Monday, November 23, 2009

The Siege of Yorktown

The rebels have for several days been building large fortifications on the Gloucester side of the York River, about two miles from Yorktown, and within sight of our gunboats, but their guns were of too long a range to allow the approach of our gunboats to shell the works. About one thousand men were at work on the fortifications and the mortars are not of sufficient ranged to check the fortifications. Yesterday morning, however, the gunboat Sebago arrived, having a 100-pound rifled Parrott gun, and at once opened upon them with shell, which were so well aimed that they could be seen falling in their midst and exploding with fatal effect. The rebels could be distinctly seen carrying off their killed and wounded and in the course two hours the work was entirely suspended, the men retiring out of range. At every attempt to renew the work they were driven back up to night.

The guns mounted by the enemy on the Yorktown side of the river, number not less than fifty – one hundred pounder, some of them rifled, bearing directly on the bar. Our gunboats are at present about two miles below town.

There is said to be skirmishing along the whole like before Yorktown, and the Berdan sharpshooters are spreading terror among the gunners of the enemy by their unerring aims. The enemy have made several sorties with infantry to dislodge or capture our rifleman, but have been driven back with heavy loss.

As to the arrangement for the final siege we need only say the work goes bravely on.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Saturday Morning, April 19, 1862, p. 1

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