War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0417 Chapter XXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

blocked up, if it becomes necessary. The sloop-of-war Germantown is now ready in all reports to be taken below, and the Confederate States will be readiness in a day or two. The line-of-battle ships Delaware and Columbus are completely sunk alongside the wharf, their bottoms resting upon the mud. I have contracted with the Messrs. Baker, who possess all the appliances needed for raising sunken wrecks, such as steam-pumps, large floats, &c., and they commence operations on the Delaware to-day. The condition of these vessels is such as to render it impossible to conjecture when either will be raised. I shall employ every means within my control in aid of the contractors, so as to have these vessels available for the object contemplated at the earliest possible moment. If these ships could be effectually closed up; their great size would enable us readily to accomplish it. The point determined on by General Huger and myself is what is known as the Narrows, just this side Sewell's Point; the distance thence to Norfolk is too great to be reached or compassed by the enemy's shells.

There is some difficulty to be apprehended in blocking up the channel, however. The vessels cannot be sunk until the Virginia leaves, and to have them at the point in readiness to scuttle on the approach of the enemy would involve some risk of losing them. They might be reached by boat expeditions some dark night and destroyed. I repeat, however, that I shall use my best exertions to have everything in readiness, and exercise my best judgment, aided by General Huger's large experience, in carrying out your directions.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. S. LEE,

Commandant.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, April 3, 1862.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: I have received your telegram, and have conferred with Captain Lee, commanding navy-yard, as to obstructing the channel. He will get all hulks ready as soon as possible. I propose to barricade the narrow channel near Craney Island, and am having examinations of it made. I fear it will take some time to get up the large hulks.

Up to this time no demonstration has been made by the enemy from which we might divine their point of attack. From their large numbers and the great activity at Old Point and Newport News we must conclude they intend to advance on one side of the river or the other. I cannot decide which is most likely.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. HUGER,

Major-General.

ENGINEER BUREU,

Richmond, April 3, 1862.

General R. E. LEE,

C. S. A., Headquarters, Richmond:

GENERAL: There are now ready for the defense of James River one 8-inch and one 10-inch columbiad, with barbette carriages. These

27 R R-VOL XI, PT III