ing James River at great personal risk of capture from the guard and picket-boats, and engaging parties of the enemy purposely landed to capture and break them up but without success. These scouts are under the command of Lieutenant J. R. Woodley, of the First Company, Independent Signal Corps, a man of cool and collected courage, untiring in energy and zeal for the cause, prudent and cautious, keeping up his connections and performing his duties under the most trying circumstances, to the satisfaction of all, forwarding regularly tri-weekly to headquarters his report of the enemy's movements and the result of his scouts' observations, both along James River and about Old Point, Newport News, and wherever else occasion may offer an opportunity to collect information for the information of the commanding general and the department. On the 12th of November Lieutenant Woodley, with a party of scouts, left Day's Neck for Surry County, by my orders, to endeavor to suppress the unlicensed marauding of the negroes and white-livered vandals of the Federals, whose depredations upon the unarmed and defenseless inhabitants of that once happy region cried aloud for help. The wily foe did not attempt to come while the lieutenant and his gallant party were on their track.
On the 14th of November Lieutenant Woodley returned from Surry to Isle of Wight just before day; the moon shining bright, his suspicions were aroused by noticing a number of tracks as he crossed the road coming up from the mill at Burwell's Bay. Taking the trail along the road leading toward Fort Boykin by Wrenn's upon the main road, he found that the party had kept on as if toward Wrenn's Mill; having but seven of his men with him, the rest being on other duty, he took a short cut through Wrenn's field to head the party off if they purposed visiting Fort Boykin. Just this side of Fort Boykin, at Mr. Bourne's house, he dismounted his party, cached his horses, and waited for them to come up, which they did in a short time, and throwing out a long line of skirmishers and flankers, swept the woods and took the horses of the party. Another party coming up from Fort Boykin totally surrounded Woodley and his party. "Every man for himself," was the order silently passed, "and, as you get out, rendezvous at our camp." The signal men got out with the exception of one man, who disobeyed the lieutenant's orders and was taken; the night, or rather morning, being very cold and the party being up all night in Surry looking for the vandals, he slipped into Bourne's kitchen to warm and when the enemy came up was thus captured. As the signals men got out of the "surround", and rallied under orders of their lieutenant, they were determined to retrieve their misfortune, no matter what force the enemy were in. This gallant band of Woodley's, consisting of nine men all told (three having joined the lieutenant from camp), ambuscaded the enemy in their triumphs and recaptured every horse but one, which was killed in the action; took 5 prisoners and killed 1; the rest took flight and embarked under heavy fire for their gun-boats. The force of the enemy was 150 men, landed at three points from as many gun-boats, viz, at Burwell's Bay, Rock Wharf, and Day's Neck. The commanding general, R. E. Lee, complimented Lieutenant Woodley for his gallantry in retrieving the misfortunes of the day.
On the 4th of December a detachment of signal scouts, getting information that a band of Yankees and negroes would cross from the north shore to the south side for the purpose of plunder, repaired to Lyon's Creek, under Sergeant Dilworth. About midnight four boats entered the creek loaded with negroes; the sergeant let the two leading boats pass, and then opened upon the boats with a preconcerted signal. One boat was