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[4] addressed to Colonel Jones, who a few hours before had been taken prisoner, in response to an appeal of the inhabitants to be protected from the very cavalry force then in their midst. General Stuart in the letter promised the protection called for, and stated that he would be there on Sunday, the day the mail was captured. He was not there, however — at all events was not seen in that vicinity by our troops. He had laid a trap, as stated above, into which he expected the Yankee Colonel would fall without hesitation, but in this he was fortunately mistaken. This portion of the command reached Urbanna Sunday evening, having captured a large number of horses and mules, and being followed by a motley group of contrabands of all ages and both sexes. Among the captures by this portion of the command was a confederate agent, with thirteen thousand dollars in Georgia and Missouri money.

The left wing of the command went in a northeasterly direction, and reached the road north of Urbanna Sunday evening. Here the picket of the enemy, which was to annihilate the whole force, was encountered. A detachment charged and drove this force in a north-westerly direction across the Dragon River, at Church's Mill — the only bridge they had not destroyed. They here fell back upon their reserves, strongly intrenched. The pursuing party, having accomplished the object of their mission, set fire to the bridge and slowly retired. They were not pursued. Monday morning the whole command was in front of Urbanna, ready to cross the river. To protect this part of the movement, Lieutenant Commander McGaw, of the Potomac flotilla, was present. He left Acquia Creek on Saturday evening with the following named vessels, and was at the rendezvous the very moment when ordered: Tallaca, (ferry-boat,) Star, William W. Frazer, Long Branch, (light-draught steamboats to transport the troops across the river,) and the gunboats Yankee, Freeborn, Anacosta, Currituck, Primrose, Ella, and Satellite. Capt. Moffet, of the Ninety-fourth New-York volunteers, with one hundred picked men, was also taken down, and Captain J. C. Paine, chief signal officer stationed at Acquia Creek. The gunboats were immediately put in readiness for action. Captain Moffet's command was landed at Urbanna, and were at once deployed outside of the town as skirmishers. Captain Paine secured an eligible position just north of the town, the direction from which an attack was anticipated. A detachment of the Fifty-second New-York volunteers (engineers) speedily constructed a; bridge across the mouth of Urbanna creek, and repaired a wharf on the opposite side of the Rappahannock, so that the boats could receive the troops on one side and land them on the other without difficulty. These arrangements perfected, the crossing was commenced at nine o'clock Monday morning, but it was not until Tuesday morning that the whole of Col. Kilpatrick's command was landed on the opposite shore, a, distance of six miles from the point of embarkation. Col. Kilpatrick immediately moved forward, and was met by a cavalry force which had been sent down from headquarters to welcome him and afford any assistance that might be necessary. Difficulty was anticipated at Reed's Ford, but the rebels doubtless repented of their threat to annihilate the command, and therefore did not attempt to interfere further.

Colonel Kilpatrick has thus made the complete circuit of the most formidable army the rebels have in the field, destroying millions of dollars' worth of property in the shape of railroads and material; captured hundreds of horses and mules; brought away at least one thousand of the producing class of the South, and by his visit so demoralized those who remain behind, that even the rebels will not hereafter be willing to say that property mounted on two legs is the most desirable to be had. More than this, he has visited some benighted regions of the Confederacy, where the people believed that the Yankees were any thing but civilized beings.

Among other articles captured was the flag of the Twelfth Virginia regiment.

While the wants of the soldiers were supplied on the road, the strictest orders were given to protect the rights of those not in arms against the Government. Horses and mules, and whatever the soldiers and horses required to eat, were taken, but in all other respects the citizens have no cause to complain. Indeed the citizens at several points, and especially in the largest village, Urbanna, expressed their gratification at the good conduct of the soldiers generally.

The country was almost entirely deserted of able-bodied men, and only the old and decrepid of the male sex were to be seen. These, as well as the women, believing the exaggerated reports of their own soldiery, believed that the Yankee troops never showed any mercy to any one in rebeldom, and therefore were filled with apprehension upon our approach, expecting as they did to be murdered. One family, consisting of a widow woman and three daughters, all highly cultivated, concealed themselves in the woods, and when found by an officer, it was with difficulty he could induce them to return to their house. They fully expected to be murdered, but afterward expressed much satisfaction at the conduct of the Union troops.

On Monday night one of our advanced pickets from Urbanna saw in the dim distance a force of some kind approaching. The picket made the usual challenge, but there was no response, and he fired. The object fired at continuing to advance, the picket fell back upon the reserve. On came the mysterious foe, and preparations were being made by the reserve for a severe contest, when one man with stronger eyesight than the rest saw that the approaching force was composed of negroes. Sure enough, it proved that thirty or forty negroes were coming up in one gang. When asked why they did not halt after being fired upon, the leader said they thought the safest way was to rush in and give themselves up; they believed this to be the way soldiers surrendered in battle.

The immediate benefit of this raid, aside from

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B. J. Kilpatrick (3)
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