War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0356 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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side opposite, as if by magic. While held in this position, the ties were knocked off and piled up on the bed of the road, making a narrow top, the rails broken apart and laid across the stack of ties, the center of the rail resting on the apex of the pile. The pile was then set on fire. A fence of dry rails, on each side of the track, greatly facilitated the burning. The heat of the burning ties, with the weight of the ends of the rails, caused them to bend into nearly the shape of a semicircle, and rendered them unfit for further use. The brigade commanders facetiously called the portion of road assigned them to destroy "their contract." As soon as the track in front of each brigade was destroyed, the division marched on to repeat the operation in a new place. Each brigade thus destroyed three such patches during the day. The First and Second Brigades marched four miles and destroyed such a piece of the road as described after dark. The Second Brigade marched farther south than any other infantry, and the last piece of road they destroyed, was the last destroyed by the infantry, the cavalry meeting them in the work of destruction on their return. While the First and Second Brigades were thus engaged, the Third Brigade destroyed nearly a division front in extent, it being their third "contract" for the day. Though the work was very laborious and fatiguing, officers and men labored with the greatest zest till a late hour at night. The sight presented by the burning road, bridges, piles of wood, and fences, was sad and grand in the extreme-a terrible comment on the waste and ravages of war. The troops encamped along the road near where their work had been done. Headquarters were established at the house of Reverend Mr. Bailey, a Baptist minister. Some thirty bales of his cotton had been burned, with the building in which it was stored. He estimated his losses, from our brief visit, at $75,000 or $100,000, rebel currency. During the evening, Major-General Warren, commanding the expedition, issued a general order, stating the object of the movement had been accomplished; that the return march would commence at daylight on the following morning, and battle be accepted if offered by the enemy. About fifteen miles of one of the most important railroads in the so-called Confederacy had been thoroughly destroyed.

Saturday, the 10th, the division commenced to march at 8 a. m. Rain had fallen during most of the night, and frozen as it fell. Every tree, twig, and shrub was heavily loaded with ice. The ground was slippery and the mud as deep and abundant as that in which Napoleon fought the battle of Waterloo. Such were the difficulties of marching that the progress was necessarily slow. The division went into camp for the might within about four miles of Sussex Court-House. The distance marched was sixteen miles. Considerable numbers of colored people joined the column during the day, one company numbering nineteen and embracing every period of life, from infancy to old age. Several of our men were found along the road who had been murdered, stripped, and mutilated by guerrillas. A number of buildings were burned in the vicinity where they were killed. The weather was rainy and cold.

Sunday, the 11th, the division started from camp soon after daylight, and, passing Sussex Court-House, reached the ground on which we camped the first night of the expedition about 2 p. m. Here the command halted, made coffee, and waited for General Crawford's division, which had marched in the rear, to pass. A number more of our murdered and wounded men were found along the way of march. Until these outrages were discovered but little destruction of private property had occurred, but now the burning of buildings commenced,