Read directed the rest of the expedition to retrace its steps to about a mile, then he ventured forth alone to confirm the report of the young Confederate. Late in the afternoon of the 13th, Read, "cool and collected as ever" returned to the campsite where his men were, informed them that the intelligence of the day before had been correct, and that they would have to fall back to Richmond.
Thus, the bold Confederate plan failed.
Moreover, the exposure to the inclement weather took a heavy toll on the men. Shippey later wrote that "of teh hundred and one men, who composed this expedition, fully seventy-five were in te naval hospital in Richmond, suffering from the effects of their winter march, on the sad day on which we turned our backs upon that city."