The report of General French is herewith submitted. This officer had charge of the expedition, agreeably to the wishes of General Lee.
Doubtless the night attack had much to do with the evacuation of Westover, as it made McClellan feel that his shipping was insecure. Two days after he took possession of Coggins Point, and maintained a force on the south side till he left the river.
His gunboats were attacked at the mouth of the Appomattox, and points were selected for the further harassing of his shipping.
An expedition was sent out, under Colonel J. R. Chambliss, to within 2 miles of Suffolk.
Arrangements were made for the defense of the Blackwater, Chowan, and Tar Rivers, and a point selected for fortifications on the Roanoke to secure Weldon.*
* * * * *
D. H. Hill,
General R. H. CHILTON,
Numbers 4. Reports of Brigadier General S. G. French,
C. S. Army, with orders.
PETERSBURG, VA., August 1, 1862.
We attacked the shipping and camps of the enemy at Shirley last night at 1 a. m. with about forty guns very successfully. It was a complete surprise.
S. G. FRENCH,
General S. COOPER.
Petersburg, Va., August 21, 1862.
GENERAL: Numerous causes have prevented my sending you a report ere this of an attack on the shipping and camp of General McClellan by the expedition under my command on the night of July 31 last.
On the morning of July 29 you directed me to have the brigades commanded by Colonels Manning and Daniel ready to move the following night, but when I had an interview that evening at 10 p. m. you directed me to have them move at 7 o'clock the next morning, together with wi batteries of field artillery. All started at the hour named, and, according to instructions, halted at a saw-mill some 7 miles distant, on the road to Coggins Point. I left Petersburg at 10 a. m., and on arriving at the mill found you, in company with General W. N. Pendleton, of the artillery, whom had marched there under your orders, in command of thirty-two field guns and four siege pieces.
*Remainder of report relates to events in Northern Virginia, &c., subsequent to August 13, 1862, and will be found in Series I, Vol. XII.