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Doc. 184. engagement at Warwick, Va., November 22, 1861.

A correspondent of the Philadelphia Enquirer gives the following particulars of the attack upon the rebel camp at Warwick by the gunboats Cambridge and Hertzel.

An intelligent deserter from the Tenth Georgia regiment reached Newport News on the morning of Friday last, and was taken to headquarters at Fortress Monroe, where, upon being interrogated, he made known the location of a number of important rebel camps on the right bank of the James River.

Acting upon this information, an expedition, consisting of two gunboats, was prepared on Friday, in readiness to proceed at nightfall to the junction of the James and Warwick rivers, about five and one-half miles above Newport News. The Cambridge led the way and steamed without interruption until reaching the point designated, where the white tents of the enemy could be plainly discerned on a low wooded triangular piece of land. This was near midnight.

Almost before the rebel pickets could give the alarm, the gunboats were in position, and had opened fire upon the camps, the guns following each other in rapid succession.

No effectual resistance was made by the enemy, and the discharges were continued for over an hour, at which time the camps appeared nearly deserted. The darkness of the night and the want of sufficient men prevented a landing being effected. Indeed, this was not the object of the expedition, the sole aim being to destroy the camps by an efficient cannonade, and this was successfully accomplished. It is believed that the loss of life on the part of the rebels was heavy, owing to the suddenness of the attack, and their comparatively defenseless state.

After the exploit the gunboats returned to Newport News and anchored in the stream, the result being communicated to Gen. Wool and Commodore Goldsborough.

The rebel deserter alluded to was about twenty years of age. He managed to elude the vigilance of the outer rebel pickets, and followed the sandy shore of James River, from the camp which he was deserting to Newport News, where he was met by five men of one of the Massachusetts regiments, and taken in charge. He desired to return to his parents in Boston. He was a sailor by profession, and at the time of the blockade was attached to a Massachusetts vessel at Savannah. Owing to the blockade, she was unable to get to sea, and the lad found himself without employment. He finally visited Augusta, Georgia, and being entirely destitute of money, and attracted by the placards covering the walls of the city, promising eleven dollars per month to those who would enlist, he became a member of the Tenth Georgia regiment, Col. Cummins.

The regiment was armed principally with smooth-bore muskets. It was composed of sailors and the laboring men of Augusta, and after its organization was located at many different points without seeing active service, until finally, about two months ago, it left Richmond and came down the James River to a place known as Young's Mills, in Warwick County, Va., on the banks of Deep Creek. Here a camp was formed, and in this same neighborhood were, and still are (except those scattered by the gunboats) the following regiments: Tenth Georgia, Col. Cummins; Second Louisiana, Col. Farnaw; Fifteenth Virginia, Second Florida, Tenth Louisiana, Sixth Georgia, Louisiana Zouaves, five hundred cavalry, one battery of eight pieces.

The Second Louisiana regiment had the most exposed position, the camp being on the point of land at the confluence of the Warwick and James rivers and Deep Creek. It was this regiment which sustained the fire of the gunboats, as already stated. On the point they have thrown up an earthwork, and procured two howitzers for its defence. They have also brought a number of old canal boats down from Richmond, and sunk them across the entrance to Warwick River, a stream one mile in width at its mouth.

The Tenth Georgia camp adjoins that of the Second Louisiana, being further up the shore of Warwick River. Adjoining these, and still [415] further up, is the Tenth Louisiana. Beyond these, and one mile distant from the river, at Tabb's fields, (near Warwick Court House,) is the Second Florida. The Fifteenth Virginia command the road leading from Newport News to Richmond, and have thrown earthworks across it at a point about five miles above the News. They have also ditched it, and erected an eightgun battery, already alluded to. Of the guns two are brass field-pieces and one a rifled cannon. A squadron of five hundred cavalry is stationed with this regiment, and used for scouting purposes. The Sixth Georgia regiment is at Yorktown, where formidable earth-works have been thrown up with the assistance of negroes impressed into the service. The Louisiana Zouaves are at Williamsburg, exactly sixty miles from Richmond.

Nearly all of the rebel troops are erecting winter-quarters, there being no design of advancing upon Newport News or Fortress Monroe, although this idea was entertained some time since. General Magruder has twenty-three thousand troops in this department, comprising the districts of James and York rivers. He visits the camps at long intervals, and is addicted to hard drinking. The tents in use are generally very poor. The rations consist of fresh meat and hard bread twice each week; bacon twice, and sugar and coffee twice. There is plenty of food such as it is, the provisions being brought by steamers from Richmond.

Two weeks ago the Tenth Georgia regiment received new clothing, each man being obliged to pay twenty-four dollars for his suit-this sum being deducted from his wages. This created much dissatisfaction among the soldiers. Two months ago three other regiments received new clothing.

The Second North Carolina regiment went home two weeks ago, many of the men positively refusing to serve under Gen. Magruder.

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John B. Magruder (2)
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John E. Wool (1)
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L. M. Goldsborough (1)
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