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[123] night, chopping, moving troops, and signaling. A new battery of three guns was opened by them below Norfleet battery. Chopping parties were broken up by the Redan and Mansfield battery. They re-occupied the Hills Point battery in the night.

The steamers Commerce and Swan, under the volunteer pilotage of Lieutenants Rowe and Norton, of the Ninety-ninth New York, ran down past the batteries in the night, but not without many shots. These officers are entitled to much credit for this service.

Twenty-eighth.--Suffolk was visited by a heavy storm. A rebel work for several guns was discovered on the river.

Twenty-ninth.--The Honorable Secretary of State, William H. Seward, paid a visit, in company with Major-General Dix, to this command.

Thirtieth.--The enemy opened early this morning with one Whitworth, one thirty and thirty-five-pounder Parrott. Towards night they opened fire upon the Commodore Barney, and the battery was silenced by the Barney (Lieutenant Cushing, United States Navy), and Captain Norris' battery, in Fort Stevens.

May first.--There was a sharp skirmish in General Terry's front, about five P. M. The enemy, reinforced largely, was held in check from the guns of Nansemond, South Quay, and Rosecrans, with considerable loss.

Another brigade, from North Carolina, was reported to have joined Longstreet.

Third.--A reconnoissance in force was made by Generals Getty and Harland on the enemy's left flank. The troops crossed at nine A. M., at the Draw-bridge, under the fire of Battery Mansfield, Onondaga, and the Smith Briggs, and seized the plateau near Pruden's house, in spite of sharp-shooters in the rifle-pits, orchards, and woods. The advance was slow, every inch being hotly contested. The movement resulted in bringing heavy reinforcements for the enemy. His numbers and artillery failed to check the troops. By night the enemy was massed on his strong line of intrenchments, and under the fire of a numerous artillery. The purpose of the movement having been attained, the troops were directed to remain on the ground, awaiting events.

In conjunction with the above, Major Crosby crossed the Nansemond, near Sleepy Hole, with the Twenty-first Connecticut, a section of the Fourth Wisconsin battery, and eleven Mounted Rifles, at four A. M., and pushed on and occupied Chuckatuck, driving out three hundred rebel cavalry. He skirmished all the way to Reed's Ferry, capturing sixteen prisoners, and then returned to the river, under the cover of the gunboats.

At the same time Colonel Dutton crossed in boats and occupied Hill's Point with the Fourth Rhode Island, a portion of the One Hundred and Seventeenth New York, and a detachment from the Commodore Barney. He advanced some distance, but was met by a superior force, posted strongly in the woods, and after much skirmishing returned upon Hill's Point, from which the enemy could not dislodge him.

I again take pleasure in acknowledging the valuable services of Lieutenants Cushing, Samson, and Harris, United States Navy. These officers rendered every assistance in their power in crossing the river. Lieutenant Cushing sent a boat, howitzer, and detachment, with the Fourth Rhode Island, under Colonel Dutton.

I regret to state that Colonel Ringgold, of the One Hundred and Third New York, lost his life from two wounds, while leading on his men in the most gallant manner. He was a meritorious officer.

Fourth.--About nine P. M., on the third, the enemy commenced retiring upon the Blackwater. His strong line of pickets prevented deserters and contrabands from getting through with the information, until he had several hours the start. Generals Corcoran and Dodge were promptly in pursuit on the Edenton road, while Colonel Foster followed upon the Sommerton. By six A. M. Colonel Foster was pressing the rear of a formidable column on the old road near Leesville. He was compelled, from the smallness of his force, to wait for the command under General Corcoran, and could not again strike the column before it reached the river. The cavalry of Colonel Spear and Colonel Onderdonk were pushed on numerous roads, and rendered valuable services, procuring information and capturing prisoners.

Thus ends the present investment, or siege of Suffolk, which had for its object the recovery of the whole country south of the James, extending to the Albemarle Sound, in North Carolina, the ports of Norfolk, and Portsmouth, eighty miles of new railroad iron, the equipment of two roads, and the capture of all the United States forces and property, with some thousands of contrabands.

General Longstreet, finding that an assault at the outset upon works defended by one-half his own force, would be expensive and uncertain, and having failed in turning either flank, decided to besiege the place, and asked for reinforcements. Probably not less than two divisions joined from General Hill. The works are constructed on the most extensive scale, and in the most approved manner. The rules and regulations prescribed by military authorities for the conduct of siege operations, have been observed. Some idea may be formed of this so-styled “foraging expedition” when I state that not less than ten miles of batteries, covered ways, and rifle-pits, have been thrown up. Most of the artillery was protected by embrasures. The parapets were from twelve to fifteen feet in thickness, and well rivetted, while the covered ways were from eight to ten feet. Longstreet had a wire laid from the Blackwater, and telegraphic arrangements throughout his lines.


We have taken five pieces of the famous Fauquier artillery, about four hundred prisoners,

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