Numbers 133. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Nelson B. Bartram,
Seventeenth New York Infantry, of operations June 29-30.
HDQRS. SEVENTEENTH REGIMENT NEW YORK VOLS.,
On Board Steamer Kennebec, July 2, 1862.
COLONEL: In accordance with yours orders I proceeded on board the gunboat Marblehead, Captain Nicholson commanding, with Companies A, I, and H, of the Seventeenth New york. About 7 p. m. the signal officer attached to the Marblehead came on board and announced that General Stoneman had left with all his force. At this time the flames were bursting forth from the barges and stores which had been fired, and presented a scene of great splendor. The White House was also wrapped in flames, which, with occasional explosions of liquor and ammunition, made an impression upon the few who remained to see the destruction complete that will never be forgotten.
About 12 o'clock midnight the silence was broken by the clatter of hoofs, and soon about a dozen horsemen were seen galloping down the bank. They were visible but for an instant, all returning but three, who boldly rode up to the bank opposite the Marblehead and hailed. They claimed to be three of the illinois Cavalry, and to have dispatches from General McClellan to General Casey. They desired a boat to be sent ashore that they might ask some questions about the dispatches. They also inquired which way General Stoneman had taken, and whether we thought they could overtake his rear guard that night. Upon being informed by Captain Nicholson that if they did not leave suddenly "he would send them something besides a boat " they dashed off and nothing more was heard till daylight. At this time a company of the enemy's cavalry was discovered filing out of the woods nearly opposite to us. They continued on with the evident intention of reconnoitering the banks and woods below us. A shell from one of the Marblehead's 24-pounder howitzers caused them to change direction, and they scampered off to the edge of the woods and formed facing us. In this position the 11-inch gun was charged with a stand of shrapnel and sent at them. A cloud of dust upon the road leading up the hill over which we came into the White House was the last seen of this squad. The enemy had evidently now made up their minds that the plain in front of the White House was no place for them, and the next seen of them was near the railroad bridge and along the edge of the woods to our left of it. In this position the rifled gun upon the forecastle was brought to bear, and they soon disappeared again. Everything remained quiet now for nearly two hours, during which time the ship swung with the tide, head downstream, and we were all ready for a start.
Captain Nicholson, wishing to assure himself of the complete de- struction of everything that could give aid or comfort to the enemy, a cutter was sent ashore with 8 men, under Captain Wilson, Company I, accompanied by Lieutenant Laha, of the Marblehead. They visited the wharf near the railroad bridge and vicinity, rekindled fires that had gone out, and reported the destruction of the small amount of Government property left as complete. There was, however, a considerable quantity of sutler's stores which no attempt had been made to destroy. A boat load of the most valuable was secured and the balance rendered unfit for use. Captain Nicholson also sent Lieutenant Winslow with 4 of his men, who set fire to some three or four barges that has