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104 Series I Volume XXXIII- Serial 60 - New Berne

Page 104 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.

tioned on the peninsula formed by Pagan and Chuckatuck Creeks and the Nansemond River.

On the afternoon of the 29th January the gun-boat Flora Temple was ordered to proceed to Chukatuck Creek, to make a thorough reconnaissance at daylight the next morning, and the gun-boat Smith Briggs was sent up the Nansemond; both vessels to return about the same time, anchor at the mouth of the Nansemond, and await my arrival in the gun-boat General Jessup.

On the afternoon of the 30th, I left Norfolk in the gun-boat General Jessup, accompanied by the transport Long Branch, having on board a detachment of cavalry, a howitzer squad, and a few infantry, which was subsequently increased by additions from my gun-boats' crews to make the detachments number about 90 men, which force was placed under the command of Captain Lee, of the harbor police. The fog became so dense before reaching the mouth of the Nansemond that the gun-boat General Jessup grounded, in consequence of which both vessels were compelled to anchor and remain until morning.

At daylight on the 31st, we proceeded up the Nansemond and were joined there by the Flora Temple and Smith Briggs. Lieutenant-Commander Gillis, commanding the U. S. naval gun-boat Commodore Morris, which was stationed there, came on board, generously offered his co-operation, and it was gratefully accepted. The gun-boat Smith Briggs, with two launches and their crews from the steamer Foster, and the U. S. naval gun-boat Commodore Morris, all under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Gillis, who had received 50 additional men from the flagship Minnesota, were ordered to proceed up the Nansemond as far as Holloway Point, at which point they were to land at 2 p. m. and advance to the village of Chuckatuck and join the force which would land at Smithfield under my direction. Everything being in readiness, I sailed with the gunboats General Jessup and Flora Temple and the transport Long Branch at 10. 30 a. m. for Smithfield, on Pagan Creek, and arrived at that point at 1 p. m. At 1. 25 o'clock the force was landed, the whole under the command of Captain Lee, of the Ninety-ninth New York Volunteers. Captain Lee was ordered to advance to Chuckatuck village, form a junction with the force landed on the Nansemond, engaging the enemy on the way if his passage should be resisted. I remained with the gun-boats General Jessup and Flora Temple, having placed them in position to command the town, stopping there two hours to cover the retreat of the force under Captain Lee, should it be compelled to fall back before a superior force of the enemy. At 3 p. m. the Flora Temple was ordered to proceed to Chuckatuck Creek and engage the attention of the enemy, known to be stationed in the neighborhood of Cherry Grove, and prevent its advance against the force landed at Smithfield. At 4 p. m., having heard no firing, and supposing Captain Lee to have met with no enemy, I sailed with gun-boat General Jessup and transport Long Branch for Holloway Point, on the Nansemond River. Having reached the mouth of Pagan Creek, the gun-boat Flora Temple was discovered to be aground, and it was not until about 5 p. m. that she was got off. I then ordered the General Jessup and Long Branch to put on a full head of steam and proceed with the utmost dispatch to Holloway Point.

The weather was very inclement, and the fog became so dense toward night that it was almost impossible to proceed. Arriving at

Page 104 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.