War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0023 Chapter IX. CONFEDERATES EVACUATE ALEXANDRIA, VA.

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From what we could learn in Norfolk, I am of opinion that the attempt to destroy the dock did not succeed. We were told that the mine did explode and that it did not. Three separate explosions took place after we got clear of the yard, one of which I presumed at the time to have been the dock mine, yet after considering all the contradictory rumors it seems probable that the structure is uninjured.

In addition to this report, I desire to submit a rather more extended narrative, which may posses some interest hereafter.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain of Engineers.

Lieutenant Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,

Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington, D. C.


Washington, April 19, 1861.

Captain H. G. WRIGHT, Corps of Engineers, Washington:

SIR: You are selected as an engineer officer of high science and judgment, to repair promptly to the United States navy-yard at Gosport, Va., and to tender your professional services to the commodore three in command in designing and executing a plan of defense for the same.

You will find the commodore instructed by his Department to expect you in your professional capacity.

I think it best that you should first call at Fort Monroe and consult Colonel Dimick on sending a portion of its garrison to assist in the defense of the navy-yard.

If two volunteer regiments shall have joined him, he may spare one of them for that purpose perhaps, but this must depend on the threatening circumstances about him; and if but one volunteer regiment has joined, the colonel may, after consulting you, deem it safe to detach two or three companies of regulars for duty at the navy-yard. Show him this letter, and give him a copy of it for his warrant.

Both of you will bear in mind that, although the navy-yard and its contents are deemed to be of very great importance, Fort Monroe is still more so to the Union.

You will lose no opportunity of reporting to the Adjutant-General your progress in carrying out these instructions.


MAY 5, 1861. - Evacuation of Alexandria, Va., by the Confederate forces.


No. 1. - Brigadier General P. St. George Cocke, C. S. A., with correspondence.

No. 2. - Lieutenant Colonel A. S. Taylor, Va., Vols., transmitted by General Cocke.

No. 1. Reports of Brigadier General P. St. George Cocke, C. S. A., with correspondence.


Culpeper Court-House, May 6, 1861 - 10 p. m.

For the information of the commanding general-in-chief, I herewith transmit a copy of the letter of instructions sent by me on the 5th instant, by an express, "by rail," to Colonel Taylor, commanding at