For the purpose of getting an effective force, and in compliance with suggestions from your headquarters, I detained a squadron of the Twentieth New York Cavalry, en route for the front. Two columns were dispatched - one in the direction of South Quay, under Colonel Lewis, Third New York Cavalry, and the other, under Major Gates, Twentieth New York Cavalry, in the direction of Birch Island bridge, on the Blackwater. Colonel Lewis crossed the Chowan December 13, after a slight skirmish, capturing two prisoners, from whom he learned that General Warren had fallen back in the direction of our lines around Petersburg; he then returned to camp. The column under Major Gates crossed the Blackwater at Broadwater Ferry, but had not proceeded more than a mile when it was overtaken by a courier with orders to return to camp. A force was left on the Blakwater for the double object of securing the retreat of the expedition, and also to hold the position to enable General Warren to cross the river in case he was forced back. Major Gates captured 12 horses and a rebel courier with letters,&c.
I am, major, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
Major W. HOFFMAN,
DECEMBER 15, 1864.-Expedition from Fort Monroe to Pagan Creek, Va.
Report of Captain James B. King, Third Pennsylvania Artillery.
FORT MONROE, VA., December 19, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report in reference to an expedition contemplated by the following order:
ORDERS, NO.-.] HEADQUARTERS,
Fort Monroe, Va., December 15, 1864.
By direction of the major-general commanding the department, Captain J. B. King, Third Pennsylvania Artillery, with his company (C) will proceed on board of one of General Graham's light-draught boats, and under the pilotage of the officer commanding the boat will land at the battery at the mouth of Pegan Creek and endeavor to capture certain rebels of whose whereabouts Captain King knows. He will take Mr. Bassett as guide.
By order of Colonel Roberts:
FRED. R. KENT,
About 3 p.m. the afternoon of the 15th instant I left Fort Monroe with fifty-eight men and proceed under the pilotage of Captain Lowe on board the steamer John Tracy with two 12-pounder howitzers. Arriving off Newport New we laid to till about 5 p.,m. We arrived at the mouth of Pegan Creek about 6 p.m. and shortly after embarked about fifty men in a launch to effect a landing at a point a little above what is known as Todd's battery, having first, however, sent off to shore in a small boat a few men as a reconnoitering party, in charge of Lieutenant Martin, of my company. The channel of this creek is full to those who are not familiar with it, and the mouth of the creek is full of shoals and oyster beds. Unfortunately, at this time the tide was very low, and the launch having got half way to the landing ran aground. We were delayed by shoals several hours, and it was nearly