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[245] requested to remain until further orders, which I did. At two P. M. Acting Master Wilder told me he would like to go to the upper end of the town with the launches, if I had no objection; I replied that I had none, and (as I suppose) thinking there was no danger, we not having seen any rebels on the way up, went about two hundred (200) yards farther up the creek, where about fifteen (15) of the rebel signal corps, which were concealed in the woods on the bank, opened on the launches with musketry. Sad to relate, Acting Master Wilder, of the Minnesota, was instantly killed, a musket ball passing through the head, and Harmon H. Miller, (seaman,) also from the Minnesota, was severely wounded. The boats returned the fire promptly, as did also this vessel, and we very soon heard no more from them. The boats, after giving the woods a pretty good shelling, returned to this vessel. I am satisfied, from the best information I could obtain, that the rebel torpedo boat, which has been hovering around these waters for a few days, left Smithfield on Sunday evening last, bound to Richmond. It is reported by the inhabitants, with several of whom, both white and black, I conversed, and their statements all agree, that the torpedo boat came to Smithfield on Saturday morning, the ninth instant, and left on Sunday evening for Richmond for repairs. As near as I could ascertain, she is a wooden boat, about thirty-five (35) feet long, and very narrow, has a propeller engine, low pressure, is covered with boiler iron, making her shot-proof against musketry, and is commanded by Lieutenant Davidson, of the rebel navy. This morning, at daylight, General Graham informed me that my services were no longer required at Smithfield, and requested me to cover the rear of his transports while going down the creek, which I did, and arrived at this place at 11.30 A. M. The officers and men of this vessel, as well as the officers and men of the Minnesota's launches, conducted themselves through this expedition in the most becoming manner, always ready and anxious to do their duty. Pilot Henry Stevens, of the Minnesota, deserves much credit in piloting this vessel, as well as the transports; were it not for him, we should not have been able to find the way to Smithfield without much difficulty.

I am, Sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

D. A. Campbell, Acting Master, commanding. Acting Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee, Commanding North Atlantic Squadron.

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