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[122] Edenton, and a large column on the river, by the Providence Church road. Much fine skirmishing took place on all these roads, but the pickets were pressed back and the enemy was not checked until he came within artillery range. He sustained some loss, and fell back a few miles to his line of battle.

On the thirteenth the enemy skirmished with our light troops on all the approaches. On the Sommerton, Colonel Foster handled him very roughly, driving him back and restoring his picket line at sundown. On the river the contest was sharp and long, but the batteries and gunboats held the enemy at bay.

On the fourteenth, Lieutenant Cushing, United States Navy, was hotly engaged for several hours with a large force at the mouth of the West Branch. His loss was severe; but the enemy suffered much, and had some artillery dismounted.

The enemy opened a ten-gun battery near the Norfleet House, for the purpose of destroying the gunboats and of covering a crossing. Lieutenant Samson., with the Mount Washington, West End, and stepping Stones, engaged the battery for some hours in the most gallant manner, but was compelled to drop down to the West Branch.

The Mount Washington, completely riddled and disabled, grounded, as did the West End, and both were towed off by the Stepping Stones. The rudder of the Alert was broken.

Several batteries on the river were opened with fine effect, and others were pushed with all despatch towards completion. More or less skirmishing and artillery fire on all portions of the lines.

In the night the Smith Briggs, lying near my headquarters, was attacked, but Captain Lee and the guns of the Draw-bridge repulsed the enemy.

Fifteenth.--The force between Suffolk and West Branch, last night, was reported by the best authorities at ten thousand, with a pontoon train, under the immediate command of General French. About noon our batteries, under direction of General Getty, below the mouth of Jericho Creek, were warmly engaged with the Norfleet battery. Four of the rebel twenty-pounder rifles were dismounted, and the battery was silenced.

A party sent out on the Edenton road captured the camp equipage of one regiment. Fear of an ambuscade alone prevented taking many prisoners.

Seventeenth.--Major Stratton, with a force of cavalry, held South Mills, which is the key to nearly all the approaches from North Carolina on the south side of the Dismal Swamp.

There was much skirmishing on all the avenues of approach, with some field artillery. General Terry's front was much annoyed from the first day by the near approach of riflemen. Under his orders the enemy was signally punished.

General French's engineer was taken prisoner by Lieutenant Cushing's pickets. He was laying out works, and had a map of Suffolk, which he tore in pieces.

Eighteenth.--The enemy was very active in throwing up new batteries and rifle-pits along the river. A heavy one was in progress near the mouth of West Branch, on Hill's Point.

Admiral Lee, United States Navy, ordered all the boats out of the upper Nansemond, lest they should be destroyed, leaving the whole defence of the river to the land forces. The Admiral was urged to reconsider his orders. Upon my representation the order was temporarily suspended.

Nineteenth.--About dusk General Getty and Lieutenant Samson executed most successfully a plan which had been agreed upon for crossing the river and capturing Battery Huger, at the mouth of the West Branch. The Eighty-ninth New York and Eighth Connecticut were taken over on the Stepping Stones. Five pieces of artillery were captured, nine (9) officers, and one hundred and twenty (120) soldiers. It was well conceived, ably conducted, and reflects great honor on the combined arms. Lieutenant Samson suggested the enterprise, landed with four of his howitzers, and played a most brilliant part. Captain Stevens was conspicuous for his gallant conduct in this affair, and deserves mention; also Lieutenants McKechine and Faxon, Aides of General betty.

Twentieth.--Major Stratton visited Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and found it abandoned by our troops. He found General Longstreet's pickets in the vicinity of Sandy Cross.

Twenty-first.--The command was highly honored by a visit from Major-General Halleck, Commander-in-Chief, accompanied by Major-General Dix.

Twenty-second.--A heavy rain storm commenced, suspending all fatigue labors; but adding materially to the strength of the swamp on the left flank.

Twenty-fourth.--A demonstration was made upon the enemy's right flank on the Edenton road, under General Corcoran, Colonels Foster and Spear, while a feint was made on the Sommerton by Colonel Buler. The enemy was driven in confusion from all his advance points and rifle-pits, back upon the main line of defence behind the dam and swamp at Darden's Mill. A force, estimated at about fifteen thousand, was believed to be massed on that front. The object of the move was attained, and the command withdrawn. Colonels Beach, Drake, and Murphy, had provisional brigades, and handled them extremely well. Captain Simpson commanded the artillery.

Twenty-fifth.-Information was received of the arrival of heavy artillery from Petersburg. Troops were reported on this side of the Chowan, on the way from General Hill, under General Garnett.

Twenty-seventh.--Major Stratton occupied Camden Court House, and burned a ferry boat of the enemy's. The rebels were very active at

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