Today in History:

23 Series I Volume XI-III Serial 14 - Peninsular Campaign Part III


cording to information furnished by the negroes, will ground along the shore on hard sand. The bluff banks are not too steep for infantry. At the little inlet 3 3/4 miles from yorktown the landing will apparently be protected from any batteries between Yorktown and Wormley's Creek, and more particularly from two batteries of two Dalgren guns, each said to be masked, 2 miles from Yorktown, and therefore near the mouth of that creek. Finally, the road from this landing turns all the enemy's defenses on the Hampton and Yorktown roads up to a point 4 miles from Yorktown.

The roads from Hampton and from Newport News to Yorktown pass through alternations of woods and open fields, with woods sometimes on one side and open fields on the other, and with occasional defensive lines of considerable natural strength. Should the enemy occupy these roads and positions in force, a rapid advance by the direct roads would be difficult, and attended with much loss of life; but by extending our flanks considerably we shall naturally find some places of easy approach, by which all the natural defenses will be turned. Considerable road and bridge making would be essential to safe and sure operations. The enemy now holds Big Bethel, where the first serious resistance on the road from Hampton will be encountered. Northwest Branch, Deep Creek, and the narrow divide between the two furnish a strong, continuous defensive line against rapid approaches-no serious obstacle, I think, again slow and careful approaches.

The works of the enemy at Wall's Creek seem to be built mainly or altogether to prevent our landing at that point. A similar remark may be made of the works between Deep Creek and Warwick River.

Warwick River, near its mouth, has, it is reported, been obstructed by the rebels. I have nothing to add to the information furnished by the map as to the works of the enemy between hampton or Newport New and Yorktown. It will be noticed that one or two small batteries are found wherever a road from York river side joins the main road from Hampton, while no notice is taken of the roads which come in from the James River side. Still these roads seem to turn the positions of the enemy equally well. According to the map there are no prepared works beyond Deep Creek to prevent a march from Newport New by way of the Court-House and the head of Warwick River to a position entirely above Yorktown. The last natural line of the enemy- a branch of Warwick River, a branch of Wormley's Creek, and the divide between the two, where the last batteries are seen on the Hampton and Yorktown road, about 2 1/2 miles from the latter place-unfortunately is not turned by the landing below Wormley's Creek, and this fact suggests the want of other means of turning the works of the enemy entirely above Yorktown, and if possible above Williamsburg.

At Williamsburg, 12 miles above Yorktown, the enemy have fortified to some extent another natural line. On the right of the road, 1 mile below Williamsburg, there is Fort Magruder, a square redoubt with two mounted guns; on the left of the road two square redoubts without mounted guns.

Commodore Goldsborough expressed his desire to co-operate in every way and his decided belief that the enterprise would be successful. He had secured twelve pilots when i left, and can doubtless find as many more as may be necessary. He thinks he can protect a landing, and said something about running a gunboat or two by Yorktown in the night, but did not seem entirely willing to undertake that maneuver. There will be no difficulty in obtaining at Fort Monroe all the