army. Will the Department please send with dispatch by special messenger to Commander Lynch the torpedoes now ready? Can the Department speedily supply six or eight steam-barges?
S. P. LEE,
CONFIDENTIAL.] FLAG-SHIP N. ATLANTIC BLOCK. SQUAD.,
James River, May 30, 1864.
Major General B. F. BUTLER,
Commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina:
GENERAL: I have information from a deserter from the rebel vessel-of-war Hampton that the enemy have now below Drewry's Bluff three iron-clads, six small gun-boats, plated with boiler-iron, each mounting two guns of 6-inch and 4-inch bore, all fitted with torpedoes, and nine fire-ships filled with combustible material, with which they propose to attack the fleet in James River at as early a moment as practicable by sending down the fire-ships first, closely followed by their iron-clads and other vessels. The deserter says that the vessels have been ready since Monday a week ago, that the crews of the vessels were supplied by men from Lee's army. Information received previously from deserters intimated that the rebel land forces were intended to co-operate with the attack of the rebel naval vessels. If an attack of the nature of the above is made upon the fleet it would at the time of attack require all the forces at my disposal to meet it. I would respectfully suggest the probability of a simultaneous movement against you.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours,
S. P. LEE,
Acting Rear-Admiral, N. Atlantic Block. Squad.
In the Field, May 30, 1864 - 5.20 p. m.
Your dispatch relating to fire-ships and enemy's naval force received. In view of the torpedo-boats and fire-ships, had you not better anchor your obstructions, at least, if not sink them, in your front, leaving a channel for pursuit? They are awaiting your orders. Can Graham aid you? General Grant is now across the Pamunkey at Hanovertown, 15 miles from Richmond. As for the land attack, let them come on.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
PRIVATE.] HEADQUARTERS TENTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 30, 1864.
Washington, D. C.:
DEAR GENERAL: I take the liberty to suggest to you, in this hasty and unofficial manner, that troops can now be spared from the Department of the South, unless offensive operations are to be resumed