U. S. STEAM-SLOOP WACHUSETT,
Turkey Island, James River, Va., June 6, 1862.
U. S. A.:
SIR: Since taking commanding of naval force in this river I have made three divisions of it; one at Sturgeontown, above Four-mile Creek; another at Turkey Island, opposite Mr. Taylor's farm; and a third at City Point. Have also stationed a vessel near Old Fort (or Powhatan) and will send one to Jamestown, so that you may have the means of communicating your wishes.
I hear that some 3 miles back of Mr. Aiken's residence, 2 miles above Sturgeontown, there is a rebel force of from 3,000 to 5,000 infantry and artillery, under command of General Wise, left bank of river descending.
To-day, in passing, we were fired at from high bluff, timbered, on right bank of river. The farms on either side of bluff owned by the Messrs. Watkins; the younger in rebel army at Richmond. Contrabands say there are 300 soldiers and some artillery in the neighborhood.
I had hoped to have communicated with you through contraband from present anchorage.
The Spanish consul, lady, and others came from Charleston, via Petersburg, to City Point to-day. Nothing new could be got from them, except that two Union officers on parole said they were on an important mission, possibly their own exchange. The party expected to find the transport steamer Massachusetts. She, after waiting three days to hear from General Huger on subject of exchange of pirates and others, had left. I sent the party to Old Point Comfort to be delivered to General Dix.
The barriers or dams near Fort Darling, it is said, will require three months of unmolested labor the remove. The fort at Drewry's or Ward's Bluff is strengthened with railroad iron facings, and two other forts have been built near by.
We are ready to render any service in the good cause in our power.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNumbers P. GILLIS,
Commodore, Commanding Naval Forces James River.
HDQRS. HOOKER'S DIVISION, THIRD ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Fair Oaks Station, Va., June 6, 1862.
Captain CHAUNCEY McKEEVER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Army Corps:
As the enemy's pickets manifested a little disposition to encroach on our lines to-day, a small cavalry force and two companies of infantry were sent out to recover the ground occupied by us heretofore. A little firing ensued, which resulted in a slight wound to one of our men and the killing of one horse. The object was gained.
The enemy appear to be busy in constructing field works in the open field across the swap from us. From their numerous and strong pickets it will be impossible to obtain a knowledge of them without attacking in some force sufficient to drive in their pickets.
I forward herewith a letter received this evening, to which I replied that I would make any answer to-morrow.
I respectfully suggest that it will be detrimental to our interests for