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 destruction, had been sent to this fort, which was then in charge of Commander Farrand, Confederate States Navy. On April 15th the enemy's fleet of five ships of war, among the number their much-vaunted Monitor, took position and opened fire upon the fort between seven and eight o'clock. Our small vessel, the Patrick Henry, was lying above the obstruction, and cooperated with the fort in its defense—the Monitor and the ironclad Galena steamed up to about six hundred yard's distance; the others, wooden vessels were kept at long range. The armor of the flagship Galena was badly injured, and many of the crew killed or wounded. The Monitor was struck repeatedly, but the shot only bent her plates. At about eleven o'clock the fleet abandoned the attack, returning discomfited whence they came. The commander of the Monitor, Lieutenant Jeffers, says in his report that ‘the action was most gallantly fought against great odds, and with the usual effect against earthworks.’ He adds, ‘It was impossible to reduce such works, except with the aid of a land force.’ The enemy in their reports recognized the efficiency of our fire by both artillery and riflemen, the sincerity of which was made manifest in the failure to renew the attempt. The small garrison at Fort Drewry, adequate only to the service it had performed, that of repelling an attempt by the fleet to pass up James River, was quite insufficient to prevent the enemy from landing below the fort, or to resist an attack by infantry. To guard against its sudden capture by such means, the garrison was increased by the addition of Bryan's regiment of Georgia Rifles. After the repulse of the enemy's gunboats at Drewry's Bluff, I wrote General Johnston a letter to be handed to him by my aide, Colonel G. W. C. Lee, an officer of the highest intelligence and reputation—referring to him for full information in regard to the affair at Drewry's Bluff, as well as to the positions and strength of our forces on the south side of the James River. After some speculations on the probable course of the enemy, and expressions of confidence, I informed the general that my aide would communicate freely to him and bring back to me any information with which he might be intrusted. Not receiving any definite reply, I soon thereafter rode out to visit General Johnston at his headquarters, and was surprised in the suburbs of Richmond, viz., on the other side of Gillis's Creek, to meet a portion of the light artillery, and to learn that the whole army had crossed the Chickahominy. General Johnston's explanation of this (to me) unexpected movement was that he thought the water of the Chickahominy unhealthy, and had
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