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[443] and chest; George Cook, ordinary seaman, by a musket-shot, producing flesh-wounds of left thigh and scrotum; John B. Kelly, seaman, by a sword-thrust in the abdomen, producing a serious wound; George Anderson, seaman, by musket-shot, producing flesh-wound of left hand.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Arthur Matthewson, Assistant-Surgeon United States Navy. Lieutenant Commander John H. Upshur, Commanding United States Steamer Minnesota.


A national account.

Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, February 2.
Shortly before dark, on Saturday, an expedition started from here, under the command of Brigadier-General Graham. It was composed of the army gunboats Smith Briggs, Flora Temple, General Jesup, and the transport Long Branch, with detachments of men to the number of one hundred and fifty from the Third Pennsylvania artillery, Twentieth New-York cavalry, Ninety-ninth New-York, and Twenty-first Connecticut infantry.

The expedition proceeded up the James River to Logan Creek, to the small village of Smithfield. Here Captain Lee, of the Norfolk Harbor Police, landed at about one o'clock on Sunday noon, with ninety men from the Long Branch. He took command of the party, and the boats then left to go up the Nansemond River to reconnoitre, it being understood that after Captain Lee and his command had accomplished what they intended, they would march down to the north-western bank of the Nansemond, and there again join the boats.

Taking a direct road for Suffolk, he penetrated the country to the distance of about four miles and a half, where, in a dense wood, he met a force of the enemy, about two hundred and fifty strong, with two twelve-pound guns. Notwithstanding the inferiority of our numbers, the rebels were completely surprised, their advance-guard capturd, the main body driven back, and so great was their consternation, that they finally retreated in the greatest confusion.

Information was then received from prisoners and darkeys that there was a strong force of the enemy posted a short distance beyond, at a place called “The Mill.” Their position was such that our men could not pass them on either flank, and consequently they were compelled to fall slowly back to Smithfield, which was reached about a half-hour after dark. Captain Lee then intrenched his force on the main street of the town. Previous to this, however, as he was marching into the place, he was fired on from both sides of the road, and his advance-guard of five cavalrymen, of the Twentieth New-York, was captured.

About half-past 7 o'clock yesterday morning the rebels made a fierce attack with their cavalry and infantry. The fight continued with great vigor until nearly eleven o'clock, when a communication came, under flag of truce, from Colonel Gordon, commander of the attacking forces, for an immediate and unconditional surrender.

In order to gain as much time as possible, and thinking that in the mean while some assistance might come to hand, Captain Lee sent a reply to the rebel Colonel asking for a personal interview to be granted. This was denied, and a peremptory demand was made for a surrender within five minutes. The second reply of Captain Lee was that he would not surrender, and that if the rebel commander wanted him he would have to come and take him.

In less than a quarter of an hour, he opened with four guns, beside the infantry and cavalry fire. A reply was made with a howitzer as rapidly as possible, which was kept up with great spirit until about half-past 12 o'clock, when Captain Lee was so hard pressed on all sides that it became evident that he would soon have to yield.

But, in the mean time, the gunboat Smith Briggs hauled in sight. The position becoming untenable, the howitzer was rolled into the stream, and the men then followed along its line to reach the protection of the gunboat. They were followed by nearly a regiment of rebel infantry and cavalry, which harassed them in their flight. A stand was then made opposite the Smith Briggs, and a desperate engagement continued until our men were completely overpowered by the superior forces of the enemy, which was continually augmented by the arrivals of reenforcements.

All this time the gunboat kept up a constant fire, but so great were the numbers that had to be contended with, that at last our men had to give up fighting and take to the boat. To reach it, however, the poor fellows had to swim from the shore to where she lay in the stream, and in doing this many yielded up their lives to the merciless foe, who shot them as they were really drowning.

Upon reaching the boat, Captain Lee found its Commander, Rowe, severely wounded in the throat. The engineer was also seriously wounded, and out of a crew of about fifty there were left on board hardly a half-dozen men who were not disabled. At the request of Captain Rowe, Captain Lee took command of the boat.

He found her to be greatly damaged from the fire of the enemy. The pilot-house was entirely demolished. The wheel could not be worked, and it was with much difficulty that the engine could be gotten to move sufficiently to propel her further out into the stream from the range of the rebel guns.

Firing was continued, and about three o'clock a shell from the enemy entered the boiler of the boat, and a great explosion followed. Resistance could no longer be continued, as the boat was now a mere wreck. She then surrendered, and all on board of her were prisoners. Some, to make their escape from captivity, jumped overboard, and, no doubt, the most of those who were not recaptured, sealed their fate with a watery grave.

Captain Lee, a Pamunky Indian pilot, and George Smith, a volunteer pilot, with two other men, are the only ones out of the whole party,


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