War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0965 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO TARBOROUGH, N. C., ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

fired a few shots from the opposite side of the creek. Here the whole command bivouacked.

At daybreak, July 19, I moved with the cavalry on Greenville, leaving instructions with Colonel Jourdan to make a feint of advancing on Kinston and to return to New Berne the nest day. When within 12 miles of Greenville, we surprised and captured a picket post of 15 men belonging to [John N.] Whitford's battalion. Their tents and stores were destroyed. We arrived at Greenville at 3 p. m. The town is completely surrounded by a strong line of intrechments, but there were no troops, excepting a few convalescents and sick in hospital. The bridge across the Tar River at this place was destroyed. The march was resumed at 6 p. m., and at midnight we halted at Sparta, within 8 miles of Tarborough. At 3 a. m., July 20, Major Jacobs (who volunteered for the duty), was detached with his battalion to proceed to Rocky Mount, and destroy the railroad bridge and Government property. At 5 a. m. the main column moved on Tarborough, arriving there between 7 and 8 o'clock. Charging into the town, we met a few of the enemy, who fired some hurried shots, and fled across the river. At Tarborough, I found an iron-clad was of the Merrimac model, and her frame was very heavy and solid. All were burned, together with some railroad cars, 100 bales of cotton, quartermaster's, subsistence, and ordnance stores. While the property was being destroyed, Major Clarkson had moved forward on the road to Hamilton with three companies of the Twelfth New York Cavalry, and one mountain howitzer, under command of Lieutenant Clark. Being fired upon by 6 mounted men, Major Clarkson charged down the road for half a mile, and received a volley from the enemy posted in the wood. He then charged back, and rejoined the main column, with a loss of 2 men killed, 12 wounded, and 3 commissioned officers and 16 men missing. Having learned that the enemy were in considerable force on the opposite side of the river, I determined to return by the same road which we had taken in coming. At 5 p. m. the bridge over the Tar River was burned, and the column commenced its return march. Shortly after leaving Tarborough, Major Jacobs rejoined the column with his detachment, having been completely successful in his operations at Rocky Mount. He captured and burned a locomotive and train; he also destroyed the railroad bridge (350 feet long), with trestle-work attached (400 feet in length), the county bridge (350 feet); a large cotton-mill, built of stone, six stories high; a Government flour-mill; four stores, containing 1, 000 barrels of flour; a machine-shop, filled with ordnance stores; two trains of Government wagons, numbering 25 in all, filled with supplies of Various descriptions, and 800 bales of cotton. The whole force now moved on without interruption as far as Sparta. Shortly after passing this place, our advance was fired on, and a running skirmish kept up for 3 or 4 miles, until we at length found the enemy in considerable strength, with artillery, at Tyson's Creek. The bridge had been destroyed, and their position was a very difficult one to carry. Finding that an attempt to force a passage would involve great delay, I determined to turn their position, which I succeeded in doing