to dispose of my troops so as to prevent the escape of the Yankees from Harper's Ferry, then besieged, and also to guard the pass in the Blue Ridge, near Boonsboroa. Major-General Stuart reported to me that two brigades only of the Yankees were pursuing us, and that one brigade would be sufficient to hold the pass. I, however, sent the brigades of Garland and Colquitt, and ordered my other three brigades up to the neighborhood of Boonsboroa. An examination of the pass, very early in the morning of the fourteenth, satisfied me that it could only be held by a large force, and was wholly indefensible by a small one. I accordingly ordered up Anderson's brigade. A regiment of Ripley's brigade was sent to hold another pass, some three miles distant, on our left. I felt reluctant to order up Ripley and Rodes from the important positions they were holding, until something definite was known of the strength and designs of the Yankees. About seven o'clock, they opened a fire upon our right, and pushed forward a large force through the dense woods, to gain a practicable road to our rear. Garland's brigade was sent in to meet this overwhelming force, and succeeded in checking it, and securing the road from any further attack that day. This brilliant service, however, cost us the life of that pure, gallant, and accomplished Christian soldier, General Garland, who had no superiors, and few equals, in the service. The
General R. H. Chilton, A. A. G.:
General R. H. Chilton, A. A. G.: