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[483] expelled. As this position enabled the enemy to shell the town and our vessels lying before it, Foster attempted to recover it by an assault, but failed; and a second attempt, aided by the gunboat Ceres, which had just come up, running the Rebel batteries, was defeated by the untimely grounding of that vessel.

Hill, having opened upon our works with 14 heavy guns, Fort Washington replied; and a mutual bombardment for 12 days was only interrupted by the failure of our ammunition.

Meantime, a small fleet of gun-boats had arrived below the Rebel batteries commanding the river, with a relieving force of 3,000 men on transports, under Brig.-Gen. Henry Prince, whom Foster ordered to land and take the Hill's Point battery, so as to allow the boats to come up. Prince decided this impracticable, and refused to attempt it.

Foster was now obliged to supply his batteries with ammunition by means of sail and row-boats, which stole up the river under the cover of darkness; evading Hill's guard-boats, which were on the lookout to intercept them. Thus, lie generally received enough during each night to serve his batteries for the ensuing day.

At length, the steamboat Escort, Capt. Hall, having on board the 5th Rhode Island, with a supply of ammunition, ran the blockade by night,1 and arrived safely at the wharf, giving matters a very different aspect; so Foster returned in her by daylight2 to Newbern; she receiving, on her way down the river, 47 shots, which killed her pilot and killed or wounded 7 of her crew; but her machinery was so shielded by pressed hay-bales that the gunboat was not disabled.

And now, putting himself at the head of 7,000 men who, under Gen. J. N. Palmer, had been quietly awaiting at Newbern the issue of the siege, Foster started3 by land to fight his way back; gathering up Prince's 3,000 men by the way, and occupying, next day, Hill's Point battery, which the enemy abandoned on his approach. Pushing on, he found Hill in full retreat, and was unable to bring him to a stand. Of course, the presumption is strong that Hill's force had been over-estimated by Foster at 20,000.

An expedition composed of three Mass. regiments. under Col. J. R. Jones, was soon dispatched4 to capture a Rebel outpost at Gum Swamp, 8 miles from Kinston; and was partially successful, taking 165 prisoners; but the enemy attacked our outpost in return, killing Col. Jones and inflicting some other loss, though finally repulsed.

A cavalry raid, supported by infantry, to Warsaw,5 on the Weldon and Wilmington Railroad, and another, soon afterward, to the Rocky Mount station, proved successful: the railroad being broken in either instance, and considerable property destroyed; Tarborough being captured, and several steamers burned there, during the latter.

Gen. Foster was soon ordered6 to Fortress Monroe--his command being enlarged to embrace that section of Virginia — but no important movement occurred till he was relieved7 by Gen. Butler, and ordered to succeed Gen. Burnside in East Tennessee.

1 April 12.

2 April 14.

3 April 17.

4 May 21.

5 July 3.

6 July 13.

7 Oct. 28.

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