line of skirmishers and drove back our men, thus cutting off the only means of escape for my boats' crew, except through a marsh. I waited an hour or more, hoping the steamer would leave and the boats be saved. It was impossible to move them so long as the steamer held her position, anchored off about 100 yards, with men on watch and the noon shining bright. The tide by this time was rapidly falling, leaving the boats aground. Seeing no chance of saving the boats unless the steamer left, I sent three men to get their arms that they had left in the boat. Becoming alarmed, they waded and swam through the marsh to the field in rear of the enemy's line. With the balance of the party, six men, I left, making our escape by cautiously following the margin of the marsh. Lieutenant Andrews, who was in charge of one of the boats, joined Captain Caldwell with his crew before the fight. The next morning (Sunday) the boats were in tow of a steamer. The expedition consisted of two row-boats and twelve torpedoes complete, all of which fell into the enemy's hands. When I first reached the river I saw two vessels anchored about a mile and a half above Westover. One of the vessels threw up several rockets and showed two red lights, one above the other. This I noticed as each vessel came up the river. I saw no barges or picket-boats, and up to the time the steamer made her appearance everything looked very favorable. I regret the result exceedingly.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. PLINY BRYAN,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Commanding Dept. of North Carolina and Southern Virginia.
HEADQUARTERS, In the Field, near Petersburg, Va., July 19, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded through General R. E. Lee to Brigadier General Gabriel Rains for their information. The unfortunate loss of those boats and torpedoes should not delay one instant new attempts at laying torpedoes at various points in the James River. The magnitude of the result contemplated should warrant the loss of many such boats and torpedoes.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Respectfully forwarded to General Rains.
Doctor Fretwell is acting under no special orders from me. He was directed to report to General Rains.
R. E. LEE,
Numbers 306. Report of Major General Robert F. Hoke, C. S. Army, commanding Hoke's division, of operations June 24.
HEADQUARTERS HOKE'S DIVISION, July 2, 1864.
CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders from headquarters I respectfully report that a plan of an attack upon the enemy was settled upon on June 23 to take place on the following morning, which plan was fully known to the commanding general.