War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0266 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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Washington, D. C., March 29, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following information relative to the forces and defenses at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Bethel, &c., as extracted from various reports previously addressed to you from these headquarters:

That from the statement made by James H. Maurice, deserter from the Second Florida Regiment, reported on to you on February 1, I am enabled to select the following concerning defenses on the Yorktown Peninsula, to wit:


Fort Grafton is 4 miles southeast by south from Yorktown and one-quarters of a mile back of an inlet from York River; contains four 32-pounders; that in the northeast corner being rifled and protecting a powder magazine. Artillery fort, adapted for field pieces, three-quarters of a mile southeast from Fort Grafton, 4 3/4 miles southeast from Yorktown, on an old road leading from this fort to Back Creek. Breastwork for cannon on the north side of Poquosin Creek, by an old mill. Yorktown is surrounded by a breastwork, on which 32-pounders are mounted, the number of which was not known by informant. That the magazine is in Cornwallis Cave, at the foot of the bluff on which the town is built. That in immediate proximity to this magazine is a fort containing six guns, not rifled; is covered with sods for concealment,and cannot be seen until close at hand. Fort half a mile south-southwest from Yorktown, mounting three 32-pounders, one rifled; fort three-quarters of a mile south-southwest from Yorktown, mounting two 32-pounders. Rifle pit from the bridge on Back Creek northwest to the shore and along the shore westerly; that it is concealed, the earth dug from it being thrown into the water. Fort a Gloucester, opposite Yorktown, contains two 10-inch columbiads, one rifled cannon of European manufacture, and two or three 32-pounders-in all five or six guns. Informant was told, and understood from general report, that Williamsburg was well fortified, but cannot speak on that point from personal observation.

That from the statement made by William H. Ringgold, who left Gloucester November 6, 1861, reported on to you on December 2, 1861, I am enabled to present the following concerning the defenses on the Yorktown Peninsula, to wit:

That a Gloucester Point proper, York River, is a battery of nine 32-pounder columbiads, pointing up, down, and across the river; that on the bluff encircling Gloucester Point is a continuous embankment about 1 1/2 miles in length from the river above to the river below; that this embankment was used as a sentinel-walk, and that on the inside thereof was a single gun, commanding the country road coming from the north. That on Bryant's plantation, 2 1/2 miles below Gloucester Point, are two masked batteries, commanding the river, each containing one gun, one battery being situated on each end of the plantation. That around Yorktown on the land side is a continuous embankment, about 3 miles in length, and mounted with heavy columbiads, commanding all approaches to the town; that within the embankment or breastwork are