by the enemy on the Somerton road. He opened upon us with artillery. The guns of Forts Union, Nansemond, and McClellan replied with such effect as to very soon silence their and drive the enemy back. Some skirmishing ensued, in which detachment from the Thirteenth Indiana and One hundred and twelfth New York Volunteers and One hundred and sixty-fifth and One hundred and sixty-sixth Pennsylvania Militia took part and deserve great credit for their actions on that occasion. Our picket lines were re-established that afternoon.
On Wednesday, the 15th, Colonel J. P. McMahon, of the One hundred and sixty-fourth Regiment New York Volunteers, went out on the Edenton road for the purpose of reconnoitering the enemy's position. He brought with him three companies of infantry, one from the One hundred and sixty-fourth, One hundred and fifty-fifth, and One hundred and seventieth Regiments respectively, two companies of cavalry of the First New York Mounted Rifles, under the command of Major patton, and one howitzer. They started out just before daylight, drove in the enemy's pickets, and engaged the Seventeenth Virginia Regiment, capturing 4 prisoners and killing and wounding several. They found that the enemy were in considerable force a short distance from his outposts.
On the same day Colonel Spear, of the Eleventh Pennsylvania cavalry, went out on the Somerton road with a small force, consisting of four companies of infantry, two from the One hundred and sixty-fifth and One hundred and sixty-sixth Pennsylvania Militia respectively, two pieces of the Seventh Massachusetts Battery, one company of his own regiment, with guns, and three companies of cavalry, and made an attempt to charge their rifle-pits, but this movement was not as successful as was anticipated it would be. Small parties were from time to time afterward sent out on the several roads, also in the direction of the Dismal Swamp and along the Jericho Canal, but nothing interest occurred. The object of the parties sent in the latter direction was to discover if the enemy were endeavoring together through in that locality, but no evidence of any such attempt could be discovered.
On April 24 an expedition, which had been for some time in contemplation, went out under my command on the Edenton road. It consisted of about 5,000 infantry, 500 cavalry, and 10 pieces of artillery. I assigned Colonel R. S. Foster to the command of the infantry; Colonel Spear had charge of the cavalry, and Captain Simpson of the artillery. A small party went out at the same time on the Somerton road to engage the attention of the enemy there and co-operate with us on the Edenton road if necessary. We advanced about 4 miles and met the enemy's outposts. The pickets retired, and we found the enemy's advance behind rifle-pits. Our artillery opened, and after considerable firing on both sides the enemy was driven from his position and our skirmishers occupied it. The firing still continued a short a time, and final the enemy fell back some distance and ceased firing. In accordance with my instructions I gave instructions not to follow, and we slowly returned to camp. As full reports of this and the other affairs above alluded to have already been furnished I refrain from giving any extended or detailed account of them.
On the 2nd instant, about 11 p. m., we received information from two deserters that the enemy was retreating from our front, and I immediately went in person to the major-general commanding and reported the information and that I had ordered a force out on the Edenton and Somerton roads. The major-general having approved of my action I started out myself, ordering an additional force to follow. Colonel Foster
19 R R-VOL XVIII