This can be done all the time until we surround Fort Monroe
and make the roads too hot to hold the blockading fleets.’
On the 25th, the governor asked the advisory council the very important question as to how steam vessels, entering the navy yard at Portsmouth
or other ports, on State service, could be supplied with coal, when in want, that being then the case with one such vessel at Portsmouth
Fortunately for Virginia
, she had, in the vicinity of Richmond
, the fine Chesterfield
coalfield, which supplied during the war an abundance of coal for steam and manufacturing purposes.
On the 24th of April, the steam tug Young America
went out from the harbor of Norfolk
and was proceeding to take charge of the schooner George M. Smith
, off Fortress Monroe
, loaded with contraband of war, when it was seized by the United States
, and there resulted quite a correspondence between General Gwynn
and Flag-Officer Pendergrast
, of the United States navy, in reference to that and other captures of vessels in Hampton Roads
, the one claiming the right to make such seizures and the other denying it.
Learning that the Virginia
midshipmen from the naval school at Annapolis
had resigned and tendered their services to the State
, Capt. R. L. Page
, of the Virginia
navy, at this time advised the establishment of a temporary schoolship for their use at Norfolk
, for drill, etc., until their services were wanted for special duties, a suggestion that received the approval of the advisory council.
A strict blockade had been established by the Federal
authorities, cutting off all communication even with other Virginia
ports; Federal vessels were constantly making soundings from Cape Henry
lighthouse to the barricades in the channel of Elizabeth river
, and it was the opinion of Corn.
, May 1st, that the United States
intended to make a descent on Gosport
navy yard to correct their recent error of destruction and evacuation.
He suggested that a competent military force be stationed to resist such efforts, saying that he could muster only 73 men under arms in the yard, and scarcely 40 appeared from the town, and only two of those properly armed.
On the 30th of April, G. J. Pendergrast