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enty-three men. We were taken in tow by the United States steamer Shokokon, and arrived off Smithfield Creek at about twelve A. M. The army steamer Smith Briggs came to us; we cast off from the Shokokon, and were taken in tow by the Smith Briggs, up Smithfield Creek, to within about two thousand yards of the village of Smithfield, when we discovered our army detachments on shore, and the enemy engthe circumstances of the attack on the boats, and wounding one officer and three seamen (up Smithfield Creek) belonging to the United States flag-ship Minnesota. About ten o'clock A. M. this day I lebelonging to the Minnesota, and proceeded with them in tow up the James River, arriving off Smithfield Creek at half-past 11 A. M. The army gunboat Smith Briggs arriving, offered to take the launches , the United States steamer Shokokon took the launches in tow and proceeded to the mouth of Smithfield Creek, where she anchored, the water being too shallow for her to proceed up the creek. The army
The capture of Smithfield, Va. The rebels having retired from Norfolk, Virginia, General Mansfield sent his Aid-de-Camp, Drake De Kay, to reconnoitre the various rivers and creeks setting in from the James River. Captain De Kay started with a sail-boat and eight men, and examined the Nansemond River and Chuckatuck Creek, and then proceeded to Smithfield Creek. This being narrow and tortuous, with high banks, he hoisted the rebel flag and ran up some five miles to the town of Smithfield. This town is situated on a hill, stretching back from the river, contains some one thousand two hundred inhabitants, is very prettily laid out, has several handsome churches, and fine old family homesteads. The people are all rank secesh — hardly a man, woman, or child to be seen in the streets who does not scowl at the Yankees. The negroes, even, did not speak to us, as their masters had forbidden it, and beaten them severely for doing so. The whole negro population would run away were it
rge of the second launch, with Master's Mate J. M. Simms, (20) twenty men, and heavy twelve-pounder howitzer, subject to the orders of Acting Master Charles B. Wilder, in command of the first launch, with Acting Ensign Fred A. O'Connor, (19) nineteen men, and heavy twelve-pounder howitzer, smooth bore. Both launches were taken in tow by the Stepping Stones. She anchored a short distance up the river until two o'clock next morning, the fourteenth, when she got under way and arrived off Smithfield Creek, which we entered at daylight and came to anchor just inside, awaiting the arrival of the army steamer which steamed in towards us at about nine. A. M., but grounded outside. The Stepping Stones went out to pilot them in, while the launches lay at anchor until they came up, when we were taken in tow by the army steamer Emma to within about (3) three miles of Smithfield, when we cast off and took stations to cover the advance and landing of the troops, and arrived at Smithfield at abou