Howard sent to Captain Gillis for help to accomplish the work. Captain Gillis very promptly sent 2 officers and 20 men for that purpose. I then established a line of pickets, with my men in the advance, to prevent a surprise while the work was going on. Immediately after the line was formed, some rebels appeared creeping through the woods, and my men fired on them, killing 1. On hearing this firing, the officers at the mill set it on fire, destroying the whole building and machinery. I then drew in my men, and returned toward the boat. On the way I found a negro, who stated that the rebels were obstructing the river at a narrow point about 6 miles below where we lay. I consulted with Captain Gillis, and he concluded that I should go down and engage any force that might be on the river. I accordingly started at 2 p. m., and shelled the woods all the way on both sides. About 3 miles down, I saw a party of 74 or 100 men on a high bluff, but they dispersed on the first shell being fired at them. For the next 2 miles, I saw scattering parties of 4 or 5. I think I killed 2 of them with the rifle; 1 of them was in the act of taking aim when he fell. On a high bluff about 6 miles below Walkerton, I saw about 100 infantry, but they also dispersed on being fired at. I remained at this place until joined by the other boats, and then passed down unmolested to Yorktown.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. LEE,
Captain Ninety-ninth N. Y. Vols., Comdg. the Smith Briggs.
Major General E. D. KEYES,
Commanding U. S. Forces at Yorktown.
Numbers 4. Report of Lieutenant Commander James H. Gillis, U. S. Navy. U. S.
GUNBOAT COMMODORE MORRIS, Off Yorktown, Va., June 6, 1863.
SIR: On the evening of the 3rd instant, Major General E. D. Keyes informed me that he had an expedition on foot, for the purpose of striking an effective blow at the enemy, and asked for my co-operation, and wished me to start at once, but the boiler of this vessel having commenced to leak very badly the day before, I was obliged to repair it, and by working all night I was ready to render such assistance on the following day as the general might require, and, having informed him of my readiness, every preparation was at once made to make a raid as far as Aylett's, on the Mattapony River, where there was known to be a large foundry, which was used by the rebels for the purpose of casting guns, shot, and shell; and information had also been received that there were several factories, warehouses, and other public buildings at the place, which it was desirable to destroy. With this object in view, 400 infantry, under command of Lieutenant Colonel C. Carroll Tevis, of the Fourth Delaware Volunteers, were embarked on board of this vessel, the Commodore Jones, and the ferryboat Winnisimet, and at 8 p. m., with the army gunboat Smith