each other. Both Corps were compelled by
the breadth of the stream to combine their pontoons and cross
at the same point. General Logan had sent forward his pioneers
to occupy the landing, and thus claimed the right to cross first.
The Seventeenth Corps had to remain there until the next day,
waiting the coming up and crossing of the Fifteenth Corps. The
Seventeenth Corps were all up and in camp before the Fifteenth
had reached the river. This Corps crossing first gave them a
day in advance, which was considerable of an advantage.
We arrived at Manchester, on the south side of the James, opposite Richmond, on the 9th of May, making about twenty-five miles per day. The country south of Petersburg and toward Richmond is the garden of the South. The peculiar Southern appearance of both country and people disappear; all look more Northern-like and more familiar.
On the 12th the army left camp near Richmond and started for Washington City. The march was a pleasant one, and the country beautiful; and those stiff and sore from the forced march to Richmond rapidly regained their elasticity. All the way was made interesting by the marks of war, fields of battle, and encampments of the Eastern army. We had heard much about the desolations of Virginia, but were surprised to seem them so trifling compared with Atlanta, and the country through which the Western army had passed its heavy campaigns. The works about Richmond were much inferior in every respect to those about Atlanta, and the desolations from Petersburg to Washington will bear no comparison with the desolations from Chattanooga to Atlanta.
On the 20th we arrived at Alexandria, where General Wiles and other officers absent on leave rejoined the regiment. On the 23d we camped near the Long Bridge across the Potomac. From our camp the capital and the surrounding country presented an indescribably grand appearance.
On the 24th we marched into the city and passed in review before all the great ones of the nation. The multitude of people surpassed anything we had ever before seen. The review was quite a contest between the Eastern and Western armies. The former surpassed the latter in appearance, but the latter (General Sherman's army) surpassed the Eastern in marching, in soldierly bearing, and military discipline. Their free, easy motion, without a break or disparity in any particular, was in wonderful contrast with the Eastern army. It was conceded by all to be far superior in everything pertaining to a soldier. Here we remained encamped north of the city until June 6th, at which time a part of the regiment was mustered out, the veterans and a few others remaining.
The Third Division, commanded by General Leggett, had obtained so high a reputation, as being the best of General Sherman's army, doing the best marching and making the best appearance as soldiers, that many visited its encampment. The Second Brigade excelled the First in every quality, and of its regiments the Seventy-Eighth was in nothing second best. The Christian Commission will bear testimony that in all their visits to regiments none more cordially received them or made them feel more at home than the Seventy-Eighth Ohio.
June 6th we received orders to report at Louisville, Kentucky. The trip was made by railroad to Parkersburg, thence by boat. The first part of the journey was made interesting by the magnificent scenery of the mountains over which we passed, and those rising in solemn majesty in the distance; far to our left pile upon pile of mountains rose in the distant horizon. The whole journey was made still more interesting by the greetings of the people, especially the ladies who thronged every depot, and scores of old women, little boys and girls, loaded with baskets of pies and cakes.