War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0095 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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I am sure of the result. They are working hard on the Gloucester side, and the Navy cannot reach them.




York River, April 13, 1862.

Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN:

MY DEAR GENERAL: Your proposal to throw shells into the enemy's works at Gloucester last night was about to be attempted at 11 p.m. (although I could not believe that it would injure the works he has been erecting), when the movement of the vessels was immediately signaled by their pickets, and I was unwilling to carry three vessels of this light description under such a destructive fire as the enemy was prepared to concentrate from fifty cannon upon them.

The wind was directly upon their works, which would have driven the vessels upon Yorktown had any accident occurred to their machinery.

The works of the enemy are entirely too formidable, both in structure and cannon, to warrant at attack by three such light vessels as these; extent simultaneously with your assault.

The enemy's pickets are stationed all along the whole extent of Gloucester and are sleepless.

Yours, very respectfully,




Near Newport News, April 13, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I have just seen in the Herald a telegraphic dispatch from General J. E. Wool to yourself, at the latter paragraph of which I was much surprised. It is this:

Three vessels were captured opposite Brigadier-General Casey's division with small guns of 3-inch caliber and some 200 feet from shore.

This is a false statement. My camp is between 5 and 6 miles from the place of capture and about 2 miles from the beach.

I never knew that the Merrimac was out until I was informed by General Wool by telegraph.

From a telegraph which I received from General Wool, through General Mansfield, I was led to suppose that General Wool labored under a mistake with regard to the place of my encampment. I addressed him the inclosed communication, marked A*, and received in reply, marked B*. I have also inclosed a communication from Colonel Bailey, my chief of artillery, marked C.

There may have been particular reasons for those whose business it was to act in not preventing the capture; but it is not surprising that those who were responsible should wish to shift upon the shoulders of others somewhat of the odium that attaches to it.

I trust that justice will be done me in this matter, and that the truth will have as wide a circulation as the falsehood.


*See p.89.