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[194] concentrate troops at Tarboro; the capture of several prisoners, a large number of horses and supplies; and the release from bondage of several hundred slaves, whose masters ran away from them at our approach, leaving the dusky contrabands to welcome us with fervent gratitude, and to join us at our departure.

Too much praise cannot be given to the new troops who courageously endured the tedious marches of the expedition, through sultry heats as well as cold and sleet, camping under inclement skies without shelter, and bravely undergoing all the hardships of forced marches and short rations. Old troops, who have served through this and former wars, declare that they have never before had so rough and tedious a campaign, and you will not be surprised to learn that the army reached Plymouth on its return with greatly diminished numbers. As a specimen of the whole, (for new and old regiments suffered nearly alike,) I will cite the Fifth Massachusetts regiment, which left Newbern with seven hundred and sixty-eight men, and after leaving fifty in garrison at Washington, returned to Plymouth with less than four hundred and seventy-five men.

The Forty-fourth Massachusetts was called to endure even more than the Fifth, they having marched from Newbern to Washington while our regiment was proceeding to the same destination by water. Two companies of the Forty-fourth were also engaged in the night scouting and skirmishing near Tarboro. The regiment acquitted itself creditably in the actions at Old Ford and Rawls's Mills.

The troops who fell out on the march were left on board the gunboats at Williamston and Hamilton. Two deaths from exhaustion occurred on board the boats, but I have not been able to learn the names of the deceased. Surgeon Ingalls and Assistant-Surgeon Hoyt, of the Fifth, were untiring in their exertions to promote the comfort of the troops, and have won the grateful esteem of the men by their kind attentions during the long march.

The expedition was a bold movement on the part of Gen. Foster, and will convince the enemy that they have a foe in this quarter who is not disposed to remain inactive while they are carrying out their plans, and that it will not be safe for them to send their forces north if they desire to retain their hold on North-Carolina.

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H. W. Prescott (1)
Ingalls (1)
Henry M. Hoyt (1)
Hamilton (1)
J. G. Foster (1)
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