Land Operations of the Potomac Flotilla.
--A correspondent furnishes the New York Herald
United States Steamer Stepping Stones, Off Indian Head, Potom to River, Feb. 3.
I have just returned from an expedition in Virginia
It was planned yesterday, and it was generally supposed that a landing was to be effected at Mr. Otterback
's farm; but it turned out otherwise.
At about half-past 4 we got, into the boats and started for the Virginia
shore in the following order: Lieutenant Commanding Eastman
, of the Yankee
, in command of the expedition, in his gig with six men, armed with Colt
's revolving rifles; the Yankee
's cutter, with twelve men, commanded by Master
's Mate Lawrence
; the Anacostia
cutter, with fifteen men, commanded by Master
's Mate John Williams
; and the Wyandank
cutter, with eighteen men, commanded by Master
's Mate Sheridan
We landed a little below Holland Point
, leaving the boats in charge of Master
's Mate Walters
, of the Reliance
, and a couple of men belonging to each boat.
After clambering upon a high and almost perpendicular bank, we formed in line of march, and soon reached a log house belonging to a man named Howard
, who was sent on board the Yankee
to prevent him from notifying the rebels of our arrival, with an assurance to his wife that he would be sent on shore as soon as we had finished the business on hand.
Leaving this house, we proceeded through innumerable quagmires, piloted by a contraband, to another house about a mile off, where we found a woman; but no rebel soldiers.
It now began to snow pretty hard, and through the storm, after sticking in the mud several times, we arrived at the farm of Mr. Thomas Chapman
, who is in the rebel army, and whose father has a comfortable farm a little above Indian Head, Maryland
This was the real object of the expedition.
We surrounded the house as we had done the others, and made an examination of the interior; but no obnoxious person or thing was found in it, except a pamphlet with a Richmond imprint, ‘"Skirmish Drill for mounted troops, by authority of John B. Floyd
,"’ the rebel Secretary of War
It was now daybreak, when Captain Eastman
detailed the Anacostia
's men, and some of the men belonging to the Wyandank
, to keep watch by the farm-house, while the Captain
, with the main body, marched across some fields and rested for a short time.
In the meantime, Mr. Sheridan
and his party saw three men in gray uniforms skulking at some distance off the other side of the road.
At first, not distinguishing the uniforms, he did not know but they might have been some of our men. To make sure, he fired his revolver in the air. The men then crossed the road, and taking shelter behind a bush, fired on Mr. Sheridan
The bullets struck so close to Mr. Sheridan
as to splash the mud into his face.
He then gave orders to his men to fire, and a volley was poured into the enemy, evidently part of the rebel picket.
and his command hearing the firing, joined the other party, and they were about to give chase, when a musket shot, the signal of recall, was heard from the main body, which the Wyandank
's and the Anacostia
's soon joined.
then ordered the Anacostia
's to return to the farm house, and to join him on the beach.
He then led the Yankee
's, followed by the Wyandank
's, along a footpath through the roads, piloted by the contraband, to the beach.
We traveled along the beach for some distance up the river, meeting several obstacles in our way. At one place we had to cross a narrow creek, the water of which reached near by to the middle.
Some of the men waded through, and by the aid of those on the other side improvised a bridge formed by a single log. All passed over, and a little further up we found Mr. Williams
and his command, the rebel picket having disappeared.
The Yankee and the Reliance
now appeared, and we soon embarked, covered, if not with glory, with a thick coating of mud. The distance we traveled was about twelve miles. We did not get on board our vessels till half past 9 this morning.
The contraband who piloted us recognized one of the rebel pickets as Tom Chapman