Today in History:

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


of which I had the plans-so vast that these boats would be destroyed in twenty minutes.

I have to-day discovered the position of the masked battery of four 10-inch guns, to which have been added extensive works, and some more guns have been reported. I am now trying to draw its fire by advancing and firing at long ranges; so far without effect.

I have this moment received your note of yesterday of 11 p.m. It came too late for me to get to you to-day. I wish I could; but, my dear sir, I am without officers. I have not one with whom I dare to leave this vessel. None have any experience whatever.

I saw your troops advancing along Wormley's Creek toward the masked battery of four 10-inch guns. Until these are taken I cannot advanced with this range. When these are taken they can be turned on the water battery which lies nearest to us, and which has lately been made more extensive also, as I see by the new earth.

When you take the Wormley's Creek we can have uninterrupted communication at any and all times. The view is good from where I am. Your signal officer did not come on board, and would be very serviceable if here.

I am, with the commanders of the two vessels with me, anxious to assist you; but you see the cost of its attempt in the existing state of things. Depend on it, all the fortifications have been largely increased.

Our want of officers is a hard trial, and my presence is a necessity to my vessel; yet if you still with it at any time that I should join you I will do so.

Your views in writing will be carried out faithfully, if possible, or by signal. If you want me to take the boats under fire say so, and it shall be done at once, no matter at what cost.

I am writing this on deck while firing.

Yours, very truly,


[Inclosure No. 3.]

SUNDAY, April 6, 1862-4 p.m.


MY DEAR GENERAL: I have received your favor of this date by Colonel Key and hasten to say that I have already written you via Shipping Point in reply, giving my reasons for not having joined you. The time you proposed to proceed with me had elapsed, and particularly the difficulties of my leaving my vessel, owing to the want of officers of experience to take care of her.

I have explained in my note of to-day, and have repeated to Colonel Key, the greatly increased strength of the fortifications, as see from this position. The forts at Gloucester are very formidable indeed, and the water batteries of Yorktown have evidently been increased in dimensions within a few days, as indicated by the new earth.

As I pointed out to you in our interview, the works to be most apprehended (though they all are too formidable for our vessels or three or four times their numbers and class) are the guns in mask, about one-fourth to one-half of a mile this side of Yorktown, which position I pointed out to Colonel Key.

The enemy are still on Gloucester Point; how strong I cannot say. So long as he hold that formidable work (or indeed upper and lower work) we surely cannot command the York River. All the gunboats of the Navy would fail to take it, but would be destroyed in the attempt;