Learning that the Confederates were building ironclads at Norfolk, Burnside planned an expedition to destroy the Dismal Swamp Canal locks to prevent transfer of the ships to Albemarle Sound.
He entrusted the operation to Brigadier General Jesse Lee Reno's command, which embarked on transports from Roanoke Island on April 18. By midnight, the convoy reached Elizabeth City and began disembarking troops.
On the morning of April 19, Reno marched north on the road to South Mills. At the crossroads a few miles below South Mills, elements of Colonel Ambrose Wright's command delayed the Federals until dark.
Reno abandoned the expedition and withdrew during the night to the transports at Elizabeth City.
The transports carried Reno's troops to New Berne where they arrived on April 22.
Result(s): Inconclusive (Federals withdrew.)
Location: Camden County
Date(s): April 19, 1862
Principal Commanders: Brigadier General Jesse Lee Reno [US]; Colonel Ambrose Wright [CS]
Forces Engaged: 21st Massachusetts and 51st Pennsylvania [US]; 3rd Georgia [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 150 total