War of the Rebellion: Serial 088 Page 0122 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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kin, at City Point, to send me a steamer that night, to enable me to cross the river with a part of my force at this post, to which I received no reply until between 7 and 8 o'clock on the morning of the 10th instant, when the steamer called for reported. My purpose was to send a section of my light battery and about 150 men to Fort Powhatan in the evening, and during the night to land about 250 men below Cabin Point, and endeavor to surprise the rebels at daylight this morning by a simultaneous movement of both detachments. At 9.30 a. m. August 10 I received the following dispatch from Colonel Innis:

We are about sending out all our available force. In case we are driven in can I depend upon you for assistance?

To which I replied:

Make no movement until I come; will be with you in an hour.

In less than one hour I was at Fort Powhatan, and then and there first learned that General Graham had sent a force down the river, and that Colonel Innis had been requested to co-operate with him. I immediately directed Colonel Innis to send out all the men he could possibly spare and sent back to Wilson's Landing for 375 men, 100 of whom I directed to remain at Fort Powhatan, and 275 I sent to re-enforce the detachment sent forward by Colonel Iniss. A part of the force marched as far as Cabin Point and scouted the country about there, arrested several citizens who, with one exception, persisted that no more than six rebel soldiers had been seen recently in that neighborhood. From one party they learned that about seventy-five rebel cavalry had that morning gone off on the Blackwater road. They found the telegraph line down at several points but not broken. Between 8 and 9 o'clock the force returned to Fort Powhatan.

I inclose herewith a report of Lieutenant Swain, which accounts for the fact that no communications was received from Fort Powhatan on the night of the 9th instant. To your remark about not getting up to make movements until 10.45, I have no reply to make, feeling that the same was uncalled for and unjust.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GILMAN MARSTON,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

[Inclosure.]

FORT POCAHONTAS, VA., August 11, 1864.

Brigadier General G. MARSTON,

Commanding Brigade:

GENERAL: In answer to your inquiries I have the honor to report that I was at the signal station at this post on the night of the 9th instant until fifteen minutes of 11 o'clock, and gave my men instructions to use extra caution on watch. My sergeant at Fort Powhatan states that he called this station from 11 to 12 o'clock that night. During the afternoon and just previous to sunset we could communicate by signals only at intervals, and I have reason or suppose that during the time this station was called the smoke in the atmosphere prevented their torch from being seen at this distance, nearly eight miles.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JULIUS M. SWAIN,

Second Lieutenant and Signal Officer.