Early in the afternoon the enemy opened with shell from a battery concealed in the woods opposite our left. We responded immediately with shell from our Parrotts, and it is believed with effect, for their firing soon ceased and was not recommenced during the day. The firing from the Parrott guns of the left section, which was much the nearest to the supposed position of the enemy's battery, was at an elevation of 7 1/2, with 6-second fuses. The enemy threw seven shells in all. Most of them passed over or near our left and burst among the shipping in the river, a piece of one striking the smoke-stack of a steamer. Two exploded within 40 yards of our left section. Later in the afternoon several shells were thrown from our Parrott guns at long ranges in a direction indicated by Brigadier-General Slocum.
About 5 o'clock p.m. a company of cavalry was seen to pass across the open space near the White House on the farther side of the creek or bend in the river on our left. By order of Brigadier-General Dana, who was present with the left section, Lieutenant Sleeper commenced firing immediately with his Parrott gun at an estimated distance of 2,300 yards; elevation, 5 3/4 and 6; 7-second and 8-second fuses burst short. A 10-second fuse with 6 elevation exposed precisely as desired. Of the effect or success of the long-range firing nothing is known except by reports that cannot be relied upon. The woods, which so effectually screened the enemy, prevented us from seeing where our shells fell or exploded. Owing to the noise of the musketry in the woods and the artillery on our right the bursting of the shells could not always be heard.
The amount of ammunition expended during the day is as follows: 34 rounds 10-pounder Parrott shells; 3 rounds 10-pounder Parrott case-shot.
It should be remarked that 6 out of 34 rounds of shell, with 7, 8, and 10 second fuses, exploded within 20 yards of the pieces from which they were fired. It was thought that this might be attributed to the fuses setting too loosely in the wooden fuse plugs of the shells. Accordingly we fired and successfully threw case-shot, which have metallic fuse plugs. The fuses can be made to fit more tightly in the metallic plugs than the wooden ones.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain Battery A, Massachusetts Artillery.
Captain RICHARD ARNOLD, Commanding Artillery Brigadier, Franklin's Div.
Numbers 5. Report of Captain William Hexamer,
Battery A, New Jersey Light Artillery.
WEST POINT LANDING, May 9, 1862.
SIR: In compliance with an order from headquarters of the chief of artillery of the Army of the Potomac, dated April 22, 1862, I submit to you the following report concerning the action at West Point Landing on the 7th instant:
At 9.30 o'clock a.m. I received an order from General Newton to place one section. of my battery a short distance opposite the woods near the landing, which order was complied with, the left section (howitzers) performing the duty. Soon afterward I was ordered to