Report of Acting Master Street, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Fuchsia, of the part borne by that vessel in the expedition to Mill Creek, Virginia.
S. S. FUCHSIA,
Rappahannock River, Virginia, May 14, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to your order of the 12th instant, I would respectfully beg leave to submit the following report of the expedition to Mill Creek, Middlesex County, Va.:
At 7 a.m., I arrived and anchored at the mouth of the creek, near the torpedoes. Manning my small boats, I rowed up the edge of the channel, followed by the transport steamer Star with troops on board, and succeeded in passing the torpedoes (pickets stationed to explode them having fled on our approach) and landing Colonel A. G. Draper, with 300 infantry and 15 cavalry, in safety.
After arriving on shore, we found the lines leading to two lines of torpedoes.
Leaving an officer with a boat at each line, with orders to report to you their whereabouts, I proceeded in company with Colonel Draper, <nor5_424>with a howitzer from the Yankee and about 35 seamen, to the house of Henry Barrack, where we had previously learned that 60 guerrillas or marines were encamped, but upon our arrival they were not to be found.
Taking with me a detachment of 100 men, I advanced up the Saluda road to the gristmill of Mr. Barrack, which we found to contain a large quantity of corn and wheat; this we burned, together with a sawmill and a quantity of lumber adjoining, then proceeding down the road leading to Fishing Bay on the Piankatank River, where by a previous arrangement we were to meet the steamers.
Coming up with Colonel Draper (who had taken another road) at the farm of Dr. Taylor, the force was halted to rest. On throwing out pickets in the heavy woods, they discovered four torpedoes, two of them complete, also powder, tar, beeswax, lines, etc., for their manufacture.
At 2 o'clock we again advanced, but had not proceeded over 2 miles, when a cavalry force was discovered ahead. Immediately a long line of skirmishers were extended, reaching from the Rappahannock to the Piankatank rivers, with the howitzer and sailors, in charge of Acting Ensign J. A. Havens, to guard the road.
Advancing in this manner for about 1 mile, we came upon a force of marines and cavalry concealed in a dense wood. After a brisk engagement of about twenty minutes we succeeded in routing them, killing 10, among them Acting Master [John] Maxwell of the rebel Navy, and captured 20, one of these, Acting Master Burley, a marine guerrilla, and I think from documents found on him, to be also a spy. He was one of the party who recently captured the tug Titan.
Of our force we had but 1 killed and 5 wounded. Not meeting with any further resistance, we arrived at Fishing Bay at 5 p.m., where we encamped for the night, the steamers not having arrived.
At 5:30 p.m., on the morning of the 13th, the steamers Yankee, Fuchsia, Currituck, and transport arrived (the Jacob Bell having arrived during the night), when the troops were embarked, bringing off five captured horses.
At 9 a.m., the expedition proceeded to Milford Haven, on the south side of the Piankatank, and at 11:30 landed and proceeded to Mathews Court. House, capturing 1 sergeant and 1 private; also 60 head of cattle, 30 horses, forage, etc. The object of the expedition being accomplished, we arrived at the landing at 7 p.m., but, being stormy and not being able to take on board the horses and cattle, the force encamped on shore for the night.
At 4 a.m. this morning we commenced to reembark the troops, and by 11 o'clock had all on board.
Mr. [C. H.] Cobb, master's mate, and J. E. Seedy, surgeon's steward, had charge of the seamen from this vessel.
The sailors performed their duties with their accustomed coolness and efficiency.
I would also mention John [L.] Jackson, pilot of this vessel, who accompanied the expedition as guide, being perfectly acquainted with the country, and the zeal he manifested in the cause is worthy of notice.
Respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Acting Master, Commanding.
Acting Volunteer Lieutenant EDWARD HOOKER, U. S. Navy,
Commanding First Division Potomac Flotilla.