Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry on a scouting expedition, having for its object a thorough reconnaissance of the country embraced between the Blackwater and James Rivers and lower portion of Surry County, below Bacon Castle and City Point, and a general capture of citizens, negroes, and stock. Every main and by road within the mentioned boundary was traversed and all the residences visited, and all the citizens, negroes, and stock captured. I returned to this point with my command on the evening of the 18th instant. I had no opportunity of testing the valor of my command, as no armed enemy opposed me. I could hear occasionally of scouting parties of two and three, and pursued a party of five from Spring Grove, on the telegraph road, four miles below Cabin Poing, to the Blackwater Swamp. My captures are as follows: 20 citizens, 35 contrabands, 100 head of cattle, 80 sheep, 2 carriages, 4 buggies (single), 4 carts, 2 wagons. The country had been previously stripped of horses and mules by the enemy. I found the country below Surry Court-House well supplied with the necessaries of life. There were large corn-fields, with the fodder removed, but corn still remaining on the stalk and potato fields ungathered. There are now no negroes left to gather their grain and potatoes. Among the prisoners captured is Captain Taylor, chief justice of the judicial district in which Surry County is. Finding no enemy to fight, and, in consequence of the poor condition of the horses of the Sixth Ohio Cavalry, I returned to camp, as before stated, on the evening of the 18th instant.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. W. MASON,
Captain, Fifth U. S. Cavalry, Commanding Detachment.
Colonel T. S. BOWERS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Armies of the U. S.
DECEMBER 5, 1864. - Capture of the tug-boat Lizzie Freeman, near Smithfield, Va.
Report of Captain George F. Sawtell, First U. S. Volunteer Infantry.
NORFOLK, VA., December 6, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that I left Norfolk, Va., on the afternoon of the 5th instant about 5 o'clock on the tug-boat Lizzie Freeman, taking in tow the barge Zimmermann, to go to Aiken's Landing to procure paving stones, in accordance with the instructions of the commanding general. When we arrived opposite Smithfield the pilot considered it unsafe to proceed farther, as the night was dark and the weather clouded, therefore anchored. I turned in for the night at an early hour, being quite unwell. About 11.30 o'clock I was aroused by an unusual noise, and asked Captain Smith, of the tug, who was in the room with me, what the matter was. He instantly passed out of the door. I stepped to it, when two officers, dressed in rebel uniform, the rank of which I was unable to determine, but understood one of them to be Captain Read, one armed with a revolver and one with a cutlass, ordered me to surrender. I saw at once that the decks of the barge and tug were covered with armed men, some twelve or fourteen in number, and that successful resistance could not be made, as nearly every man on board had surrendered. My four guards which I took with