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[615] vain efforts to extricate her, was obliged to abandon her. The crew and materiel were put on board one of the prizes, which sailed direct for Beaufort with a fair wind, while Cushing remained to the last on board his vessel, exposed to the enemy's shot. He finally set her on fire, and, taking one of the launches, reached Fort Macon safe and sound.

On the same day three Federal steamers, leaving Yorktown, in Virginia, with a few companies of infantry, landed these troops for a few hours in one of the bays of Matthews county, on the Chesapeake coast, where they destroyed three schooners and some important saltworks. In the mean time, Foster had received new reinforcements, which enabled him at last to carry out his plan of campaign. Wessell's brigade, detached from Peck's division, which was stationed between Yorktown and Fort Monroe, had come to join him at Newberne, and on the 11th of December he set off with the four brigades placed under his command. This time the preliminaries were complete, and nothing was likely to stop the march of his troops, as had been the case the preceding month. The object of the expedition was difficult to accomplish. Foster proposed to penetrate into the interior of the country, and to cut, in the vicinity of Goldsboroa, the track of that Richmond and Wilmington line of railway which, since the capture of Roanoke eight months before, the Federals had been vainly seeking to destroy.

In this expedition he was deprived of the support of the navy; for the waters of the Neuse were too shallow to be navigated by gun-boats, and the experience acquired on the rivers of North Carolina proved, moreover, that, in these sinuous and enclosed water-courses, ships of war ran the risk of being captured without rendering any service to the land-forces. Foster, therefore, could only rely upon his own troops. The country was little known, presenting at every step, behind deep and swampy streams, positions easy to defend. The column, comprising ten or eleven thousand infantry, one regiment of cavalry and twenty-six fieldpieces, proceeded toward Kingston, a pretty little town, near which the Newberne and Goldsboroa Railroad crosses the Neuse. The soldiers had three days rations in their haversacks, and the armywagons carried provisions for seven more. In short, the resources

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