Thursday, August 19, 2010

South Mills

Three miles south of the locks of the Dismal Swamp Canal near South Mills,NC, rebel forces under Ambrose Wright turned back the advance of Federal forces under general Jesse Reno, sent to destroy the locks.

Men's forces, the Ninth New York in advance, approached South Mills on April 19, 1862. The rebels had filled a ditch in front of their position with burning fence rails, obscuring their position.

Soon after the Ninth crossed the ditch, the combined fire of the rebel 3rd Georgia infantry and Giles's battery swept their ranks. Losses mounted, and the Ninth moved to the right, sheltering in a nearby woods. Some time later, the Sixth New. Hampshire turned the rebel right. Wright withdrew, ending contest.

The following day Reno, concerned over rumors of rebel reinforcements, withdrew southward. Though he claimed success for having driven the enemy from the field, he had failed to damage or destroy the canal. The threat of Confederate ironclads descending the canal never materialized, however, as Norfolk fell shortly thereafter.
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