Letter to General Butler.
flag-ship N. A. B. Squadron, off Newport News, Va., April 9, 1864.General: The vicinity of Smithfield and Chuckatuck are known to be invested by guerillas, who are reported to have boats concealed up those creeks and their tributaries. You are aware that the rebels have an organized system of boat expeditions all along the coast, operating at one time from creeks in Morton and Gloucester counties against the Eastern Shore counties, Cape Charles light-house, &c.; at another time against the gunboat Underwriter at Newbern, and now against this ship here. In all these cases they harbor in the vicinity of their operations. This was explained by your prisoner, Acting Master Webb, of the rebel navy, captured while thus engaged in the Neck counties near Yorktown, where, as in the vicinity of Smithfield, &c., the small creeks are numerous and not accessible to our gunboats. It is believed that the little torpedo-boat which struck this vessel last night, happily without accomplishing its object, came out of Pagan and Chuckatuck Creeks or their tributaries. I respectfully suggest that you send at once a sufficient force to capture these rebels and destroy their boats on the upper creeks, and to cooperate with a naval force to prevent their escape by the river, which I will send as soon as you are ready. I have the honor to be, General, Very respectfully, yours.
Letter to Admiral Lee.
headquarters Eighteenth army corps, Department of Va. And N. C., fortress Monroe, April 10, 1864.Admiral: I have your note in relation to the pirates of the creeks and inlets of the James River, and the means of destroying them, and am desirous of cooperating with you in that object. I have, therefore, sent General Graham, who is charged with the duty of making all such dispositions as you may judge necessary, after conference with him for the purpose indicated. Very respectfully, yours,
Memorandum from General Butler.
Fort Monroe, April 12, 1864.Admiral Lee will please have a gunboat at Halloway's Point, on the Nansemond, to-morrow evening, for the purpose of covering the crossing of an infantry force. The boat is to remain until advised to withdraw. Place one or more gunboats some distance above Day's Point when the army gunboat Brewster proceeds to that place with her convoy to land the infantry — the naval vessels to remain there after the Brewster and transports leave, and to continue there until information is communicated that the object of the expedition has been effected. Likewise to station a gunboat near the mouth of Pagan Creek whilst the army gunboats of light draught convey troops in and out.
Orders to D. A. Campbell.
flag-ship North Atlantic Blocking squadron, off Newport News, Virginia, April 13, 1864.Sir: Proceed with the Stepping Stones under your command, to the mouth of Pagan Creek, taking in tow the two (2) launches of the Minnesota. You will there be joined by an army transport with troops, which are directed to land at or near Smithfield at sunrise in the morning. Render all the assistance in your power in effecting and covering this intended landing, and after it is effected, remain at that station until you are advised that your services are no longer needed. Guard closely the water before and after the landing is effected. The object of this expedition is to cooperate with a detachment of our troops, which will be landed some distance above Day's Point, for the purpose of scouring the waters about Pagan Creek, and capturing and destroying any rebel torpedo or other boats which may be there secreted. In furtherance of this object, as well as covering the landing, the launches will be employed. Respectfully, yours,
Orders to A. P. Foster.
flag-ship Minnesota, Newport News, Virginia, April 13, 1864.Sir: Proceed with the Commodore Perry, under your command, to the landing opposite Halloway's Point, on the Nansemond River, timing your departure so as to pats through the obstructions in safety, and so as to arrive at Halloway's Point at ten o'clock P. M., to-night. It is intended to cross in pontoon boats an infantry force to Halloway's Point at eleven o'clock P. M. Communicate with the officer in command of such troops as you may find upon the bank of the Nansemond, opposite Halloway's Point, and so dispose of the Commodore Perry as will best assist and cover the intended passage and landing of the troops on the other side of the river. You will remain in such position until you are advised that your presence there is no longer needed and you are directed to withdraw. The Commodore Perry is directed to proceed farther up the Nansemond to Western Branch, and you will send with her two armed boats from the Perry, under competent officers, who will be under the orders of Acting Master Williams, commanding the Barney. Should the General Putman still be in the Nansemond, you will deliver the accompanying despatch to her commanding officer. Respectfully, yours,