unteers embarked on board the transport-steamer Northerner at 5 o'clock p. m. on the 17th instant, and proceeded to the mouth of the Pasquotank River, in Albemarle Sound, where we arrived about sunrise on the 19th.
The regiment was here transferred to the light-draught steamers Ocean Wave and Massasoit, and afterward to small row-boats and launches, which were run in as near shore as possible at a point on the north bank of the river about 3 miles below Elizabeth City. Officers and men now cheerfully sprang into the war and waded to land, where the line was immediately formed and muskets loaded. We numbered 500 picked men, and were furnished with two days' rations and 60 rounds of ammunition.
Three regiments, the Ninth and Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers and the Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers, had been landed about 2 o'clock. m. and sent forward, under command of Colonel Hawkins, to take possession of a bridge near South Mills, where are extensive stone locks on the Dismal Swamp Canal.
A little before 7 o'clock General Reno followed with the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers and the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers, which regiments had been delayed about four hours by the want of suitable pilots to bring up the transports. The column advanced rapidly along an excellent road through a level and fertile district, halting a few minutes occasionally for water and rest. About 10 o'clock, as we were lying by the road-side, we were astonished to see a large body of troops coming down upon our left flank. "Attention" was immediately sounded by the budge and the general rode out to reconnoiter. He was not a little chagrined to find that Colonel Hawkins, with his command, having been misled by his guide, had marched 10 miles farther than was necessary to reach this point, and instead of having surprised the enemy by an early arrival at the bridge had nearly exhausted his men by a wearisome march. The weather was now very oppressive, and the men began to suffer greatly from the heat and the want of water, as their canteens were emptied early in the day and there had been no opportunity of refilling them. As no halt had been made for breakfast, and hard bread and salt beef could not well be eaten without water, they were also faint from the want of food.
Before noon large numbers had fallen out from all the regiments, utterly unable to proceed, and General Reno, who was now in advance, with the Fifty-first Pennsylvania and the Twenty-first Massachusetts, was just about to order a halt for dinner, when most unexpectedly a brisk of round and canister was opened upon us.
The battery of the rebels was skillfully masked by the smoke from a dwelling-house and outbuildings on the highway, which had been set on fire for this purpose, and our advance guard was close upon it when the cannonade commenced. General Reno bat once ordered the Fifty-first Pennsylvania to take shelter in the woods on the left of the enemy's position, and sent back for the remaining regiments and the four howitzers which were under command of Colonel Howard of the Marine Artillery.
In consequence of the extreme exhaustion of the men considerable time elapsed before they could be brought into position for the attack, and the artillery of the rebels continued for more tan an hour without interruption from us and without doing us much, damage, as they bad no shells and the range was too great for canister. Many trees and a few men were injured by their round shot, which were thrown with considerable accuracy.