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[468] fatigued from the effects of long marches, loss of sleep and short allowances of food. But their patriotism instilled into them an energy that demonstrated that the work to be done would be faithfully and successfully performed, as the subjoined sequel will show.

The same day they started began their daring exploits. But a few hours out they had turned the rebels' right flank. Here was a point gained for our main army to work upon, and which was not lost by it. After this manoeuvre they pushed on and reached Chesterfield Court-house, where they visited the jail, and found confined in it three persons who had been imprisoned for refusing to take up arms against the United States Government. Releasing these, the command pushed rapidly on to Coalfield pits, within twelve miles of Richmond, on the Danville road. Here the work of destroying the track was commenced, the depot burned, and the mails captured. Bivouacking about four miles beyond, about daylight next morning started for Powhatan station, where they arrived at half-past 8 A. M., driving the rebel pickets before them. Here, too, the track, depot, several cars and a large amount of forage was destroyed.

The next point visited was the bridge at Matoax. Being built of iron and solid masonry, no attempt was made to destroy it, as it was defended by four pieces of artillery, which would have caused a sacrifice of life that would not have warranted its destruction. After reconnoitering for a while in the vicinity, the command struck off on the road to Goode's bridge, on the Appomattox. On their arrival at the site, they found that the bridge had been removed by the rebels. In the astonishing short time of four hours the men had thrown a structure across the stream, marched over it, and burned it again, so that the rebels could not use it.

Forward to Chorea station the line now moved. Here it was ascertained that three trains, heavily loaded with troops, had arrived. One train remained, while the two others ran down immediately to the junction of Southside and Danville railroads. Here considerable railroad property was destroyed, much to the discomfort of the enemy, who sent a locomotive down to reconnoitre. About daylight of next morning, Saturday, the Eleventh Pennsylvania cavalry formed on the left, with the Third New York cavalry on the right. A demonstration was made upon Flat creek bridge. While Lieutenant Schriver was leading a charge across this bridge he fell, mortally wounded. The enemy were in strong force, and the contest waxed fierce for a time.

While it was going on, another portion of the command, the Fifth Pennsylvania and First District of Columbia cavalry, were doing important work — the demolition of the telegraphs, locomotives, cars, track and ties of the railroad. From this point it pushed for the Southside railroad, by the way of Deep creek. At the road leading from the latter place to Petersburg it was learned that five thousand rebels were in position about three miles beyond. The scouts were driven in, and General Kautz ordered the Fifth Pennsylvania to proceed on that road a few miles, to create the impression that we were marching toward Petersburg.

While this was going on the main body was moving on to Wellville. Colonel Spear's brigade then marched to Wilson's depot, six miles beyond. After destroying much at both points, the command continued on to Black's and White's. Here a large amount of supplies were destroyed, together with the depots and tracks.

On Sunday the command had reached Brunswick Court-house, where all the commissary stores were rendered useless. Monday morning brought them to within four miles of Hicksford, where preparations had been made to entrap the command. A large force of cavalry, infantry and artillery were awaiting the approach of this body of Union troops, who proved to be too discreet for the rebels' plan of capture. Instead of striking Hicksford, the cavalry turned off to Jarrett's, and destroyed the telegraph and water-tank.

Pushing on to Nottoway bridge, it was found that that portion of the road which had been destroyed by the previous raid, about a week before, had been repaired, and that a train had passed slowly over it. From this point the command went forward to Freeman's bridge, and finding the rebels endeavoring to destroy it, drove them away, repaired the damage, and crossed by daylight.

The last day out, Tuesday, Belcher's mills were reached and destroyed. Before departing from the mills, the rear of the column was attacked by the rebels. A brisk fight ensued, and the rebels received severe punishment from the gallant men under the brave Colonel Spear, who was in command. The march continued on, taking the right hand road at Harrison's for City Point. The rebels continued to harass our rear until it reached the Suffolk and Petersburg railroad. A culvert on the line of this road, which had once before been partially destroyed, but since repaired, was again rendered useless. Tools found in the vicinity shared a similar fate. Other damage was inflicted upon the road, and and finally the whole force moved directly on to City Point, which was reached about sundown on Tuesday.

The brave officers who were in command, and the men who composed the expedition, have won for themselves new and unfading laurels. They have shown that they are ready to make any sacrifice which tends to cripple the enemy and advance the cause of the Union. For more than a fortnight they have endured fatigue, loss of sleep and hunger. It was about the second of this month when they started on their first raid, which ushered in this campaign, and they had but fairly returned, when, on Thursday last, they were off again on this second raid.

Their last expedition traversed a great deal of the ground over which they before passed, and in doing this they again laid waste a great deal

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S. P. Spear (2)
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