War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0873 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO MATHIAS POINT, VA.

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at Port Royal. The march to Mathias Point was exceedingly tedious. The first day the cavalry escort was ordered back by Colonel Baker, in consequence of his being ordered by General Ransom (General Hill`s successor) to Petersburg. I was obliged to return, on this account, to Old Church, in Hanover, and await orders from General Ransom. The general directed me to retain one of Colonel Baker`s companies, to proceed as expeditiously as possible, and to get an additional force of cavalry from Major [C. R.] Collins at Fredericksburg. High water embarrassed me at almost every step; the citizens said that they had never known it so high; all the mill-dams were broken, which increased the difficulty of supplying my command with food. My course was necessarily very devious, as nearly all the bridges had been swept away, and I was obliged to head all the streams. In some cases it was necessary for me to dismount my chests in crossing. On the evening of the second day, I reached a point within 5 miles of Port Royal. Being unable to cross the stream laid down upon the map as Pumansend River, and receiving information which was considered reliable that a force of Yankee cavalry, was at Moss` Neck, I fell back to Bowling Green. I could at this point check them, if not too strong, high water rendering it necessary for them to advance by Bowling Green, and, with the assistance of the cavalry at Fredericksburg, capture them. In case of their proving too numerous, I could from this point better cover with my cavalry the withdrawal of the artillery, and then with the cavalry remain to observe their movements. On reaching Bowling Green, I found that the excitement had been produced by the appearance of some of Major Collins` cavalry at Moss` Neck, which had been mistaken by the citizens for a Yankee force. I left my command here, under Captain [Thomas R.] Thornton, and proceeded myself to Fredericksburg, in order to communicate with Major Collins, get an additional force of cavalry, send out scouting parties, and post the necessary pickets. These arrangements were promptly made during the night, and I immediately set out for Port Royal, to meet Captain Thornton with the command, who had been instructed by me to be at that point early in the morning. We crossed, and proceeded at once with all haste to Mathias Point. On the way, I was informed by many citizens that the enemy`s transports had commenced passing up the river ten or fifteen days before, and that they feared I had been sent too late to do any good. I selected a good position on the Point for my guns, where the channel was not more than 1, 000 yards from the shore, and where I could with my rifles defend myself against the gunboats while firing with my Napoleons at the transports. I remained, with my command well masked, for three or four days, and no transport appeared. Finally, Major Collins, commanding the cavalry, an officer of experience, with whom I had before served, and in whom I had great confidence, told me that, from all he could learn, all the transports had gone up. They had gone up in numbers ten or fifteen days before; we had waited three or four days, and none had appeared; that the Yankees, he was informed by his scouts, knew that we were upon the Point, having been notified that the expedition was on foot soon after we left Richmond, and advised me to recross the Rappahannock River without delay, or we might, as the streams in our