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Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: Ex-President of the Confederate States of America, A Memoir by his Wife, Volume 2, Chapter 53: battle of Drury's Bluff, May 16, 1864. (search)
I must hold it in case of disaster. My staff, couriers, and horses were in Richmond, and were sent for ; there was not a wagon to my division. Everything that I could do was done to be ready. By sundown staff and horses had arrived, and by 10 P. M., or a little later, I was in position in front of the breastworks on Drury's plantation. An independent regiment of cavalry was to move between me and the river, for information. At the first glimpse of daylight I moved to the south of Kingsland Creek, and at once pushed upon the enemy. A dense fog had suddenly enveloped everything. The skirmishers were quickly engaged, and immediately a general infantry fire. The fighting was pressed to conclusion, and by sunrise I had captured a brigade of infantry and a battery of artillery, and swept and occupied about three-quarters of a mile of the enemy's temporary breastworks, which were strengthened by wire interwoven among the trees in their front; not however without considerable loss a
or could not have done better. The barrier is such that vessels of the enemy, if they have any, cannot possibly pass out; ours cannot pass in. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant, John Rodgers, Commander U. S. Navy. Lieut. Wm. N. Jeffers's report. U. S. Iron-clad steamer Monitor, James River, May 16, 1862. sir: I submit the following report of the movements of this vessel during the action of yesterday: Shortly after weighing anchor from our position near Kingsland Creek a sharp fire of musketry was commenced from both banks on all the ships. At half-past 7 I discovered an extensive fortification on an elevation of about two hundred feet, with several smaller batteries, all apparently mounting guns of the heaviest calibre; at the foot of the bluff in the river an obstruction formed of sunken steamers and vessels, secured with chains, and the shallow water, piled across the river. The Galena having anchored at about one thousand yards from the fort
reat, or perhaps a purpose to turn our left and attack Fort Drewry in rear. He placed a battery in the main road and threw some shells at our entrenchment, probably to cover his retiring troops. General Ransom, in an unpublished report, says that, at the time he received the order of battle, General Beauregard told him, As you know the region, I have given you the moving part of the army, and you will take the initiative. He further states that at dawn of day he moved to the south of Kingsland Creek, formed two lines with a short interval, and at once advanced to the attack. A dense fog suddenly enveloped him, so as to obscure all distant objects. Moving forward, the skirmishers were quickly engaged, and the fighting was pressed so vigorously that by sunrise he had captured a brigade of infantry, a battery of artillery, and occupied about three-quarters of a mile of the enemy's temporary breastworks, which were strengthened by wire interwoven among the trees in their front; this
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 19. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), chapter 1.13 (search)
am I able to give a true and correct account of the whole battle. I only desire to submit some details which I hope may throw some light on the question of how Butler's right flank was broken that morning. South of Drewry's Bluff, across Kingsland creek, thence over the elevation where the Willis house stands, runs the old stage road; continuing in a southern direction, it crosses at right angles a small creek, with a pond on the west. This creek is bordered with pines and heavy underwooderve. The fight begins. It was two o'clock in the morning of the 16th, and consequently still very dark, when we fell into line and marched out from the woods in front of Drewry's Bluff, which had sheltered us from the night. Crossing Kingsland creek, we formed in line of battle to the right of the road. Perhaps two hours were consumed in getting the line formed, loading and getting ready for the fray. Meanwhile a heavy fog came up, enveloping everything around us in a thick shroud, so