War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0946 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., eXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. [CAHP. LXIII.

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also my ansewer to that reply. I have sent a staff officer to Drewry's Bluff with all the transportation necessary to bring up the troops as soon as they arrive there, but hfear they cannot reach here before to- morrow evening.

Veryr esepctfully, your obedient servant,





Richmond, May 19, 1864.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: Without sepcial reference to my correspondece on the subject, you are aware of the earnest desire I have evnced tohave a passage made through the James River obstreuctions, to permit our iron- clads as ocmpleted to go below them, a measure deemed by me important to the defenses of Richmond. My last letter to your Deaprtment calling attnetion to this subject was of the 2ds January, 1864, in whichI referred tothe iron- clads Richmond and Redericksburg. On the 3rd of March last I received the following letter from Colonel Stevens, dated Febraury 29, 1864:

I have the honor to state that a copy of your letter to the Secretary of War, of date January 2, 1864, has been sent to me by GeenrL Bragg. I shall commence at once to open the pobstructions upon the receipt of information when the gun- boats will be ready to move. I respectfully inwuire if I can have a caisson built at the navy- yard.

The Richmond was tahen ready for actin, and the FGredericksburg was completed, and required only her guns to be put onboard, andin my reply of the 10th of March to Colonel Steverns I named isx weeks, the time within whihc the Virginia would also be ready. UP to this hour I am not advised that a practicable passgae for the iron- clads has been completed, and they are still above the obstructions. On the 6th instant the enemy's war vessels in ascending the river approched our lowest submarine battery statrion at Deep Bottom, and we blew up and totally destroyed the gun- boat Commodore Jones. This checked his advnce, and he began methodically sunding and fdragging the river, using for this purpose row barges, followed at a distance by wooden gun- boats, and protected by infantry pickets on the river- banks, advancing at the rate of only half a mile per day ont e ground guarded by our submaring batteries; and in this manner he ahs succeeded in gradually pushing back Lieutenant Davidson and his torpedo party to Cahffin's Bluff, captured the sumbaring batteries up to that point, and opened fire upon it from a wooden gun- boat. It is needless to say that this unformtunate result, paralyzing the usefulness of our vessels, and rendering the labors of our sumbarine battery party aborgtive, is due to the failure to open the obstructions. Had a practicable passage even forthe Fredericksburg, the lighteriron- clad, been made in tieme, she could have arrested the operations of the enemyu's boats and checked his advance. He would have been compelled to explore the river in his iron- clads, against whichour torpedoes were designed to act. Without a knowldge of the cu\auses which have prevented a removal of the obsrtucitons for the passage of the iron- clad sin time for ht service indicated, and for such other seirvice s they might have r endered, I must limit myself to bringing the subject by this brief