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[355] not knowing whether we were friends or enemies; but a peremptory demand to “surrender” brought them to their senses, and off they attempted to scamper. About fifteen were captured, and one man who was making hasty tracks through the woods, refusing to obey the command to halt and surrender, was brought down by one of our carbineers, who put a bullet through his thigh. We not wishing to be encumbered with any prisoners at this stage of the expedition, General Potter ordered the captives to be paroled, which was accordingly done.

This over, General Potter proceeded at once toward the town of Greenville, a place noted as of much consequence as a rebel stronghold during the protracted siege of Washington, and, taking the Kinston fork of the cross-roads between Washington and Greenville, he reached Greenville about three o'clock in the afternoon.

No one having apparently warned the people or the guard, if any, of our approach, no preparations were found to be made for our reception. The place was strongly fortified; but the defences had been abandoned by all save a few cavalrymen, who appeared to be detained to act more as messengers or couriers than as scouts or videttes.

Finding the intrenchments and breastworks undefended, General Potter dashed at once into the town, and took possession of the post-office and other public buildings, seizing the mails, and destroying such government matter as could not be conveniently carried away. A few prisoners were made and paroled. Some large guns, intended for use in the defences of the place, were spiked, a number of small arms thrown into the river, and some damage done to the enemy's works. The day being a quiet Sabbath, and the rebel troops having been all withdrawn, the amazement of the inhabitants of this pretty village at the sudden advent of so formidable a cavalry host as ours may be imagined. They threw no obstructions in the way of the officers executing the orders of General Potter; on the contrary, they either pretended to lend assistance or acted as if stupefied.

Having done every thing to cripple the enemy that the usages of war allowed, and refrained as much as possible from disturbing private property, or alarming peaceably disposed inhabitants, General Potter, about five o'clock in the afternoon, issued orders to start forward on the line of march, which proved to be on the road leading to the little village of Sparta, which lay in a northerly direction, about eighteen miles from Greenville, and some eight or ten miles south of Tarboro. This place was reached in the night, and here General Potter bivouacked.

About this time it is presumed the enemy had obtained some information of our advance, and that our intentions were to at once visit Tarboro, being in such close proximity to that place. But instead of proceeding directly to Tarboro, General Potter ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis to detail a detachment of his cavalry to take another <*>oad and pounce upon Rocky Mount — a most important point on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad-before the enemy there had any expectation of our approach. Major Jacobs's detachment of the Third was detailed for this important service, upon the result of which depended the success or defeat of the great objects of the expedition. Proud of having so fair an opportunity to distinguish himself, this young and judicious officer proceeded with his detachment, by a new and hitherto untried route, across ditches, through swamps, and through creeks and larger streams, and over bridges none the better for age and rottenness, until he came in sight of the desired place of destination, the main force meanwhile remaining for a time near Sparta, and keeping within eyesight distance of any movement of the enemy in the direction of Tarboro, but soon after advancing on the town with such effect as shall presently be seen.

Major Jacobs's only artillery force was one howitzer, under Allis, and yet with that and his heroic detachment of troops he committed a greater amount of destruction, and such as will be regarded by the rebels themselves as more deplorable and ruinous to them, than any that has been inflicted upon them in the State of North-Carolina during the war.

With a dash and daring uneclipsed by any cavalry raid directed for similar purpose against the enemy during the war, Major Jacobs destroyed and laid in ruins the costly structure known as the Rocky Mount railroad bridge over Tar River, on the line of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, and the connecting link, by this route, of Richmond with Wilmington and the far South. The bridge was the most expensive to construct in the State, and was over four hundred feet long. It will take weeks, perhaps months, to reconstruct and to rebuild the trestle-work also destroyed. The demolition of this bridge has long been an object kept in view by the general commanding the department, and now it has been accomplished, a much-coveted desideratum has been reached.

Major Jacobs destroyed the finest cotton-mill in the State-one used for the manufacture of rebel army cloth, and employing some two hundred hands, mostly girls. About five hundred bales of cotton were also destroyed.

He destroyed a rebel quartermaster's train, containing a large amount of stores for the rebel army. When Major Jacobs destroyed the cotton factory he said to the girls who had been employed in it, “Girls, I am sorry to throw you out of work; but,” he continued, pointing to a rich store of rebel provisions, “go there and help yourselves.” The suggestion was immediately improved by many. Major Jacobs destroyed a railroad train of thirty cars, all loaded with ammunition, etc. The train had just been sent up from Tarboro for safety, and was in motion, backing out, when Jacobs ordered its capture. Private White, of company A, Third New-York cavalry, deserves credit for its capture. Riding up to the locomotive, he discharged his pistol at the engineer, who instantly dropped. The train

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