War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0355 Chapter XX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

thus far. We left our anchorage at Annapolis on Thursday, the 9th instant, and after a protracted passage, owing to dense fogs, arrived at Fort Monroe Friday night at 12 o'clock.

Leaving Fort Monroe on Saturday at 10 p. m. we proceeded at once to sea, but owing to fogs on Sunday and Sunday night our progress was very slow.

Monday, the 13th, the weather cleared; but a very heavy wind and rough sea caused many of our vessels to labor very heavily, and some were obliged to cut loose from the vessels they were towing. Most of them, however, came over the bar and anchored inside the harbor about 12 m. on the 13th, just in time to escape the severe gale of Monday night and Tuesday.

The propeller City of New York ran onto the bar at the entrance to the harbor, and owing to the severe weather and want of small boats we could render her no assistance. She was laden with supplies and ordnance stores, and both vessel and cargo have proved a total loss.

I had been led to suppose, from conversation with Colonel Hawkins, that we should find pilots here whose experience in navigating the harbor would be of great service, but I find great difficulty in accomplishing my work for want of proper accommodations. The harbor with our fleet at anchor is so much crowded that we have suffered much from collision and running aground, and the want of tow-boats of light draught has been and still is one of our most serious hindrances. The boats chartered in Baltimore have none of them arrived. The reason of this delay I am utterly at a loss to comprehend. The channel to the sound is very crooked and shallow, there being on the bar at full tide only 8 feet, while many of our vessels are drawing from 8 to 10 when not loaded. I confess to having been deceived as to the depth of water in the channel and on the bar, and had supposed that any vessel in the fleet could easily pass over, but, on the contrary, it has taken every vessel that has gone over from on to two days to cross, and some it will be entirely impossible to get over. It is positively necessary that we have sent us at once powerful tug-boats, drawing not over 6 or 6 1/2 feet. The strength of the tide and the heavy winds that prevail here incessantly render it impossible to accomplish anything without these boats. All our transport vessels have to be lightened of their troops before crossing, and many of the gunboats are also obliged to be relieved of every possible weight. In order to do this we need the tugs, and it is necessary that they be of such draught as to be able to run in any part of the harbor.

I took the precaution to arrange for a supply of water to be forwarded from Baltimore before I left, ordering one schooner to leave each day till further orders, but not one has yet arrived. Our supply of water is nearly out, and unless we can receive additional supplies our troops must suffer. I have made requisition on Colonel A. B. Eaton for additional rations for my command and on Colonel Tompkins for transportation. I shall to-day commence to build a wharf for the landing of supplies, &c. This has been considered impracticable, but the necessity of the case leads me to the effort, though I am by no means sure of success. Here, too, we find the necessity of having the tug-boats of light draught. In landing our troops from transport vessels much time is necessarily consumed for want of these boats that can come alongside the vessel. The numerous shoals and bars render it impossible for larger vessels to move from their anchorage without danger of grounding. With the greatest exertion, and amid obstacles that have seemed insurmountable, we have succeeded in getting into the sound six of our