battery in the evening; had been a considerable time without food, and were drenched with the water through which they were forced to wade in landing, yet not a murmur was heard from them throughout.
I forward herewith a sketch from memory, showing the location of the rebel battery and the works thrown up for our own defense. half an hour before daylight our preparations were nearly complete and the troops in position. The artillery was massed on the left, covering the point of disembarkation, three guns being in Battery A and one howitzer in Battery D. All were loaded with canister and directed to sweep the plain by which the enemy must approach. One howitzer to defend the entire line if possible, and if forced to abandon a portion my entire force upon the left, which, besides being the strongest position, also covered the communication with the naval forces.
At early daylight a line of the enemy's skirmishers was discovered advancing about 1,000 yards distant. The covered themselves behind trees and fences and a few were observed entering a house a few hundred yards in front of our left.
About this time the One hundred and seventeenth New York, Colonel Pease, and a section of Gilliss' battery (A, Fifth U. S. Artillery) arrived and were duly posted, the latter in Battery C and subsequently in Battery B.
It now became apparent that the enemy did not meditate an attack, but contented himself with annoying our pickets by occasional scattering shots. I accordingly gave direction that the house above alluded to should be fired and the woods shelled. This being accomplished we were troubled no more.
During the day (20th) our troops continued to strengthen the defenses, but in the afternoon orders were received to evacuate the place. This was done by the assistance of the naval forces. The intrenching tools, artillery, limber-chests, &c., were placed aboard the gunboat Stepping Stones before dark, quakers being substituted in the batteries; but during the process the ebbing tide left the steamer aground, and fears were entertained that the enemy might attack us before she floated again, in which event the destruction of the vessel and the loss of much material might have resulted. Immediately after dark, however, the process of ferrying the troops across the river in row-boats commenced and was safely accomplished by midnight; meantime the steamer was got off in safety. The evacuation was thus completed without the loss of a man or a single article of property.
In this connection I cannot forbear paying a tribute to the valor and energy of the naval forces under Lieutenant Lamson. This gallant officer has at all times shown himself most willing to render invaluable assistance to the land forces with men and material, fearlessly imperiling the safety of himself, his men, and his vessels.
The day following the evacuation of Hill's Point I was assigned to the command of all the troops on the Nansemond from Jericho Creek to Dr. Council's place. They consisted of the Tenth New Hampshire Volunteers, the Twenty-first Connecticut Volunteers, the Thirteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, the Eighth Connecticut Volunteers, the Twenty-second Connecticut Volunteers, the Ninth Vermont Volunteers, Gilliss' battery (A, Fifth U. S. Artillery), three guns of Beger's (Second Wisconsin) battery, four guns of Vallee's (Fourth Wisconsin) battery, one 20-pounder Parrott (unassigned), and four guns captured from the enemy.
The Thirteenth New Hampshire replaced the Nineteenth Wisconsin,