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Comte de Paris, History of the Civil War in America. Vol. 3. (ed. Henry Coppee , LL.D.), Book I:—the war on the Rapidan. (search)
ere points whence an army, speedily transported by sea, could always debouch for the purpose of operating either against the city of Richmond itself or against the lines of railways running south from that town. The Fourth army corps, commanded by General Keyes, had charge of these positions. It occupied Fortress Monroe, Yorktown, and Fort Magruder near Williamsburg with one division; the other, under General Peck, was located at Norfolk and Suffolk. The latter town, situated on the Nansemond River at the point where it forms a creek running into the James, is only separated by a few miles of mainland from the vast marsh called the Dismal Swamp. The impenetrable bogs of this swamp encircle with a thick belt the black and infectious waters of Lake Drummond, the accursed spot of the Indian legends, the horrors of which Thomas Moore has sung in one of his most poetical ballads, and extends as far as the vicinity of the inland sea of North Carolina. Suffolk thus commands an isthmus
t. Lee; "Chuckatuck Guards, " Capt. Phillips, (V. M. I;) "Nansemond Artillery," Capt. Ames, and a Light Infantry company, Capt. J. K. Kilby, M. D., in the Lower Parish, have all suddenly sprung into being, and are intensely eager for the fray. --Besides these, the ranks of the "Suffolk Continental, " and those of the "Home Guard," have been largely increased. Fortifications are being thrown up at Town Point, Bleak House Point, and Barrett's Neck, for the defence of the mouth of the Nansemond river and Chuckatuck creek, and a plenty of the best guns can be had from the Navy-Yard to make them more than efficient. We are glad to hear that the Convention has vacated all the old military commissions.--We want men in command with spirit, and suited to the emergency. Capt. John Cohoon, long the presiding Magistrate of our County Court, but of late being infirm from old age, was conveyed from his residence yesterday to cast the first spade of dirt at Town Point. The Captain ha
t. Doles, from Milledgeville, Ga., said to be the best drilled company in that State, reached here last night with the Twiggs' Volunteers. In the former company is a Major General as a private, who, it is said, is likely to be elected Colonel of the regiment. Both these companies have been detailed to the Navy-Yard. The Sussex Cavalry, which I mentioned had arrived here some days ago, has been ordered with the National Grays, Capt. Denny, of this city, to Pig's Point, at the mouth of Nansemond river. Some of the Ape's men from the Cumberland, under her gallant Commander, the heavy and phlegmatic Pendergrast, who ingloriously fled from the commanding position he once occupied here, have been taking soundings up the river, and it has been deemed precautionary to station at the entrance of the Nansemond a force sufficient to repel any attempt to land by the aggressive force under the Illinois Campaign. The Old Dominion Guards, of Portsmouth, were detailed up the Seaboard and Roanoke
near Norfolk. Lieut. Richard Henry Storrs, of the Third Alabama Regiment, was returning to his camp from the city about 9 P. M. He was hailed by the sentinel, whose gun was accidentally discharged, and in an hour or so the victim was a corpse. He was from Wetumpka, Alabama. His remains leave to-day for his Southern home. The Artillery Company of Capt. Grimes, of this city, is to be converted into a Flying Artillery, and to range between this point and the fortified points on the Nansemond river. In case of an attack we ought to have 30,000 men about here. The lumber-yard of H. V. Niemeyer was fired last night at about 10 o'clock. There was not much damage. The property was insured. Two men were up before the new Mayor for uttering incendiary speech. I have not ascertained what his Honor did in the case. He is not disposed to be very stringent against delinquents. The gallant captain of the Cumberland is to be credited for delivering to Mr. Garrison the negroes r
and will speak for themselves if occasion requires. Powder. Portsmouth, Va., May 15, 1861. It is said that Col. James Gregory Hodges, of this city, has been removed from the command of the 3d Regiment of Volunteers. This, I hear, is an unpopular move with the regiment, but so are other moves regarded as strange which have been made and adhered to in this locality. Brigadier-General Gwynn, with his staff, will visit to-day the batteries recently erected on or along Nansemond river. It seems that John Morris, the quondam valet or servantman of the late Commodore Barron, has been retained in the service of the family. He is the steward of Pendergrast, and has been permitted by the powers that be in Norfolk and hereabouts, to visit Norfolk, make his purchases, and return to the Cumberland. He was arrested in Norfolk, and upon examination produced his permits. He was consequently discharged, but given to understand by the "roving bullies" that if he repeated
Torpedoes and Submarine batteries. We are happy to be informed that, among the other defences of the Elizabeth and Nansemond rivers, are these admirable contrivances for giving an unexpected hoist to an invading fleet. In one place, we are informed the work is of a character that would damage seriously the largest squadron that ever floated on the waters. It is also said that the same contrivance either have been or are about to be arranged at various places along the coast. The batteries around Norfolk are in tip-top condition, and any demonstration upon that point will be met in a manner that will make the eyes of the next generation of Virginians sparkle with delight when they open that illumined page of her history.
[by telegraph.] Norfolk, May 20 --1:30 P. M.--The report of heavy guns heard at 10 o'clock this morning, proceeded from the battery at Pig Point, Nansemond river. They were trying the range of their guns. All is quiet at Sewell's Point.
Another engagement between a U. S. Vessel and a battery. We learned, yesterday, from a passenger by the James River steamer, that an engagement took place yesterday morning at "Pig's Point," situate at the month of Nansemond river, between the United States steamer "Harriet Lane," and the battery at that place. The fight commenced about eight o'clock, and lasted for an hour and a half, during which time the steamer fired fifty-eight shot and shell, the battery responding in a very spirited manner, many of its shot taking effect. It was thought that the "Harriet Lane" was badly damaged, as she careened a good deal, and beat a hasty retreat for Old Point, probably for repairs. [The above report was brought to us by gentlemen who believed it to be true; but as they did not witness the battle, we give the rumor for what it is worth.]
y a certain Captain in the late United States Navy is permitted to remain quietly in Norfolk. Is he any the loss a human being than other sympathizers with the Vandals of the North? Would it be uncharitable to suppose that the information of war movements, which daily reach the enemy, might be conveyed by this officer? Could he be faithful in the honest discharge of his sacred duty to that faithless and tyrannical Ape, and continue an eye-witness to our proceedings, and not seek any channel of communication with his master, Lincoln? With all candor, I think the sooner we are one in heart and soul, the better. Those now who are in our midst, and not for us, are against us. I am told by the Cavalry officer of Pig's Point Battery, on Nansemond river, that part of the wheel-house of the steamer Harriet Lane, knocked off by that battery in her last attack on that point, has drifted on shore, and is now in their possession. Most faithfully yours and our country's friend, H.
The attack of the Confederate Gunboat Harmony on the U. S. Steamer Savannah. The Fortress Monroe correspondent of the Philadelphia Inquirer furnishes the follow-account of the attack, on Friday last, of the Confederate gunboat Harmony on the United States steamer Savannah, a notice of which, copied from the Portsmouth Transcript, appeared in our paper yesterday morning: To-day, between eleven and twelve o'clock, a small side-wheel steamer came from Norfolk to the mouth of the Nansemond river, and, taking a position, began firing from a large gun-metal gun on board at the Savannah, United States sloop-of-war, (twenty-four guns,) at the mouth of James river, just off Newport News point. She commenced firing shells, gradually approaching the Savannah. Of the first twelve shots, eight fell short of the S., two nearly alongside, and two beyond. At the firing of the eighth shot, the Savannah began to reply, but not to much effect at first, her shots and shells falling short.
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