The expedition was composed of Lieutenant C. W. Read
, Lieutenant W. H. Wall
, Master W. F. Shippey
, Passed Midshipmen Scott
, and Lieutenant
of Marine Crenshaw
, a Surgeon from the fleet (whose name, I regret to say, I cannot now recall) and about ninety seamen and marines.
The officers and sailors were armed with ship's cutlasses and revolvers, and the marines with rifles.
The boats were placed in chocks on four wagon wheels, torpedoes, poles and gear inside, and each drawn by four mules.
, a volunteer officer of the Navy, had been sent ahead to reconnoitre, and was to meet us at the ford of the Blackwater
and pilot us to the James
How he fulfilled his engagements will be shown in the sequel.
This man Lewis
was mate of an American ship lying in Norfolk harbor at the time of the secession of Virginia
, and had left his ship to join the Confederates
, had served faithfully in the army, been wounded at Bull Run
, transferred to the Navy and commissioned an Acting Lieutenant
, and was considered worthy of trust and confidence.
Our first day's march brought us to General Anderson
's headquarters, the right of our army, where we encamped that night, and, breaking camp early the following morning, we struck out from our picket line to gain the old Jerusalem
plank road—our party being reinforced by two young English gentlemen, guests of General Anderson
, who thought they would ‘like to see the fun.’
A short distance outside of our lines we had our first alarm, running up nearly face to face with a column of the enemy coming up to attack our troops on the right.
By a ‘change of base’ we managed to dodge them, and they passed on, paying little heed to us, who they doubtless supposed to be a picket post, and soon the firing in our rear told us that the ‘ball had opened.’
We passed on our way, well assured that the fight going on behind would serve to attract attention from us and favor our march.
We knew not what proportions the battle would assume or what would be the result, nor felt we much uneasiness, for was not one, Lee
, and his brave boys in gray there to attend to them?
Of our two volunteers, I never heard more, but suppose they found their way back to General Anderson
's headquarters, as they were mounted and had only to follow the retreating cavalry pickets.
We were now fairly embarked on our expedition, pushing our way through the enemy's country and separated from our friends by his army.
Our march was in three detachments, the advance under Read