War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0444 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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the night movement, and the sending them back was necessary as they could not follow the column. It appeared afterward that the number of them was upward of 800. As General Gregg neaded the railroad he sent off a force to the trestle brigade across the Nottoway, which is about 160 feet long, and destroyed, it driving away a few of the enemy's cavalry. About 10 a. m. a regiment of the enemy's Generals Gregg and Crawford, but was speedily driven across again by General Gregg. They cavalry continued to work on the rawilroad, partially destroying it diwn to Jarratt's Station. Thinking the enemy might mett us near the railroad, I delayed destroying it with the infantry until sunset, by which time the whole command was up and the trains parked. The three leading division of infantry had now had a chance to cook their dinner, rest, and sleep, which was much needed, and which the wafrm sun favored. At 6. p. m. Generals Crawford, Ayres, and Griffin went on the railroad with their division and completed its destruction by moonglight, from the Nottoway down to below Jarratt's Station, working till midnight, and then bivouacking till daybreak. The work of destruction was renewed early on the morning of the 9th by forming a line of battle on the railroad, each division destroying all on its front, and then moving to the left alternately. General Gregg cleared the enemy out of the way southward and picketed the country north and east, while General Griffin took charge of the train with his division. General Gregg met with a force of the enemy at Three Creeks, with artillery, and found the wagon-road bridge destroyed and that on the railroad on fire. He deove this enemy away and put out the fire on the railroad bridge so as to cross sume of his men over is dismounted. The stream is about fifty feet wide, and had been made unfordable by raising the gates of the mill-dam above. This was shul down oin being discovered, and his command then formed. A pontoon bridge was also laid by Captain Van Brocklin. General Gregg followed the enemy up, and by 4 p. m. had possession of Belfield, and driven the enemy all across the Meherrin River.

At Hicksford, on the south side, the enemy had three forts of batteries, armed with artillery, and connected by rifle-pitts, and manned with a considerable force, so that it was impracticable to force a crossing at that poiunt. This was my own conclusion from a personal examination of the locality. As the attempot to turn the position wound occasion at least two days' longer time that for which I was originally provisioned, and the men, already quite tired, had, in many cases, eaten up the four days' rations on their persons, and as the weather again threatened a storm, I determined to return, and orders were issued accordingly for the next morning. Half a day's ration of bread and a full one of beef was issued this evening, the first beef we had a chance to issue. The command worked till about 8 p. m. General Ayres and General Mott crossing Three Creeks, and the cavalry assisting, completed the destruction of the track down to Belfield, burning a brigade about sixty feet long over one branch of the Three Creeks, and the one of about 100 feet over the main stream. These brigades were old truss frames, and had to be shored up from below. We could not destroy the across the Meherrin without gaining possession of the opposite bank, which was helf as berfore described. The railroad destruction was carried over a distance of about seventeen or eighteen miles, and was so complete that I think the enemy will not deem its use of sufficient importance to rebuild it, especially as