Doc. 36.-fight at Carter's Creek, on the Rappahannock River, June 24.
U. S. Steamer Monticello, Off Fortress Monroe, June 25, 1861.Dear sir: In accordance with your desire, I send you a short statement of our action at Carter's Creek, up the Rappahannock River, which took place yesterday P. M. Agreeably to orders received from Flag Officer Pendergrast, we were relieved at our station off Cape Henry by the Quaker City, and caine up and reported on Sunday morning. Was ordered away in the afternoon and anchored in Lynnhaven Bay. Yesterday morning we steered up the Chesapeake Bay, and about 2 P. M., were at the mouth of the Rappahannock. Hoping to capture the rebel steamer Virginia, plying on that river, we steamed a short distance with the Cumberland's launch in tow, armed with a 12-pound howitzer. Seeing nothing of importance, we turned round, and, at the request of our pilot, sent the launch on shore with our gig in tow, fully armed and equipped for any emergency, although our errand was a peaceful one, as the owner of the house was an intimate friend of the pilot's, and reported a Union man. Owing to the shoaling of the water, a howitzer's crew and four men were left in the launch, and the balance, with Dr. Heber Smith, our assistant-surgeon, Pilot Phillips, and Master's Mate Brown in command, went on shore in the gig, and were very cordially received by all hands and introduced to the ladies present. Immediately after, we saw from the ship our men running rapidly down the beach, and wading towards the launch, and then several volleys of musketry were fired from armed and uniformed men who were seen stealing along the beach. We immediately opened on the thickets whence the fire came, from the ship's batteries, and must have done execution, as we were less than 600 yards from shore, and could see any and every movement of the enemy. The howitzer in the launch was likewise opened on them, and completely routed them and silenced the fire. We then opened on the house and out-houses, and demolished them, Our pilot was seen wading towards us from the shore, he having been left behind in the hurry. I sent a boat and crew after them. We were very short-handed on board, as twenty men were on the launch, but every man did the work of half a dozen, so enraged were they at the rascally treachery of the rebels on shore, and their enthusiasm could not be controlled, but burst out in loud huzzas as each shot, shell, or grape did its deadly work. I regret to say that Dr. Smith, while wading to the launch, was shot in the mouth and likewise in the hand. The former shot passed through both cheeks, and tore out his teeth and gums. The wound, though severe, is not dangerous. The wound in the hand was slight in comparison with the other. One of our quartermasters, while getting in on the quarter of the launch, was struck in the stomach by a ball. This case is considered hopeless. Several others were slightly wounded. The ship was not struck to my knowledge, although the balls came thick and close about it; but a few well-directed shots from our guns drove the rebels away, and we had it all to ourselves. We were in action over an hour, and fired 61 times in all. We steamed down the river and bay, after doing all the damage we could, and reported last night at midnight in Hampton Roads to the flag officer. The wounded were returned to Fortress Monroe, and will receive all necessary medical attendance. It is wonderful that so few were wounded, as the launch was not more than sixty yards from the fire. We learned afterwards, from those who went on shore, that they were warned by this friend to leave right away, as picket guards were stationed near by. Lieut. D. L. Braine, in charge of this ship, commanded the pivot gun, and your obedient servant the two after ones; the Paymaster in charge of the magazine, and Acting Master at the wheel; and great credit is due to the men for their courage, as we had to make our firemen do the duty of a gun's crew. The officers of the ship are as follows: Lieut. D. L. Braine, “in charge;” Edwin V. Gager, Acting Master; G. de F. Barton, Acting Paymaster; Geo. W. Havemeyer, Acting Captain's Clerk; Heber Smith, Acting Assistant Surgeon; Geo. Wait, Acting Assistant Engineer; L. A. Brown and----Winchester, Master's Mates. All the officers except Braine are from New York, and volunteered their services for the defence of the United States Government in this, its hour of peril, and hold appointments from the Navy Department.
--Account of G. W. Havemever, N. Y. Tribune, June 28.