previous next

[282] in the rear somewhat similar to those at Cockpit point. Shipping Point may be considered as an island, for the only way to make the mainland from that place, is by means of a narrow wooden bridge, thrown across a deep and dangerous swamp. It was shrewdly calculated that this narrow passage would be a point of strength to themselves in case of a retreat, with the Unionists in pursuit; for nothing would be easier than to burn or otherwise destroy the bridge. And yet, though not pursued, the rebels forgot to destroy the bridge, showing that some unaccountable panic must have seized on them.

After the crew from the Anacostia had landed at Shipping Point, the gunboat arrived opposite the Point, and sent a boat on shore with some spikes; but it does not appear that many of them were necessary.

On Monday morning the Commodore, at the request of Gen. Hooker, towed over some canalboats, containing two regiments, one from New-Jersey, and the other from Massachusetts. They landed at Cockpit Point and Shipping Point, when skirmishers were thrown out, penetrating several miles into the country. In the rear of the fortifications at Cockpit Point they found an intrenched camp, a great deal of the materials of which were but partially destroyed, affording additional evidence of the hurried flight of the rebels, but of the rebels themselves not a trace remained.

I annex the following memoranda of arms and munitions found at Shipping Point:

A gun, weighing nine thousand and sixty-eight pounds, marked “W. P., no. 4.”

A long thirty-two-pounder, weighing six thousand two hundred pounds, cast in 1845, mounted on a pivot — carriage, which was destroyed.

A six-inch rifled pivot-gun, mounted on a pivot-carriage — carriage destroyed.

Fragments of a six-inch rifled gun, cast at the Tredegar Iron-Works, Richmond, Va., mounted on a pivot-carriage — carriage burned and destroyed.

Six long forty-two-pounders, on pivot-carriages — carriages all destroyed.

A seven-and-a-half-inch rifled gun, cast at Low Moor, England, weighing ten thousand seven hundred and fifty-nine pounds, cast in 1861. This gun is in good order; it was mounted on a pivot-carriage, which was cut with axes in order to weaken it.

One hundred and sixty-nine nine-inch shells, with five second fuses.

A large quantity of thirty-two pound shot and canister.

Thirty-five six-inch rifle-shells, in good order.

Two furnaces for heating thirty-two pound shot. Some shot were in the grate, with fire under them, ready for heating.

Three passing-boxes.

To which may be added three “dummies” or wooden guns, placed in position to make the battery look more formidable than the reality. They were playfully spiked.

The shot and shell have been removed. The guns at Cockpit Point had their trunnions broken off, after which they were precipitated over the bluff into the river. Some of those at Shipping Point and other places remain.

Among military and naval officers the evacuation of the batteries on the Lower Potomac is considered as a military necessity, after the fall of Roanoke Island, the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, and the occupation of Nashville, taken in connection with the advance of the grand army of the Potomac; but the precipitation with which they left their batteries hard beset, and the panic with which they were evidently filled, are not so easy of solution. Perhaps they were apprehensive that if they lingered, their retreat would be cut off by Gen. Heintzelman's division, stationed at Pohick Church. Perhaps, too, the throwing up of several rockets from the Yankee, on Saturday night, was taken for signals, indicating an early cooperation with the military. At all events, it seems to be a fact that the rebels intended to manage their retreat as secretly as possible, and to take away all they could with them; but they were circumvented by the vigilance of the flotilla. Hence their rapid flight from Cock-pit Point, and their simultaneous firing of their combustible goods and chattels from Quantico Creek to below Aquia Creek. No doubt, when they found that Cockpit Point was in possession of the Union troops, they feared a simultaneous movement from across the river and from Pohick Church, and thought it prudent to evacuate as quickly as possible, to save several thousands of their troops from capture.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Moor (1)
Charles H. Hooker (1)
S. P. Heintzelman (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1861 AD (1)
1845 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: