Numbers 289. Report of Captain Amaya L. Fitch, Thirteenth New York Heavy Artillery, commanding U. S. Steamer Parke of operations July 16-17.
HDQRS. NAVAL BRIGADE, DEPT. OF VA. AND N. C.
Point of Rocks, Va., July 17, 1864
Colonel J. W. SHAFFER,
Chief of Staff.
COLONEL; In forwarding the report of Captain Fitch I desire to express my approbation of the courage, zeal, and prudence exhibited by him on this occasion, as well as many others, and to call the attention of the major-general commanding to the neatness and efficiency of the steamer Parke and the thorough discipline which prevails on board of her. I likewise avail myself of this opportunity to renew the suggestion made to the major-general commanding several days since that no sailing vessel should be permitted to come up the river,but that all vessels should be obliged to take tugs in the Government employ, and be under the constant supervision of military officers from the time of leaving Fort Monroe to their arrival at City Point.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
CHARLES K. GRAHAM,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINIA,
July 17, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded to Lieutenant-General Grant, commanding. The report of Brigadier-General Graham approved. The plaudits of Captain Fitch's courage, conduct, and efficiency are concurred in by the major-general commanding the department. This expedition is but another evidence of the efficiency of the armed transports now in the service. The attention of the lieutenant-general is specially called to the suggestion that no sailing vessel be permitted to come up or go down the river without a tow; certainly not to come up, because of the ease with which smuggling can be carried on in this length of river, and the fact that aid and comfort may be furnished to the enemy, as undoubtedly was the case by the schooner with the torpedoes. Sutler's schooners and others have been in the habit of coming up without these tows, and I have had numerous complaints of trading with the enemy by them; therefore I beg leave again to suggest that the chief quartermaster should give the directions required.
BENJ. F. BUTLER.
U. S. STEAMER (GUN-BOAT) PARKE.
GENERAL: In accordance with instructions received the 16th instant, I got under way and steamed down James River; went alongside the wharf at Herring Creek and taking Lieutenant Hart and Lieutenant Nelson with twelve men, went ashore to the late residence of Andrew Ellett, now in Richmond. Here we received information from a negro on the estate that the enemy had a force of cavalry and infantry about two miles and a half inland at a place called Rowland's Mills, and on