barked at Washington, N. C., at 3 p. m. on the 5th. At 4 a. m. on the 6th a command, consisting of Companies D, G, I, and L, Third New York Cavalry, and Battery H, Third New York Artillery, with an aggregate of 263 men, formed for the expedition I had been ordered to make, and at 4.15 broke into column. Scarcely were the troops in column, the head of it having just reached the outskirts of the town, on the Plymouth road, when a rapid and continuous firing was heard to our left and rear. The column was counter-marched at the gallop, and the cavalry, in column of eights, ordered to charge and clear the different streets, which were now apparently full of small parties of the enemy's cavalry. The night was intensely dark, and between the darkness, fog, and dust it wa impossible in many cases to distinguished friend from foe at half a dozen paces. The order to clear the streets was in each case most gallantry obeyed. Company L, Captain Garrard, charged First street, driving back a considerable body of cavalry to Bridge street, where he came upon a large body of infantry, and was compelled to retire; in doing this he cleared the cross-streets to his left. Company D, Captain Murphy, performed the same operation on Second street. Company G, Captain Hall, charged the length of Third street, driving back several small parties of cavalry, and, upon reaching the fence around the academy, found a large force of the enemy's infantry in position unfavorable to attack. Company H, Captain Willson, which was not to accompany the expedition, and consequently not out at the commencement of the fight, turned out and was in saddle and ready for action in an incredibly short space of time. The captain, hearing firing and loud cheers in direction of the academy, promptly proceeded with his company to ascertain the cause thereof, and found a large force of the enemy in possession of four brass guns, which had been left in park near the hospital, and over which accidental capture the rebels were giving vent to their exuberance of spirits in loud, continuous cheers and demoniac yells of "Death to the damned Yankees"; "No prisoners"; "No quarters," &c. The captain, nothing daunted by these friendly salutations, made a most gallant but unsuccessful attempt to recover the guns; dismounted a number of his men, under a severe fire, within 60 yards of the enemy, and attempted to tear down a fence to enable him to charge them, but could not succeed in making a sufficient opening for that purpose. Company I, Captain Jocknick, in the mean time had succeeded in driving a number of detached and very troublesome parties of enemy's cavalry from Third and Fourth streets, and had gone to the support of one of the guns of Battery H.
During the first hour of the melee the convalescents and sick men turned out largely, considering the number in hospitals. These were united with small scattering parties, who had become temporarily detached from their companies, by officers who were without commands, and did good service in clearing the cross-streets. Lieutenant Everett, acting adjutant, while conveying an order to a distant part of the command, encountered alone a party of the enemy's infantry on a side street, dashed past them, emptying, as he did so, the contents of his pistol among them. He was, in turn, fired into, receiving a serious wound in his right leg. The guns of Battery H, Captain Riggs, were promptly placed in position upon several cross-streets, and held in readiness to fire the moment that the enemy could be distinguished from among the confused mass in every direction. And I would here mention as an extraordinary fact, and as due entirely to the coolness and intrepidity of the officers and men of this battery, that in no instance did occur the