War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0325 Chapter XXX. SIEGE OF SUFFOLK. VA.

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had selected the site for pits for two 32-pounders, and on the night of the 18th they were completed and the guns placed in position. For the protection of these guns in the pits I asked that three companies of infantry be sent, designing to use them, however, to guard also the road where all the camps were, but the lieutenant-general ordered down the Fifty-fifth North Carolina Regiment, Colonel Connally, commanding.

On Sunday, the 19th, the situation of affairs was thus: Bradford's battery was in the new work, with instructions from my chief of artillery, while the work was defended by troops from Hood's division, and by his officers they were posted, relieved, and got their orders. In the Hill's Point Battery were Stribling's battery, with my instructions; the work defended by two companies of infantry, under instructions from the officers placing them there. The 32-pounders were in position and a company of the Fifty-fifth North Carolina near by, while the other companies were a supporting force to either of these last two batteries. All the batteries were to receive further support from General Hood's command if required, and all my officers were so informed, and couriers were left there to communicate such intelligence to General Law, who was on the extreme left, if his aid should be required. The river as low down as the mouth of the West Branch was guarded by the troops of General Hood, and reported, of course, to their commanders. I was ill on Sunday and could not ride down the river, but sent Colonel G. A. Cunningham. There were four gunboats above the work on Hill's Point and three below, and five or six land batteries and sharpshooters on the opposite side of the river.

About 10 a. m. the four gunboats above and the land batteries opened a sharp fire on the Hill's Point work, and two gunboats from below moved up to aid them, when the 32-pounders opened fire on them, and after a spirited engagement one was slightly injured and both were driven back. The fire on the work, however, continued until near 4 p. m., when it ceased. Major Shumaker then communicated with Captain Stribling, and although it was reported that the gunboats had troops on board his noted does not intimate that he apprehended an attack by a force of the enemy landing for that purpose.

About 4 p. m. Colonel Cunningham instructed Colonel Connally to support the batteries, and this was, as he states, about an hour and a half before the guns were lost. In that time he might have been near the work, so far as distance is concerned, but I have my doubts if any regiments could have passed the wide plain and rendered any real support under the fire that was or could have been brought to bear on their approach. The manner of attack appears to have been to have sent one gunboat down as though she was going to pass the work to engage the about 500 men was landed. It appears to me that if the garrison was surprised, they were negligent; if not surprised, they did not offer a sufficient resistance.

I inclose herewith papers marked-

A - Order detailing Colonel Connally's regiment, by direction of the general commanding.

B - Copy of orders given Colonel Connally.

C - Colonel Connally's report.*

D - Major L. M. Shumaker's report.+

E and F - General French's orders to Major Shumaker.

G - Major Shumaker's note to Captain Stribling after the cannonade ceased.


*See Report Numbers 30.

+See Report Numbers 25.