War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0319 Chapter XX. ENGAGEMENT AT SOUTH MILLS, N. C.

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ing us in undisputed possession of it. Our troops being too much fatigued from the long march and the battle to pursue the enemy farther, they were, by order of the general commanding, bivouacked in the woods.

On account of the ease with which the enemy could be re-enforced from Norfolk, distant only about 28 miles, and the probability that he had already been largely re-enforce, thus accomplishing the chief object of the reconnaissance, and because of the smallness of our force, the lack of ammunition and provisions, it was deemed prudent by the general commanding and all the officers consulted by him to retire to our vessels. Accordingly, between 9 and 10 o'clock p. m., large camp-fires having been built, the column moved off. The Twenty-first Massachusetts brought up the rear, Company D, under Lieutenant Barker, and two guns, under the command of Colonel Howard, of the Marine Artillery, and the Pioneer Corps of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, under Lieutenant Ortlip (to destroy the brigade), acting as our guard.

On account of a heavy rain which had fallen the roads were in a miserable condition, but the arduous march to the landing was accomplished by between 6 and 7 o'clock a. m. on the 20th.

On account of the lack of transportation and the severity of their wounds the medical director of the column, Dr. Humphreys, of the Ninth New York, was obliged to leave about 20 of the wounded in charge of Dr. Warren, assistant surgeon of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, in the hospital established in the houses about the field. Some few from exhaustion failed to reach the place of landing in time to embark in the transports, but it is confidently expected that they have all been taken on board the gunboat sent up to the creek above Camden Court-House, and will soon rejoin their regiments. On arriving at the landing the troops were placed on board the transports and soon sailed. The Twenty-first and Fifty-first arrived at New Berne about 12 o'clock on Tuesday, the 22nd instant.

I transmit herewith the reports of Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, commanding Twenty-first Massachusetts, and Major Schall, commanding the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, with their list of casualties. Though both regiments were almost utterly exhausted before the commencement of the action, both attacked the enemy with great vigor, and by their gallant charge completely routed them.

I desire to mention particularly the assistance rendered me during the march and on the field by my acting aides, Lieutenant Harlow, quartermaster of the Twenty-first Massachusetts, and Lieutenants Beaver and Fair, of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania.

I am, captain, very respectfully, yours,

THOMAS S. BELL,

Lieutenant Colonel, 51st Pa. Vols., Comdg. Brigadier, Reconnoitering Expedition.

Captain EDWARD M. NEILL, A. A. G., Second Division.

Numbers 6. Report of Lieutenant Colonel William S. Clark, Twenty-first Massachusetts Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST MASSACHUSETTS VOLS.,

Steamer Northerner, Pamlico Sound, April 21, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with orders from Acting Major-General Reno, the Twenty-first Massachusetts Vol-