northwest direction for a point six miles distant, compelling my prisoner to act as guide in search of the other rebel offices. All of them were secured by 6 a. m.; most of them surprised in their beds, no one having an idea of the presence of a Federal force anywhere in the vicinity till their house was surrounded [and] they themselves summoned to accompany us. One colonel, 1 captain, and 4 lieutenants were thus taken and have been safely, conducted to headquarters at Norfolk, with the exception of the captain, who was so unwell that on taking the oath of allegiance was released. The commissions of all but one of the officers, the muster-rolls, &c., of the regiment, with other valuable papers, were obtained from the colonel. From these officers I learned that six companies of the regiment, (the Seventh Regiment, Second Brigade, North Carolina Troops) were already at the seat of war; the other companies were being rapidly filled up, with the undoubted intention of their soon leaving for Richmond or Petersburg. This latter information I gained from people living in the vicinity and from themselves; also that 500 men had crossed the Chowan River within the past week, 105 having left the day before my arrival at Gatersville. Nothing of further moment occurred on the way to Suffolk.
The roads from Portsmouth to Elizabeth City, bordering the canal, generally good, from Elizabeth City to Hertford for the most part corduroy, and on account of the late rains in a very bad condition, at some points impassable for artillery; from Hertford to Edenton good; from Edenton to Suffolk, via Mintonville and Sunbury, fair, although very sandy most of the way; nearby Suffolk through the Cypress Swamps deep cuts in the road have been formed by the rain so that the water at present is breast high for the horses. The Dismal Swamp country is low, marshy, and very unhealthy. Greater part of the other districts through which I passed seems high and fertile. The crops, however, principally corn, wheat, &c., have been destroyed by the severe spring rains, so that many are really suffering for the necessaries of life. The water along the canal is bad, in other districts generally good and healthy. The sentiment of the people along the route seems much divided, a strong Union feeling undoubtedly existing, fear of Southern power, persecution, and future retribution alone preventing a decidedly loyal expression of it. Much of the road leads through dense woods with thick underbrush. These roads are generally narrow. Extensive clearings are, however, to be met with. There appears but little undulation in the country, and but few points commanding any extenbe found. I have great pleasure in reporting the admirable condition of both horses and men. All have returned but the horses mentioned, and notwithstanding the almost unprecedented rapidity of the march, with the difficulty of procuring either forage or rations, the men are more hale and hearty than when starting out, and the horses appear strong and well, apparently but little exhausted by the extreme fatigues of the march. All have undoubtedly gained experience which will be of great value to them in future service, and seem only the more eager for active, constant work.
Trusting the report may meet with your approval, I have the honor to remain, general, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. C. DODGE,
Commanding First Regiment Mounted Rifles.
Brigadier General E. L. VIELE,
Military Governor of Norfolk, &c.