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[285] Randolph, then Secretary of War, now in my possession, promoting me to major of artillery, and in the body of my appointment directing me to remain in command of Fort Drewry. It cannot be shown that the crew of the Virginia fired a shot from this fort on that occasion. It is true that the gallant Jackson, of the Patrick Henry, had casemated near the entrance to the fort an 8-inch gun, but much rain having fallen the previous night the ground became very soft and its whole superstructure fell in at the onset of the fight, so that the engagement was far advanced before any help could be rendered us. It is also true that Lieutenant Jones had a 9-inch Dalgren gun in position, but the sudden turn in the river at this point placed him out of view of the enemy, and he could not help us. With all due respect to the well-earned reputation of the Virginia crew and the remainder of our navy who had landed on our shore above the fort after the retreat before the Federal fleet from Norfolk, I have never understood that they had been able to render us any particular help on that occasion. The men who bore the brunt of that fight were substantial farmers from the surrounding country, not caring for the attainment of military glory, but well satisfied to know that they had rendered important service to their country, and stood for their friends and firesides against our common enemy; and this statement is made in justice to them, whilst yet they have the evidences to substantiate the facts.

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