War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0987 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO FOSTER'S MILLS, N. C., ETC.

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ive force of the First Brigade, two sections of the Twenty-fourth New York Battery, and part of a company of the Twelfth New York Cavalry, on Sunday, 26th instant, toward Jamesville, on the Roanoke River, in order to create a diversion in favor of a cavalry raid from Winton toward Weldon, and to compel the enemy to remain in his position on the Roanoke River. My command arrived at Jamesville at sundown, where it was ordered to halt for the night. Finding at Gardner's Bridge that things remained in the same condition I had left them, viz, burned to the water's edge, and no attempt having been made by the enemy to rebuild it, I at once put one company of infantry, by means of canoes, on the opposite shore, to take possession of the abandoned work of the enemy, and commenced preparations to t=rebuild the bridge. On Monday morning, July 27, the pioneers commenced their work, but the difficulties of reconstructing at the high stage of water were so considerable that it required a whole day to make it safe for artillery, cavalry, and wagon trains to pass over. In order not to waste time, there being no fordable place near, I determined to march up the creek toward its head, and there attempt a crossing. Thus I continued, until finding a road through the swamp, I succeeded in getting entirely around without meeting any other obstacles than those to be expected on a march through a low, swampy country. The weather was exceedingly hot, and the troops required to be rested oftener than usual, but they reached the Williamston road in good order and fine spirits at about 4 p. m. Turning toward Williamston, we followed this road about 4 miles: then, leaving it on our right, entered the road to Foster's Mills, where usually a small detachment of the enemy was guarding a bridge. I ascertained that their force had been re-enforced during the preceding night, but was unable to learn to what extent. It now commenced to rain heavily, but I determined before night to disturb the enemy and destroy the mills, if possible, well knowing that my retreat through the swamp would be cut off before morning by the swollen streams. I therefore immediately detached four companies from the One hundreds and first Pennsylvania Volunteers to pass through the woods on the right, and attempt by a detour to get to the rear of the pickets, now but a short distance from us on the road. In this they failed, the enemy having fled at the sight of one of our men on the road, being seen by them before the detachment had time to execute its errand. Although it was now growing dark, I ordered two pieces of artillery forward to destroy the mills, if possible; more, however, to alarm the enemy stationed at Rainbow Bluff, now within hearing distance of our guns. The force opposed to us had sought security behind the mills and some earthworks, and a stream intervening, the bridge over which had been removed, I thought it prudent not to risk the lives of my men for a position not worth holding after gained. I ordered them, therefore, to desist in their attempt to drive them off, but continued to play upon them with artillery. It was now quite dark, and raining heavily, there were two mills, a saw-mill on this side of the stream and a grist-mill on the other side. The former was destroyed. Two men of the Twelfth New York Cavalry were wounded seriously but not dangerously. Finding the road so much obstructed by felled timber as to make