ors rushed on the decks of their vessels and soldiers flied from their tents in midnight darkness amid bursting shells falling fast around them. The gunboats soon returned the fire, and in about fifteen or twenty minutes a rapid fire was opened on us from their land batteries, but without any damage, many of the shots passing over the whole length of the point or peninsula. The red glare of the fire of so many guns and exploding shells on such a night is seldom witnessed. Gradually the firing on our point ceased and the guns were withdrawn under a heavy fire. The rain, the difficulty of seeing the roads at all, and the exposed position of the peninsula induced us to leave the caissons behind with the baggage wagons, and thus the number of rounds to be fired was limited: over a thousand were fired on our part.
What damage we inflicted on their vessels and their camps probably will never be made known; but considering that many of the guns were within from 1,000 yards to a mile of the transports, and that behind them was one vast encampment, it could not have been otherwise than destructive. Subsequent information from deserters and prisoners and friends place the men killed at over 40, and of their horses a greater number. Many transport steamers appeared in Norfolk greatly damaged shortly after he attack.
Our loss from the enemy was 1 man killed and 2 wounded. Three men were wounded by the careless and premature discharge of one of our guns and 2 men sleight injured by the overturning of a gun in the road.
I am indebted to General Pendleton and the officers under him for the careful and successful execution of the parts assigned them. Colonels Manning's and Daniel's brigade, and Major Ross, of the Second Georgia Battalion, at Ruffin's house, protected the whole of the attack. General Ransom's brigade guarded the City Point road 7 miles from Petersburg.
Major A. Anderson, Lieutenant C. D. Myers, Captain J. A. Baker, Lieutenant Shingleur, Captain Overton, and Lieutenant Storrs, members of my staff, rendered valuable services.
Of the command exposed to fire all behaved well except some privates belonging to the siege pieces.
I inclose the report of General Pendleton.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, you obedient servant,
S. G. FRENCH,
General D. H. Hill,
Commanding Department of North Carolina.
SPECIAL ORDERS.] HEADQUARTERS, July 31, 1862.
I. General D. H. Hill having been called to Petersburg, the under signed is placed by the general in command of this expedition.
II. All the artillery is placed under the command of General Pendleton. He will place it in the positions selected as soon after dark as possible, and he will have it done with great silence, cautioning all officers and men not to speak loudly.
III. General Pendleton will, without exciting the suspicions of the enemy by being seen, make a reconnaissance of the grounds again with his officers and then dispose of his artillery accordingly.
In opening fire on the enemy it is desirable that it should commence