Doc. 48.-the James River expedition. Reconnoissance towards Petersburgh.
Fortress Monroe, May 28, 1862.Yesterday the Coeur de Lion and Stepping Stones were ordered to proceed up the Appomattox River towards the city of Petersburgh, which is built on its banks. They proceeded up this stream for a distance of ten miles above its mouth without molestation, but just at this point there is what is called the “Seven mile reach.” On one side the ground was low and marshy, but on the other (northern) side there was a sort of bluff, upon which there appeared to be an earth-work; but on close examination, it was observed that no guns were mounted upon its parapet. Moving up a little further, the enemy's troops were discovered, composed of infantry and cavalry, in some force. They were skulking around under cover of houses and clumps of trees. Our gunboats moved up close under shore, when they were saluted with a heavy volley of musketry. Capt. Hamilton, of the Coeur de Lion, ordered his crew to man the broadside howitzer and rifled guns, and sent a dozen or more loads of shrapnel and shell into the body of the enemy, accompanied by a steady volley from his relief black crew, armed with rifles. A shell from the Stepping Stones burst in a large house, about a mile  from shore, creating great havoc among a company of rebel infantry in the house, and setting fire to the latter. The fire from the gunboats was kept up for about thirty minutes, but was not returned by the rebels, who, having no artillery, got out of the way as fast as they could. The gunboats then proceeded up a little further, until within sight of Port Walthall, meeting no batteries or signs of any being constructed. There was plenty of water in the Appomattox for light-draught vessels, and the reconnoissance was one of the most successful and important that has been made during the war.