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[357] Nethercutt's battalion of rangers. The name of their artillery was not known; but it is certain it was handsomely handled, giving our four little pieces all the work they could conveniently do. Their object being to head us off, it was accomplished by nightfall at a point called Tyson's Creek. Here we found that the enemy had destroyed a bridge which we were obliged to cross if we kept on our present line of retreat, and had also planted artillery on the opposite bank, apparently determined to make a most obstinate resistance to our further progress. Taking advantage of the darkness, General Potter moved his column down the creek, and instead of going through Greenville, as the enemy might have supposed, took the Snowhill road, one that runs in a different direction. This adroit movement seemed to perplex the enemy for a little while; but in a short time, amid all the darkness, he was heard to approach, and the firing of his cannon told us that we had been betrayed by guides, who had proclaimed their loyalty to the Union and said they were ready to seal it with their lives.

The enemy kept on harassing our rear, occasionally doing a little execution, wounding a few men and killing a few horses, until we reached Street's Ferry, on the Neuse, with transports ready to carry our weary and worn-out bodies to Newbern. The expedition having been attended with such brilliant success, neither officers nor men uttered a word of complaint, almost dead as they were with fatigue and want of rest. The expedition had been absent about six days, and many of the officers and troopers avow that they have not slept five hours in all that time. It was hard, very hard work, and those brave hearts engaged in it are deserving the unqualified approbation of their countrymen.

Throwing aside the negro catastrophe, if it should even prove true, our losses have been meagre, considering the magnitude of the work accomplished. The Twelfth probably lost some twenty men missing and wounded, the Third nearly the same number. The losses of Graham's North-Carolinians, who behaved gallantly under their intrepid leader, and Mix's new regiment, as well as those of the artillery, which was on all occasions handsomely served, are inconsiderable, except those resulting from extreme fatigue and exposure to the blazing sun. The enemy's losses in men undoubtedly treble ours, although they had the advantage of selecting their positions in harassing our retreat. So confidently was it reported in Newbern that we were badly cut up that reinforcements were at one time ordered to hurry up to our relief. Colonel Jourdan's brigade of infantry approached as far as Swift Creek on the first day's march of the cavalry, as a support, but had returned to Newbern some time before the cavalry came back.

The aggregate amount of rebel property destroyed on the expedition cannot be less than five millions of dollars, while the value of mischief done to their facilities for railroad transportation on the Wilmington and Weldon road is incalculable. A pretty good week's work for the little but noble band of heroes who are serving their country en cheval in North-Carolina.

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