were formed, indicating in the clearest manner a strengthened base from which the approaches were to be made and upon which the enemy could retire if forced back in their attack.
These works were made with great skill and of great strength. The parapet for infantry defense could have resisted the heaviest rifle caliber, being not less than 12 feet thick. Apart from lines of earthworks for offensive operations there were also temporary structures in process of erection, covered sheds to protect supplies, and every evidence of preparations for the reduction of the fortifications of Suffolk.
While thankful for the movement of the Army of the Potomac, which gave the disappointed rebel commanders an opportunity of withdrawing from your front, as every humane soldier should be at being spared the sacrifices of an unnecessary conflict, regret will mingle with triumph that he who came strong in the conviction of an easy victory did not try your metal, but, satisfied with a glance, turned from the offensive to the defensive and finally stole away in the night, under pressure of a strong reconnaissance of your forces, which drove him from his rifle-pits to his first line of defenses.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. GORDON,
Brigadier-General of U. S. Volunteers.
Major General JOHN J. PECK,
Commanding, North Carolina.
Numbers 24. Reports of Major General Samuel G. French, C. S. Army, commanding the Department of Southern Virginia.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF SOUTHERN VIRGINIA,
Near Suffolk, Va., April 22, 1863.
SIR: I respectfully submit to the lieutenant-general commanding the following report respecting the loss of the guns of Stribling's battery:
On the morning of the 15th instant I started from my camp on the South Quay road, at the request of Lieutenant-General Longstreet, to endeavor to destroy the gunboats of the enemy in the Nansemond River. Stribling's, Bradford's, and [J. C.] Coit's batteries were taken down. Only one gunboat could be seen, and she was lying behind the point of land below the mouth of the Western Branch of the Nansemond. The batteries were put in position in the hope she would move up, but a storm coming on and the near approach of night induced me to withdraw the guns. The engineer informed me that he and other officers had selected two sites for batteries-the one near the left of General Hood's line of battle, in which there was in a work constructed a battery of field artillery and an infantry force for protection; the other was the work built for the defense of the river when we held Suffolk, and that in it was an infantry force, but no artillery. I directed Major L. M. Shumaker, my chief of artillery, on the night of the 16th to take from some houses on a farm near by materials to construct platforms, and before morning to put the guns of Stribling's battery in the work. This he accomplished.
The next morning three gunboats attempted to pass up. One succeeded, but was severely damaged, when the other two turned back. I