exist, and to intimidate the secessionists by the presence of the Federal force. Accordingly I left Elizabeth City about 3 o'clock, en route for Hertford, twenty miles distant, and arrived there at about 11 p. m., finding much difficulty in passing many parts of the road, most of which was corduroy and badly cut up from the late freshets and rain, rendering it sometimes almost impassable, deep gullies made by the torrents being filled with water. The bridge over the Pasquimans [Perquimans] River is merely a floating raft, fastened to the bank at either end by hawsers. The center of the raft is a draw for the passage of small craft, and is sustained by merely a chain and iron pin. This had evidently been removed by parties cognizant of our approach, and although great caution was used in moving over but a small number at a time, after a part of the advance guard had passed the draw sank, with eight men and horses on it. These were precipitated into the water, which at that place was very deep and rapid. All the men and six of the horses were, by the means of ropes and small boats, safely landed. Two of the horses unfortunately were lost; one being drawn by the force of the current under the bridge was drowned, the other carried so rapidly down the stream as to render it impossible to regain him. After severe labor of about an hour the draw was again fastened, so as with the greatest care to permit the crossing of my entire command, most of the officers and myself standing deep in water for nearly two hours, stationed at different parts of the bridge superintending the crossing.
At Hertford the inhabitants for the most part are very bitter in opposition to the Government, although a few good Union men were found, who delighted in our coming and begged us to remain. In the morning we started for Edenton, twelve miles distant, meeting with no incidents of importance on the way, the road beinsurrounding country much higher and more fertile than we had previously met. At Edenton we were kindly received by the people, who insisted upon preparing food for the men and entertaining the officers. It was impossible, however, to remain long, and consequently after having called on the mayor, a decided Union man, and conversed with some of the leading citizens, who assured me of a strong Union sentiment prevailing in the district, and having gained information of the roads, &c., lying towards Suffolk, I determined to return by that route, considering it of much importance to become acquainted with the country, the state of the roads, Their termini, &c., leading out of Suffolk, as in case of military operations in that direction such information would be of the greatest value. We marched on that afternoon to Mintonville, twenty-three miles, just beyond which place I bivouacked for the night. On the way I learned that large numbers of troops were still continuing to leave that section for the Southern Army, and while at Mintonville a slave boy came in desiring to be taken North. From him I gained information of his master being an officer in the Confederate Army, and that he was constantly mustering in recruits with the intention of soon taking them to Richmond or Petersburg. Agreeable to this information I started with my command at 2 a. m. and marched rapidly on to Sunbury, six miles distant, near which place this officer resided, surrounding his house. I aroused him from his bed and obliging him to mount one of his own horses, I carried him on. Learning from him the names of the officers of his regiment who were in the vicinity, I left the remainder of my force to move on some miles and breakfast, and started with twenty picket men and a lieutenant in a
7 R R-VOL LI, PT I.