Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/219

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ll<ittle of Bethel 203

The occupation of two commanding eminences beyond the creek and on our right would have greatly strengthened our position, but our force was too weak to admit of the occupation of more than one of them. A battery was laid out on it for one of Randolph's how- itzers. We had only twenty-five spades, six axes, and three picks, but these were busily plied all day and night of the yth and all day on the 8th. On the afternoon of the 8th I learned that a marauding party of the enemy was within a few miles of us. I called for a party of thirty-four men to drive them back. Lieutenant Roberts, of Company F, of my regiment, promptly responded, and in five minutes his command was en route.

I detached Major Randolph with one howitzer to join them, and Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, First regiment North Carolina volunteers, requested, and was granted, permission to take command of the. whole. After a march of five miles they came across the marauders busy over the spoils of a plundered house. A shell soon put the plunderers to flight, and they were chased over New Market bridge, where our little force was halted, in consequence of a considerable body situated on the other side.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lee brought in one prisoner. How many of the enemy were killed and wounded is not known. None of our command was hurt. Soon after Lieutenant-Colonel Lee left a citizen came dashing in with the information that seventy-five marauders were on the Back River road.

I called on Captain McDowell's company (E), of the First regi- ment of North Carolina volunteers, and in three minutes it was in hot pursuit. Lieutenant West, of the Howitzer battalion, with one piece, was detached to join them, and Major Lane, of my regiment, volunteered, dispersed and chased the wretches over New Market bridge, this being the second race over the New Market course, in both of which the Yankees reached the goal first. Major Lane brought in one prisoner. Reliable citizens reported that two cart- loads and one buggy-load of wounded were taken into Hampton.

We had not a single man wounded or killed. Colonel Magruder came up that evening and assumed command.

A FRESH SUPPLY.

On Sunday, June gth, a fresh supply of tools enabled us to put more men to work, and when not engaged in religious duties the men worked vigorously on the intrenchments. We were aroused at 3 o'clock on Monday morning for a general advance upon the