Today in History:

207 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I


Gloucester Court-House, from which point he was instructed to throw forward his best mounted squadrons, to seize all the roads leading down into Matthews and hold them, detaining all passengers whatever. This was well and completely done. I arrived at the neck of Matthews County with the infantry and artillery in the evening,and, after a reconnaissance between the Piankatank and North Rivers, made a proper disposition of forces of forces to hold that position during the operations of Colonel Spear's cavalry below. These dispositions and their relations to important points are best indicated in the diagram* which I have the honor to inclose.

At daylight on the 6th, Colonel Spear, which his cavalry, proceeded to a thorough examination of Matthews County, by detachments.

During the 6th, 7th, and 8th instant, every work, corner, creek, and landing place was visited. About 150 boats and sloops were destroyed, some 80 head of beef cattle, out of a drove of 150 belonging to Confederate Government and en route for Richmond, were captured and brought in, and are now being issued in rations by the post commissary. A few horses and arms were taken, and about 100 prisoners more or less connected with illicit trade were arrested, but I deemed it best to discharge all except those whom I forward to-day with descriptive rolls.

Sixteen of my men were brought back sick in the gunboats. One man was murdered by a bushwhacker named Smith, who was promptly hung, being taken in the act.

No other loss of property was suffered by us. The country is full of forage, plenty of corn and fodder, and some oats. Sheep, poultry, and poor cattle abound. I am sure our visit has produced the best effect on the population. No marauding or pilfering whatever was allowed, and no house inclosure was entered except by officers or non-commissioned officers. To this I regret to say there was, however, an exception on the part of the navy gunboats, whose crews were in some cases landed without authority from me, and acted shamefully and disgracefully. In at least one instance an officer was present consenting.

I cannot too highly commend Colonel Spear's cavalry, and the services of that active and judicious officer were invaluable. Major Stevenson, commanding army gunboats, carried out his orders promptly and judiciously all respects. The negro infantry marched better than any old troops I ever saw. On two days they marched 30 miles a day without a straggler or a complaint, and were ready for picket, patrol, or detachment duty at night. Not a fence rail was burned or a chicken stolen by them. They seem to be well controlled and their discipline, obedience, and cheerfulness, for new troops, is surprising, and has dispelled many of my prejudice.

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


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Letter and service to be acknowledged.



*See p. 1017.