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[434] worn uniforms. The hands play enlivening airs, and all are active and merry. No one would think that these men at daybreak are to start on a march that may lead them to battle and many to their deaths. But thus it is, and thus it ever is in war-times. War is a mysterious developer of curious phases of human life, and philosophy and science look on bewildered. Tattoo and taps are beat in their order. Except here and there a late light in an officer's tent, who is writing what may prove his farewell letters, a deep silence pervades the camps. The men are sleeping and dreaming — dreams of childhood, home, loves, ambition, battles, victories, death. The light of the camp-fires grows dimmer, and the pale moonlight reveals a picture growing more serene and silent as the hours advance. There is no more impressive picture than an encampment in a midnight moonlight. Underlying the picture is that too deep for utterance. In coarse woolen blankets lie patriots, heroes, martyrs, true men. These are no cowards; devotion to country has brought them here.

Cockletown, nine miles beyond Big Bethel, April 4, 1862.
We have seen some of the rebel forces, and they have fled before us. The Stars and Stripes have been hoisted, and are floating over rebel fortifications where the flag of disunion has long waved in triumph its ignominious folds. But I must resume my narrative where I left it off last evening, of the movements of this division, and give briefly, in the order of occurrence, the events of the day.

At three A. M. the long roll sounded, summoning the troops from their sleep. In a few moments the lights of a thousand camp-fires were brightly burning, the coffee was boiling hot, the morning meal was hastily eaten, knapsacks were packed, and officers and men were in their places, and ready to march. I need not describe the scenes attending the breaking up of camps. It is now more than a “thrice-told tale.” The men were not allowed to overload themselves. The soldiers carried their own shelter-tents. Only six wagons were allowed each regiment for the conveying officers' tents, baggage, hospital and commissary stores. It was a little past five o'clock when the division brigades had formed in line of march.

The cavalry and sharpshooters preceded the column, to look after the enemy, remove felled trees, and rebuild the bridges over Big Bethel Creek, which had been destroyed since the reconnoissance several days ago. Gen. Morell's brigade, and Gen. Hamilton's division, took what is called the “road to the right.” The remainder of the troops in the corps took the main road to Yorktown. They all came together near Big Bethel, where the works of the enemy were found the same as on the first visitation of our regiments. From this point the column proceeded, in order of brigades, to the Half-way House. The Fourteenth New-York regiment, Col. McQuade, and Allen's battery, were sent on to Howard's Bridge. to reconnoitre the territory and feel the enemy. And now began the advance farther into rebel territory than had been made by any of our forces hitherto. Capt. Sears's company was ordered ahead as skirmishers. The road is winding and muddy, and a good deal of the way skirted with woods on either side. Mounted scouts of the enemy soon showed themselves. Between the two there was pretty brisk firing. The enemy continued to retreat until they fell back to their intrenchments at Harrold's Mill. On the way, a rebel, believed to be an officer, was shot but whether fatally or otherwise is unknown, as his comrades bore him away with them. A horse, shot dead by our men, was left behind. As our men arrived within half a mile of the rebel intrenchments, several shots were fired at them from two rifled cannon. Allen's battery responded by hurling in three well-directed shells. The enemy were not long in evacuating. Taking their cannon--ten-pounders — they fled to their barracks to the left, set fire to them, and then beat a precipitate retreat in the direction of Yorktown.

The force inside the works consisted of three companies of Major Phillips's Virginia cavalry, under command of Capts. Todd, Puller and Rose, and a battalion of Mississippi infantry. Two of the infantry managed to straggle behind and allow themselves to be captured. One says he is a native of Boston, and the other of Wisconsin. Happening to be in Mississippi when the rebellion broke out, they were impressed into service, and the present was their first opportunity of joining the Union troops.

Our troops quickly extinguished the flames of the burning barracks. They were log-huts for winter accommodation, got up in the comfortable style of the Manassas huts, and well provided with soldierly requirements — flour, meat, blankets, cooking-utensils, etc. The fires for cooking were still burning, pots of eatables boiling, and tables spread for a set down. There were about twenty huts, and a quantity of extemporized shelters and sleeping-places made of rails and covered with boughs. A portion of the Fourteenth regiment, headed by Lieut.-Col. Skillen, and Capt. Auchmutz and Lieut. Seymour, of Gen. Morell's staff, pursued the retreating rebels nearly a mile. Firing was kept up on both sides. A rifle-ball grazed the top of Lieut. Seymour's cap.

By the time the Stars and Stripes had been planted on the enemy's earthworks, the remaining regiments of Gen. Morell's brigade arrived at the place. They made the surrounding woods ring with their cheers, at sight of the glorious national ensign. The intrenchments consist of only two earthworks on either side of Poquosin River, which at this point is narrow and meandering, to an extent possibly pleasing to one of poetic fancy, but stupidly disgusting to one who has to make his way along by practicable pedestrianism. They are both of most ordinary and plain construction, with a ditch on both sides. On the river is the skeleton remnant of an old mill; so old, I should presume from its appearance, that the memory of the oldest inhabitant

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