perhaps an hour. Did not do any injury, that I can learn as yet, except one man hit in the leg. Firing very wild.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Berkeley, August 1, 1862.
GENERAL: About 12.30 last night the enemy quietly placed two or three batteries of field guns on Coggins Point and at the Ruffin house, and opened a very warn fire upon our vessels, depot, and camps near the river. The gunboats happened to be some 3 miles up the river, prepared to meet the Merrimac Numbers 2 and her consort, which had been reported to be on their way down from Richmond. One boat only, I think, was near at hand.
For about half an hour the fire was very hot, the shells falling every where from these headquarters to Westover; but as the gunboats and some of our own heavy guns were brought into action the enemy ceased firing and withdrew his guns. no damage of the slightest consequence was done to any of the vessels or deports, so far as I saw. We lost 10 men killed and 12 wounded. Some half a dozen horses were killed and one wagon smashed. To-day all has been quiet.
I sent a party across the river this afternoon to the Ruffin house, with orders to fell the timber which partially obstructed the view of the open ground beyond, to burn the Ruffin house, with all its outbuildings, they having been used as covers and posts of observation by the enemy's pickets. This was successfully executed without meeting any opposition, the enemy's pickets rearing as our party advanced. It will be necessary to cut away a little more timber there in the morning. I shall also send a party to Coggins Point to-morrow evening to cut some timber there and to cover a reconnaissance of that position with a view to its occupation.
To occupy that point in sufficient force Burnside's troops, at least a respectable portion of them, should be placed at my disposal.
Your telegrams in regard to the reported evacuation of Richmond are received. I know nothing to confirm that supposition. To press the enemy, as you suggest, we must first gain possession of Malvern Hill, which I will take steps to do to-morrow. i had prepared yesterday to effect that object to-night, but some unforeseen obstacles made it necessary to defer it. The enemy is in some little force at Malvern, and it may give rise to something more than a mere affair of pickets. At all events i wish to try to catch a portion of his force there, if not the whole.
I will begin to-morrow to remove, with the means of transportation now at my disposal, some of the worst cases of sickness-such as the typhoid cases, &c.
I would suggest that, if possible, hospitals of sufficient capacity may be set aside for the sole use of this army.
I am glad to be able to inform you that the health of the troops is constantly improving. i hope to have by Sunday a very correct return of the army, condition of the sick, &c.
The supplies in the way of actions and forage are all that can be de