Sun Mar 06 1864|
CDR Foxhall A Parker, Potomac Flotilla, writes LT Edward Hooker, 1st Division, Potomac Flotilla,"Immediately upon the receipt of this order you will detach one of your best vessels to cruise in the bay for the tug Titan (without cannon) and the steamer McClellan (armed with a 25-pounder), which have been captured by the rebels.
You will direct the commanding officer engaged on this duty to use the utmost vigilance, to cruise in all parts of the bay, and overhaul everything he falls in with.
You will so distribute the other vessels of your command as to prevent the rebel vessels from getting into the Piankatank or Rappahannock, or any of the many creeks between the latter river and Smith's Point."
CDR Parker writes SECNAV " I have the honor to inform the Department that I have a steamer by this time at Cherrystone; have detailed two steamers to cruise in Chesapeake Bay; have a tug and two heavily armed schooners at Point Lookout; a tug and a schooner at this place, and the rest of my vessels (with the exception of two small tugs left at Nanjemoy for the protection of that anchorage) distributed between the Piankatank River and Smith's Point, Va., so as to prevent the rebel vessels from making a harbor in Virginia. Shall remain myself between Point Lookout and Piney Point, where I will be in communication with all the vessels of the flotilla, and I will act as circumstances may require."
MGEN Benjamin F Butler, USA telegrams SECWAR "General Meigs arrived here to-night. The raid on Cherrystone and the capture of the Titan seems to have no object except that of theft. The Titan has been chased into the Piankatank River where she is watched by four navy gunboats."
RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron "Last evening I received a communication from Major-General Butler, stating that there was an attack meditated upon our force at Suffolk, and that the rebels had captured the telegraph boat and broken up the telegraph line to the eastern shore, and asking with what force I could aid them on the Nansemond.
I immediately dispatched the light-draft steamer Stepping Stones to Suffolk to communicate with the army there, and learn the situation, and also directed the Commodore Barney, already in the Nansemond, to give such assistance as might be necessary.
The Shokokon was also sent to cruise along the bay shore of the eastern counties of Virginia, pursue and recapture the telegraph boat if possible; at the same time the Dawn was dispatched to cruise along the Atlantic coast of those counties for the same purpose and to gather any information relating to the capture.
I have not been informed of the particulars of this raid by the enemy."
CDR George B Balch, SOPA Jacksonville, writes RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report that on the afternoon of the 1st instant sharp firing was heard in the direction of our advance, which, I learned from General Seymour on visiting him at his request, was between his forces and the enemy.
I dropped this ship in as close to McCoy's Creek as the depth of water would allow, moored her head and stern, shifted three guns over, and made every preparation for a fight, which seemed likely to take place.
The Ottawa shifted her anchorage just above the Pawnee, and by a hawser to this ship sprung her broadside in the direction of the approach of the enemy.
To Commander Creighton, of the Mahaska, had been assigned the defense of the flank by way of Hogans [Hogarths] Creek, and he lost no time in taking an advantageous position.
As yet the enemy has developed no plan of attack, and I am of the opinion that he will rest satisfied in keeping our troops in and close around Jacksonville. You know how hardly the enemy is pressed for supplies, and his force in front of Jacksonville enables him to drive cattle, etc., to the Confederate forces in other parts.
Great activity has been shown here in erecting earthworks, etc., and I am confident that an attack on the forces now here would be handsomely repulsed. We can not get from the gunboats a cross fire, but we can get an admirable flank fire. The rebels were at Three Mile Branch, and the artillery duel on the 1st instant took place from 3 to 4 miles from Jacksonville.
I sent an expedition last night, under command of Acting Ensign Thomas Moore, of this ship, to Mandarin, distant 15 miles up the St. John's, for the purpose of capturing a man by the name of Jones. Mr. Moore was successful, and I now have Mr. Jones on board the Pawnee. My reasons for taking him are that he has been employed by General Finegan in transporting stores, troops, etc. He is owner of a sloop capable, I am informed, of carrying a company of men, and that he has been very inimical to the Union people at Mandarin; in fact, I received yesterday information that this sloop was to be used to-night or in a few days for the purpose of transporting troops across to Mandarin to make a raid. I have therefore as a first step taken Mr. Jones, and if I can will get his sloop.
That the raid may be stopped, I have just sent (9:30 p. m.) the Columbine with a force detailed from this ship under command of Lieutenant J. W. Philip up the St. John's River with directions to capture the raiders should the attempt be made to cross.
Reinforcements are coming in and some ten pieces of artillery arrived to-day.
The Dai Ching will leave in the morning if the tide serves.
The Norwich is now at Yellow Bluff, and I shall send her down to Mayport to look out for our interests there. There are a number of refugees which have to be cared for.
I am happy to report all well on this station."
RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes Fleet Engineer William H Shock, USN from Pensacola, FL "I visited our machine shop yesterday evening on my arrival and find it improving, although its ability to do work has as yet not much improved, as the chief articles have not yet arrived. We have neither heavy bellows nor heavy anvils, and consequently are unable to get a high heat. The coppersmith is at work, and as soon as your piece of shafting comes they will be ready for work on the lathes, etc.
The Nasmyth hammer, I am informed by Mr. Isherwood, has been purchased and ordered out to New York, so I presume that some of your requisitions must have been sent to the Bureau of Engineering instead of Yards and Docks.
I shall not remove anything more from Ship Island, except the workmen. The few tools they have there are necessary for the constant repairs required on the vessels in the [Mississippi] Sound.
It will be entirely out of the question for you to go to St. Louis with such an amount of work as you have on your hands at this time. I would be very glad if it were otherwise, as we are in great want of Mr. Eads vessels; and nothing can be depending on you for their completion. I presume that it is a mere gratification that he desires to have your approval of things before he sends them out.
I regret that he is so unwell as not to be able to give his personal attention, as everything will suffer more or less when the master hand is not at work.
I have sent forward your proposition for the machine shop by the last mail and urged the honorable Secretary to make the purchase, and I have no doubt but that he will do so.
Send forward the heavy anvils, bellows, shears, punch, and piece of shafting by the first opportunity."
RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report that I sent an expedition up the Black and Washita [Onachita] rivers on the 1st instant, under command of Lieutenant-Commander F. M. Ramsay. The following vessels composed the expedition: Ouachita, Lieutenant-Commander Byron Wilson; Fort Hindiman, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant John Pearce; Osage, Acting Master Thomas Wright; Lexington, Lieutenant George M. Bache; Conestoga, Lieutenant-Commander Thomas 0. Selfridge; and Cricket, Acting Master H. H. Gorringe.
The expedition was perfectly successful. The rebels, about 2,000 strong, under General Polignac, were driven from point to point, some extensive works captured, and three heavy 32-pounders brought away. The works were destroyed. The enemy suffered severely from our guns, and the vessels brought away all the cotton they could find. They also destroyed a pontoon bridge, cutting the rebels off from their main body at or near Alexandria, [La.], but having no force to put on shore, they had time to escape.
The water falling very rapidly forced the expedition to give up the intended trip farther into the interior. Some houses were necessarily destroyed, but as the community is all rebel, it is not to be regretted.
I regret to say that we lost 2 killed and 14 wounded, and the Fort Hindman was badly cut up with shot and shell, being struck 27 times, but nothing to impair her efficiency.
I enclose Lieutenant Commander Ramsay's report. I am well pleased with the result of the expedition."