War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0446 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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throat cut. Whether this was true or not, it soon became the belief of all the men in the command, and in retaliation almost every house was set on fire. Every effort was made by the officers to stop this incendiarism (which most likely punished only the innocent), and with partial success. No infantry force of the enemy was anywhere encountered, except that defending Hicksford. General Hill's corps, the people thought would attack us, but we saw nothing of it.

It was impossible to destroy the railroad between the Nottoway and Stony Creak in the time for which we were rationed, as we should in that section be greatly delayed by the additional streams we should have to cross-namely, the Sappony Creek, the Stony Creek, and the Rowanty Creek-all of which would require pontoon bridges. This section is now, however, utterly useless to the enemy, nor can any considerable force remain there to protest it, for want of supplies. The iron accumulated at Stony Creak is only a small amount drawn down from north of that point by taking up the track-not over two miles. All the ties accumulated there were burned by General Gregg and these rails thrown on them.

Moreover, it is an easy task to go now and destroy it as soon as the frost will permit the ties to come out of the ground, to which they are now frozen fast. The later occurrence would have prevented my destroying but a portion of it, even up to this time, for if I had gone direct without interruption, from Hicksford back to the Nottoway, I could not have destroyed more than the part between in and the Sappony before this heavy frost came. I would respectfully request that if the destruction of this portion is desirable that I be allowed to complete it by starting down the Halifax road with my corps a brigade of cavalry, and a sufficiency of pontoon to bridge all the streams at once-about 500 feet. This can be done in there or four days' time, and communication can be kept up all the while, so that an offer of battle there by the enemy can be accepted without any uncertainty as to its progress, in the knowledge of the general commanding the Army of the Potomac.

I have made my acknowledgments to my command in a general order, a copy of which is furnished herewith. Division reports, with list of casualties, will be sent in as soon as received. Our loss was inconsiderable. We captured a few prisoners.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



P. S.- The note I dispatched from Sussex Court House seemed to me to contain the principal facts and results of the expedition. I have been delayed in making a full report by the absence of any reports from division commanders, by the requirements of the ordered to get ready my supplies on my return for an immediate movements, and by changing my headquarters in a very cold day, which, beside disarranging all my office arrangements, made it almost impossible to write at any length in the cold. I am very tired, too, from previous exertion.



Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.