ARTILLERY HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
June 1, 1865.
This report, received after the active operations of the recent campaign commenced, is respectfully forwarded to be placed amongst the other reports of the action of the 25th of March, when the enemy attacked and for a short space held Fort Stedman. The reports of the siege batteries were not made to Major-General parke, commanding the lines at that point.
HENRY J. HUNT,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
Numbers 11. Report of Captain Henry H. Pierce, First Connecticut Heavy Artillery, commanding Fort Brady, of operations January 23-25.
FORT BRADY, VA.,
January 26, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to report that, pursuant to written instructions from headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, dated January 21, 1865, every available officer and man in command was put hard at work to get my fort, them much damaged by recent rains, in readiness to receive the rebel rams. All hands worked with a will, and, as far as possible, everything was in good and seasonable order. Previous to their coming had verbal notification from the same course as the written.
About 8 p. m. January 23 my lookout man, stationed on the parapet, discovered the rams approaching, floating, not steaming, down the river. Thanks to the vigilance of my own officers and men and those of Captain Bach, commanding colored supports, I was not taken by surprise, as no alarm was given by our pickets on the opposite shore nearly a mile above, and the first shot fired at the enemy's boats was from my own heavy guns. Gave them in the neighborhood of twenty-five shots while floating a distance of thirty or forty rods; should have given them more had my best gun, left 100-pounder, not been dismounted at the second shot by one of the enemy's shell and my two left 30-pounders been run off the platforms, owing to their (platforms) being too narrow to admit of any but direct fire. Put the latter pieces in position again and fired them; also moved my right 30-pounder, previously so placed as not to bear on the river, by hand, outside the fort into the ditch, but, owing to the extreme difficulty of moving it in the mud, was unable to get it there in season to use before the boats had passed; this gun, however, did good service on their return.
In consequence of the mal-construction of Fort Brady, was unable to fire down the river; and by reason of the embrasures having been built special reference to the enemy's land batteries, my left 100-pounder being destroyed, was prevented from injuring the boats after passing a certain point, and that point above my work.
The rams came down by twos, lashed together, which was the cause of my mistaking, in the obscurity of the night, the actual number for three, as I reported by orderly to department headquarters.