route, and land at some point on the Potomac and march across to Fredericksburg, representing that it would take two days to reach the city by water, even if we escaped the torpedoes supposed to be planted in the channel. On signifying my determination to try the Rappahannock route, he furnished me with the gun-boats Yankee and Commodore Read, under Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Hooker, who gave me every assistance in his power. The army gun-boat Mosswood, Captain Harris, led the way up the river. Opposite Tappahannock the transport Northerner, containing 960 infantry and six days' rations for the command, grounded, but was after several hours' labor got off, and did not delay the rest of the fleet. At the obstructions, six miles below Fredericksburg, the Northern again grounded, and the Harder, a cavalry transport, was unable to proceed farther. The troops on both vessels were brought up before the next morning. The advance reached the wharf at the city at dusk on the 6th. A squadron of cavalry, under Colonel Sumner, took possession of the town without opposition. Another body of cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Patton, was at once dispatched to the railroad bridge on the Massaponax River, where they succeeded in capturing a train of 27 freight cars, 17 of which were loaded with tobacco and the others with vegetables and corn. A train of 14 army wagons, with 40 mules and sets of harness, was also taken near Hamilton's Cross-Roads. The railroad bridge, a structure 120 feet long and 75 feet high, was burned, and the depot and telegraph office destroyed. A picket of twenty-five men was left to insure the complete destruction of the bridge and to guard the tobacco. The wagons were brought in empty, since the roads were in a very bad state, and as much tobacco was known to be stored in the city as could be brought away on our transports.
The next morning the cars with their contents were burned, and the picket withdrawn. Menahwile, in the city a thorough search had been made for rebel soldiery. Thirteen were discovered concealed in houses and cellars. At the provost-marshal's office fifty muskets were captured; half of them were Enfield rifles in fine order. The quartermaster's office was broken open, and what few rations were found were issued to the poor. Infantry pickets were established to cover the boars on both sides of the river, and to prevent our soldiers from entering the town to plunder. Cavalry pickets were thrown out on the principal road to prevent all persons from leaving the city. While posting the latter, Captain C. S. Masten, of the First New York Mounted Rifles, arrested two rebels soldiers,w ho fired six shots at him without effect. The two prisoners on being searched were found to be two rebel scouts of Jeff. Davis Legion, by name of Shadburne and Taylor. The former is a notorious guerilla, and is well known to the Army of the Potomac as a desperado, whose captured has long been desired. It is proper to state that after being taken he offered $3,000 to each of his three guards if they would release him. The names of the guards who refused this tempting bribe are Privates Vandervoort, Holmes, and Glutz, of Troops M, First New York Mounted Rifles. The 7th of March was spent in loading tobacco from the store-houses, and in crowding on whatever other republic property could be carried away. The mules were all brought off with their harnesses and eight of the wagons. The other wagons were burned. A small quantity of stores, collected for contraband traffic in the city (apple jack) and of tobacco. No private property was molested, and no depredations committed by the troops.