we have demonstrated easily it can be again destroyed if they do. All the ties were burned, the rails heated, and in most cases much bent and twisted. They were of the U pattern, and from the manner of their connection, by means of a coupling iron and bolts, gave labor in breaking them apart. The rails were much worn, and in many places they had been replaced by those brought from some other railroad that had been destroyed by burning and bending and the rails afterward straightened out. These generally cracked off on this last bending of ours.
The strong of sleet began about 8 p. m., and lasted the night, causing men and animals much suffering. The storm still continued at daybreak, and the drippings from the icicles on the trees continually added their moisture to the roads. This determined me to send the main column direct to Sussex Court-House, and a brigade of cavalry under General Irvin Gregg was sent ahead to clear the way and watch the side roads. It was followed by General Griffin, guarding the train, then by General Mott's division, them by General Ayres, General Crawford bringing the near.
The enemy's cavalry, with artillery, followed General Greg's cavalry up to the point where the main column left the Halifax road, and then followed up the main column, being held in check by General Crawford. Their artillery, however, did not cross the branch of Three Creeks, where we had destroyed the bridge. General Gregg, with his division, passed on up the Halifax road (the road we come down), thus protecting the left flank on the infantry column. He was unmolested by any force in his rear, but was harassed by cavalry, with artillery, on his left flank, near Jarratt's Station. This he forced back and came on without loss. The head of the column reached Sussex Court-House at dark, and the command bivouacked along the route. The roads, through sandy and ordinarily good, were now in a very bad state, almost impassable in many places after our train. The mist continued to fall and keep the men cold and wet all night, so that they got little sleep or rest.
The command moved on in the morning toward Freeman's Ford, on the Nottoway, on reaching which a junction was formed with General Potter's command. Two bridges were soon laid, and all the command crossed over before dark and camped near Belches' Mill. The enemy's cavalry in small force followed us down to the Nottoway. The weather clear during the night and was very cold. The mud in the morning was frozen stiff, so the trains passed easily along, but the men suffered very much from their feet, that now quite sore and blistered, insomuch that numbers walked barefoot over the frozen ground.
The entire distance traveled, besides the labor performed, was about 100 miles in the six days. The men marched and behaved most praiseworthily during this tiring expedition in most disagreeable weather-weather which almost precluded rest and sleep. It is not believed the enemy picked up any prisoners from straggling, except a few who became drunk to complete prostration on apple jack found on the way, which, to our surprise, was in almost every house appreciable quantities.
The country enabled us to forage our animals to some extent. Scarcely a man was to be found. Many house were deserted or contained only helpless women and children, We had evidences, however, of the men lurking about in the woods, from on our return it is reported some of our men were found dead along the route, in one instance, with