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[533] was intensely hot; the dusty roads lined by thick brush, which excluded air, yet afforded little or no shade; so that marches of barely 5 or 6 miles per day were accomplished with great fatigue and peril. Our men had no cannon. A Rebel battery, well supported, was found ill position three miles north-west of Legareville; which the 26th U. S. Colored was finally sent1 forward to take, and made five spirited charges upon, losing 97 killed and wounded. But they were 600 without cannon, against an equal force strongly posted, with 4 guns; so they were worsted, and their Col. (Silliman) falling from sunstroke, they were called off; and the expedition returned,2 after parading about the islands for another week. What it meant, if it meant any thing, or why force enough was not sent up to take the Rebel battery, if that was deemed desirable, remains among the mysteries of strategy. The foolish, wasteful fight was called by our men “The battle of bloody bridge.”

In North Carolina-our forces here having been slender since Foster's 12,000 veterans were made over to the South Carolina department in 1863--the initiative was taken this year by Gen. Pickett, commanding the Rebel department, who suddenly struck3 our outpost at Bachelor's creek, 8 miles above Newbern, held by the 132d New York, carrying it by assault, and making 100 prisoners. Following up his success, he threatened Newbern; and a force under Capt. Wood actually carried, by boarding from boats, the fine gunboat boat Underwriter, lying close to the wharf, and under the fire of three batteries scarcely 100 yards distant. Those batteries opening upon her, while she had no steam up, the captors could do no better than fire and destroy her. Pickett now drew off, without trying his strength against the defenses of Newbern; claiming to have killed and wounded 100 of our men, captured 280, with two guns, 300 small arms, &c., and destroyed a gunboat of 800 horse-power, mounting 4 heavy guns — all at a cost of 35 killed and wounded.

The next blow was struck at Plymouth, near the mouth of the Roanoke, which was held for the Union by Gen. Wessells, with the 85th New York, 101st and 103d Penn., 16th Conn., and 6 companies from other regiments — in all 2,400 men. It was a fairly fortified position; while the gunboats Southfield, Miami, and Bombshell, were anchored in the river opposite. Gen. R. F. Hoke, with three infantry brigades, a regiment of cavalry, and 7 batteries — in all, at least 7,000 men — advanced against it so stealthily that he was within two miles4 before Wessells was apprised of his danger. The mailed ram Albemarle, coming down the Roanoke, took part in the attack.

Fort Warren, our up-river outpost, was first assailed; and our gunboat Bombshell, going to its assistance, was disabled by the fire of the Rebel artillery. While the fight here was still in progress, Hoke opened on Fort Wessells, a mile farther down, which was repeatedly charged in immense force; but every assault was repulsed with great slaughter. At length, however, this fort was so completely and closely surrounded by

1 July 7.

2 July 14.

3 Feb. 1.

4 April 17.

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