arrival of the ferry boats the cavalry was immediately crossed, taking until daylight next morning to complete the work. Leaving the infantry with the boats, I pushed on immediately with the cavalry on the morning of the 3rd, reaching Jackson about 9 p. m. A strong mounted picket of the enemy was stationed here, which my advance pushed through the town toward Weldon, capturing three of the number. I halted at Jackson to rest my horses a few hours. I ascertained while there that there was a sufficient force at Weldon to prevent my gaining the bridge. I therefore determined to leave Weldon on my left and strike the railroad, if possible, between that place and Hicksford.
We left Jackson at 4 a. m. April 4, reaching the Seaboard Railroad at a point about seven miles from Weldon at daylight. I was engaged in tearing up this road when a train with troops on board came in sight from the direction of Margaretsville, in my rear. The troops, infantry, jumped from the cars, formed line, and attacked. My men were prepared for them, and soon drove them back to the train, capturing five enlisted men. This force was said to be between 400 and 500 strong, with one section of artillery, under command of General Whitmore [Colonel Whitford?]. As soon as they were driven back to the cars and were on board, the train pushed rapidly back out of my reach. With this force on the Seaboard road, Weldon, and Hicksford well garrisoned, I did not deem it advisable to go farther toward the Weldon road, and returned the same day to Rich Square. I could hear no favorable news from either of our armies. On the other hand rumors most unfavorable reached us hourly. The force sent out from Suffolk, under command of Colonel Lewis, Third New York Cavalry, composed of 200 cavalry, 100 infantry, and a sectin of artillery, to co-operate with me, and take and hold the railroad bridge over the Meherrin, had not been successful, and as they were not able to reach the bridge had retired. The infantry and artillery returned to Suffolk. The cavalry, under Colonel Lewis, met me on my return to Winton. The night of April 4 I encamped at Rich Square. This place is and has been a Government depot. A large amount of cotton is collected here and in the surrounding country. It is sent from Rich Square across the Chowan about Edenton, and supplies of all kinds are brought back in return. They have been exchanging from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds per week, at the rate of a pound of cotton for a pound of bacon. From Rich Square I marched, on the 5th instant, to Murfreesborough, communicating there with the gun-boats on the Meherrin River. The transports were brought up to Murfreesborough, and I collected and put on board of them seventy bales of cotton. Negroes to the number of 150 had joined my command; they were furnished transportation and rations. A battalion of North Carolina cavalry was stationed near Murfreesborough. Of their number 1 officer and 5 enlisted men were captured; the rest got out of the way. A few good horses were taken, but my loss is equal to my gain in that respect. The cotton was sent by water to Norfolk, and turned over to Captain Blunt, assistant quartermaster. The infantry under Colonel Walsh also returned to that place. My regiment is now occupying the vacant houses in this town. My horses are in good condition and ready for duty. I respectfully ask that we may not be left unoccupied at this time.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. V. SUMNER,
Colonel First New York Mounted Rifles, Commanding Regiment.
[Bvt. Colonel EDWARD W. SMITH,]
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of Virginia.