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[614] had massed their forces higher up on the Roanoke, at a point called Rainbow's Bluff, where was planted a battery constructed so as to command the river, but on the approach of the Federals they retired to Tarboroa. On the 5th, Foster, ascending the Roanoke, found this work abandoned, and reached the village of Hamilton, where several houses were burnt down by undisciplined soldiers. Leaving the gun-boats to guard this point, the Federals started for Tarboroa on the 6th, and encamped in the evening at sixteen kilometres from this village. But the march had been very trying for these soldiers, little inured to the hardships of camp-life; more than one-third of them had been unable to keep up with the column; the weather had become threatening, and the least rainfall would render the roads almost impassable. At last Foster received information, exaggerated, it is true, that considerable forces were assembled at Tarboroa for the purpose of protecting the great railway line. He did not venture to attack them, but retraced his steps on the morning of the 7th. A snow-storm rendered this retreat extremely painful; after two days sufferings, however, his troops reached Plymouth on the 9th of November, where they again shipped for Newberne. In this expedition Foster gathered a large quantity of provisions, diverted from Plymouth the attack which menaced that post, and gave the Confederates to understand that he was able to move off some distance from the coast; in short, he gave his troops some kind of experience in warfare, but this first essay cost him dear, and he brought back with him a very large number of sick and lame.

Whilst he was preparing to undertake a more serious campaign against the Richmond and Wilmington line of railway, the operations of the naval force were of but little importance. On the 23d of November, Lieutenant Cushing, an enterprising officer, who signalized himself at a later period by one of the most brilliant and remarkable exploits of this war, penetrated into the New River with the steamer Ellis, between Wilmington and Fort Macon, and ascended this water-course as far as Jacksonville, where he captured two schooners. But when he came down the river, the Confederates, posted on the shore with two pieces of cannon, received him with a very brisk fire. He had the misfortune to run his ship aground upon the bar, and, after spending the night in

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