March of our troops down the peninsula, and the burning of Hampton.
We learn from one of the participant in the expedition that terminated in the burning of Hampton
, that General Magruder
, with a part of his force, left the Camp at Yorktown
on Friday week, and proceeded to Young's Mill, nine miles from Bethel
, where he remained some days.
Subsequently, he went to Bethel
and then to within five miles of New Market bridge, where he remained all night Tuesday last.
Early on Wednesday morning, he appeared within a mile and a half of Newport News and drew up in battle array.
It was reported that he communicated with the commander of the fortification and challenged him to battle, which he declined; but there is no certainty about this.
At all events, the Federalists remanded in their fortification.
After waiting an hour and a half or so General Magruder
marched towards Hampton
In crossing New-Market bridge the enemy's pickets fired and fled; one of our soldiers a Virginian) was slightly wounded in the face.
The General went to within a milch and a half of Hampton
At night large fires were built at this point, and the General
withdrew to within three miles of Hampton
After midnight, finding that the enemy made no demonstration whatever, he dispatched some two or three regiments of infantry and a troop of cavalry to Hampton
, with instructions to burn it down.
This force entered the town, found it unoccupied except by one or two persons, and, at about 3 o'clock, set the place on fire.
At half-past 3 the whole town was in a blaze, and by morning was reduced to ashes.
On Thursday General Magruder
returned to Bethel
The burning of Hampton
, we learn, was considered a military necessity.
It was as certained that it was to be made winter quarters for the Federalists, and a completer fortification, which indeed was already commenced, was to be thrown up for its defence.
Under this representation, as painful as it was to reduce such a place as Hampton
to ruins, every one readily acquiesced, and three gentlemen, owners of houses there, joined the expedition, and with alacrity applied the torch themselves to their property.
Every true Southern man would prefer to see his house in ashes rather than it become a place of shelter to the invader, from which to carry on his war of rapine and desolation.