Doc. 124.-Colonel Dodge's expedition into North-Carolina, May, 1862.
Norfolk, Va., June 1, 1862.I have been favored with some particulars in relation to the recent brilliant expedition of the New-York Mounted Rifles, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. Dodge, into North-Carolina. The object of the expedition was to open communication with Elizabeth City and to obtain information in relation to the topography of the country between this position and certain points in North-Carolina, the condition of the roads, and the general sentiment of the people in that region. At Elizabeth City and Edenton Colonel Dodge was treated with the greatest respect, and the people gave marked evidences of joy at the appearance of the Union troops. At both of these places the Union men have been greatly oppressed by the secession leaders, and hardly dare, as yet, to express their sentiments openly. They, however, exerted themselves to the utmost to make Colonel Dodge's command as comfortable as possible, by preparing the men food and entertaining the officers. On the way from Elizabeth City the Mounted Rifles passed through the little village of Hertford, and here they met a decided opposition to the appearance of the old flag. The bells were rang and a town meeting was immediately convened, not to obstruct the passage of the troops, but to express indignation at their visit. This tempest in a teapot did not affect Colonel Dodge, who very quietly proceeded on his road, after staying as long in the place as his pleasure dictated. In passing from Elizabeth City to Hertford the troops crossed the Perquimans River, a broad, deep and rapid sheet of water. Over this stream there is a floating or raft-bridge, held to the banks by means of hawsers. In the centre of this bridge there is a draw for the passage of small craft up and down the river. This draw was sustained by a chain and an iron pin, and before the arrival of our troops the pin had evidently been removed by some parties cognizant of their approach. The greatest care was observed in crossing the bridge; but, notwithstanding the caution used, after the passage of the advance-guard, the draw sank with eight men and horses upon it. With considerable difficulty the men were all saved; but two horses were lost. The night was exceedingly dark and stormy, but the judicious management and energy of Colonel Dodge and his officers soon repaired the damage to the bridge, and the entire command passed over without further disaster. After leaving Edenton, the command pushed on to Mintonville, where the rebel officers were captured, as mentioned in my letter of yesterday. The officers were taken from their beds, and were greatly surprised at the appearance of Colonel Dodge and his party of twenty picked men. They had no idea that there was a Union soldier within many miles of them. There was great consternation in several quarters among the families of the captured rebels, but the decided firmness and delicacy of the commanding officer overcame all objections, and the prisoners were soon on their way to Suffolk. The celerity of Colonel Dodge's movements contributed to his success, for he was surrounded by enemies, and it became apparent that, by some well-devised code of signals among the rebels, his appearance was anticipated in some instances, and at Hertford, Sunsbury, Mintonville and Gatesville he was assured that he would never reach Suffolk. But his dash and dare, promptness of decision and good judgment, brought him safely through one of the most brilliant expeditions of the campaign. By means of this dashing reconnoissance the Government has become acquainted with important information in regard to the situation of the rebels in that portion of North-Carolina. The nature of the roads in various directions has been ascertained, and the position and intentions of certain rebel forces made fully apparent. The expedition is almost unparalleled in military movements, considering the time consumed and the distance travelled. The march rivals that of Havelock in India, where two hundred miles were passed over in five days and a half; and which led to Havelock's promotion from a captaincy to a lieutenant-colonelcy. Col. Dodge travelled one hundred and sixty-eight miles in four days, over corduroy roads, through the Dismal Swamp, where in some places the water was breast-high to the horses, and with the exception of the slight casualty at the bridge over the Perquimans, he brought in his men and horses in good condition. He travelled over sixty miles, along the chain of the enemy's outposts, with a small force of one hundred and forty men, beyond the reach of support, and in constant danger of being cut off. The officers of  the expedition, and who have received the commendation of the commanding general, were as follows: Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. Dodge, commanding. Major B. F. Onderdonk. Adjutant W. S. Poor. Company A--Lieutenant D. C. Ellis. Company B--Lieutenant W. H. Sanger. Company B--Lieutenant John D. Lee. Company C--Captain E. A. Hamilton. Company C--Lieutenant Louis Siebert. Company D--Captain James N. Wheelan. Lieutenant John Keegan. Colonel Dodge reports that the condition of the people along the route which he travelled is becoming deplorable. The crops appeared to be generally neglected, and he expresses a fear that much suffering must ensue from a want of supplies. The sentiments of the people he represents to be of a mixed character — a love for the Union prevailing, but the fear of future secession oppression preventing an open expression in favor of the Government.