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Mr. Thomas' reply.

Smithfield, Va., Feb. 27, 1906.
William W. Rogers, Esq., No. 2553 North Colorado Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
My Dear Sir,—Yours of February 22d, to the Mayor or head citizen of the town of Smithfield, relative to the destruction of the Federal gunboat Smith Briggs and the capture of the Federal forces under Captain Lee, on the 1st day of February, 1864, was received by V. C. Joyner, Mayor of the town, on the 24th of this month, and he, on the same day, delivered the letter to me for reply. I will give you the information you desire, so far as I can, with a great deal of pleasure.

My brother, J. O. Thomas, of Four Square, now in his seventy-third year, was an active participant in the engagement of February I, 1864. I have frequently heard him narrate the circumstances with great circumstantiality, and on Saturday night last I went up to his house and got him to repeat the story so that I might give it to you with freshness and accuracy.

Captain Sturdivant, of Richmond, Va., with two pieces of artillery, with two small companies of North Carolina infantry, and with a few cavalrymen of that State, went down to Cherry Grove, about ten miles from Smithfield, where he had a splendid and unobstructed view of the whole river front from that point to Norfolk, so that he might see and report anything and everything that was going on.

While he was going to Cherry Grove the Smith Briggs was bringing Captain Lee and his men to Smithfield for a similar purpose. They were unobserved by Captain Sturdivant, and were entirely unsuspected by him.

On Sturdivant's return from Cherry Grove, he suddenly, and to his amazement, ran into the forces under Captain Lee, at Six Oaks, near Scott's Factory, about four miles from Smithfield.

A slight engagement ensued. The result of it was, Lee fell back to Smithfield, and Sturdivant went on his way, westwardly, to Ivor.

In going to Ivor he passed right by my brother's farm—Four Square—an estate of about three thousand acres, about four miles from Smithfield, and about seven miles from Six Oaks.

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