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[353] front there is a broad space, sloping to the river, fully commanded by the guns of the works. The place was thoroughly defensible, and had the rebels made a stand, we should have had no little difficulty in dislodging them.

A small party of rebels having been observed on the opposite side of the river, our sharpshooters were deployed to pick them off. At the same moment our right flank reached its destination and sent a few shots among the enemy, causing a stampede. Away went the rebels, pell-mell, each for himself. In their retreat they stopped long enough to try to tear up the planks of the bridge, but the bullets of our sharpshooters again fell among them, and the flight was suddenly resumed. Our men followed fast, soon replaced the two or three planks that had been torn up, and tore after the flying men, but the chase was ineffectual. The rebels ran well, and were soon beyond reach.

A search of the houses in the village resulted in one curious discovery. Our soldiers entered a small cottage, and were assured that “a sick woman” lay in a chamber; but, having reason to suspect a trick, they explored the premises, and discovered a rebel soldier snugly hidden between the sheets. He was clothed in a gray uniform, and had retired without taking the trouble of removing his boots, which were covered with mud and water. He was seized as prize of war, and conveyed to headquarters, when he acknowledged that he had served in the rebel army from June to October, and had recently been assigned to duty in the works at Big Bethel.

Our forces are now in full possession of the place. The force of fifteen hundred rebels who were so summarily driven out, have left the results of their labors for our benefit; and our soldiers, although quite disgusted that they had no chance to fight, are in the full enjoyment of the enemy's resources.

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