War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0020 Chapter XXXVII. N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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FEBRUARY 21, 1863.-Attack on U. S. gunboats Freeborn and Dragon, at Were's Point, Va.

Report of Brigadier General W. H. F. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry Brigade.*


February 23, 1863.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that on Friday, 20th, two gunboats, one side-wheel and the other propeller, came up as far as Tappahannock.

I went immediately down to Ware's Point with two pieces (Napoleon and Blakely) Stuart Horse Artillery, Lieutenant [C. E.] Ford commanding; took a position in the old fortifications.

They came down on Saturday about 2 p. m. Lieutenant Fort, his men and guns being concealed, took them completely by surprise. For fifteen or twenty minutes he poured a deadly fire, damaging both boats, as well as could be ascertained, considerably.

They showed very little disposition to fight, but ran by as quickly as they could, firing as they passed, but doing no damage. Our range was three-quarters of a mile.

Colonel [J. L.] Davis, Tenth Virginia Cavalry, has been ordered to relieve Colonel Williams. C. Wickham, and will start to-morrow.

Very respectfully,

W. H. F. LEE,



Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-I inclose a letter received from one of my scouts on the Potomac.+



February 26, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded for the information of the commanding general.

The promptness, energy, and consummate skill on the part of Brigadier

General W. H. F. Lee, the coolness, daring, and intrepidity of young Fort and the section of this battery, deserve the highest commendation. Those two guns (the Napoleon and Blakely) of the Horse Artillery are already historic. The enterprise speaks well for the vigilance and efficiency of the brigade.++


Major-General, Commanding Cavalry.


* For report of Commodore Andrew A Harwood, U. S. Navy, see Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, dated December 7, 1863.

+ Not Found.

++ See General Orders, Numbers 29, Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, February 28, 1863, in "Correspondence, etc.," Part II.