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978 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 978 Chapter IX. OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA.

do as well to prevent a landing in front of this middle redoubt as the four guns now mounted there. Captain Jones, of the Navy, and Captains Myers and Nicholas, of the Engineers, concur with me in the opinion that this disposition of the guns and the erection of the work at the point are advisable. With this concurrence, I have ordered it to be done, to save time, there being but who 32-pounder (57 cwt.) sent to me, to be used either at Williamsburg or at yorktown, in which I include Gloucester Point. I have but one of these with which to defend the landing at or near Spratley's, and as a landing there would turn all the defensive works about Williamsburg, it is of the utmost importance that it should be prevented. I therefore propose the following distribution of guns, which do not seem to me to be of much use here, or whose places can be supplied by guns of inferior caliber, viz: 1st, one heavy gun, 8-inch columbiad (now mounted to defend the bridge and causeway lately made to the mainland), to be removed to the work at Spratley's, and as the field of fire of this gun can be covered by a 6-pounder, to replace this with the latter. The work at Spratley's will thus be furnished with two heavy guns. The two 32-pounders, mounted on the main work, look up the river, and could be much more strongly placed; one to defend the mouth of the creek, where Spratley's house is situated, just opposite the point of this island, and the other at a point below King's Mill. If ships should pass all the batteries the fire of the two guns against them would be less important than if directed to prevent a passage; and it matters not whether this preventing a passage be at the work on Jamestown Island or at some lower point easily defensible, which, if carried, would enable the enemy to disregard and turn the defenses of the island. I therefore strongly recommend that these two guns also be turned over to Captain Rives, who is in charge of the defenses at and near Williamsburg, to use as I may direct. I do not know that Captain Jones, of the Navy, and Captain Myers, of the Army, the engineers in charge, entertain different views from mine of this subject. I do not think it proper, however, to withdraw any pieces from the island without referring the subject to the General-in-Chief, particularly as it will not probably cause more than twenty-four hours' delay. I consider Jamestown Island as safer than any other place on the line of defense, even after the withdrawal of these guns.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Richmond, Va., July 15, 1861.

Brigadier General T. H. HOLMES,

Commanding, &c., Fredericksburg, Va.:

GENERAL: I desire you to make the necessary arrangements to facilitate the construction of the battery at Gray's Point, about to be commenced. Colonel Talcott will return to the Rappahannock about the middle of this week, where he hopes to find the guns proposed to be mounted at that point near at hand for the purpose. It will be necessary to keep your preparations secret, and do nothing to attract the attention of the enemy to Gray's Point. Troops will be required to cover the Point and to aid in the construction of the works. I have thought it probable that you could send down Major Ward, with two or more

Page 978 Chapter IX. OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA.