War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0335 Chapter LII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-UNION.

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FLAG-SHIP NORTH ATLANTIC BLOCKADING SQUADRON,

James River, June 23, 1864. (Received 24th).

Lieutenant-General GRANT, U. S. Army,

Commanding Forces in the Field:

GENERAL: In the engagement day before yesterday with the rebel battery at Howlett's, in which their iron-clads, out of view in a reach above, participated, we silenced one of the guns at Howlett's, but expended a good deal of our heavy and expensive ammunition. One of the monitors was injured by a 10-inch solid shot from the battery at Howlett's. The 15-inch gun has a short life, so far as it has been proved, and it is difficult to replace it in the turret of a monitor. We have to fire it at extreme elevation to reach Howlett's battery, which increase the strain on the gun and breaks its long screws. As it was arranged yesterday between Assistant Secretary Fox and yourself to increase the obstructions already placed by the army in Trent's Reach, so that two iron-clads would be sufficient here for the present, leaving the Navy Department to withdraw the other two, one of which is now under orders for sea, for more pressing service elsewhere, I respectfully suggest that the cheapest and most convenient control of rebel battery at Howlett's, of Trent's Reach and its obstructions, and of Dutch Gap, would be by mounting a few heavy guns at the lower end of the reach. This would allow the iron-clads to drop round the point, withdrawing a few hundred yards, where they could keep their hatches off in hot weather; whence they could, in a few minutes, return and engage the rebel iron-clads, should they appear in the upper part of the reach or interfere with the obstructions. Our naval resources would thus be reserved for their iron-clads and not exhausted on their earth-works.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours,

S. P. LEE,

Actg. Rear-Admiral, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,

June 23, 1864-5.30 p.m.

General WILLIAMS:

Direct General Patrick to send Colonel Collis, with all the available infantry, down the Jerusalem road to picket it. Following this is a dispatch* from General Wright to the effect than report has reached him indirectly from the cavalry that the enemy is advancing up the Jerusalem plank road. Tell him to send out all the cavalry he has; also promptly to find out what truth there may be in the report.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS,

June 23, 1864-5.40 p.m.

General WILLIAMS:

Never mind sending out the infantry guards at headquarters.

A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

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*See Wright to Meade, 4.20 p.m., p. 353.

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