Friday, January 6, 2012

From Fort Monroe

BALTIMORE, April 11.

The Old Point boat has arrived.  The following are the main points of a letter dated Fort Monroe, April 10th:

The storm is over at last.  Nothing has been seen or heard of the Merrimac to-day, and in view of the reverses of the rebels, it is doubtful whether they will attempt offensive operations, even with their iron-plated monster.  Their desperate strait may induce attempts at something in this way.  If she ever does come, she will probably come to-morrow.

Parties who came in from the army report no special change in affairs.  Continual skirmishing is going on.  A brilliant affair occurred on Monday, in which Griffin’s battery participated with marked effect, killing and wounding 27 rebels.

The rebel position extends across the peninsula from Yorktown to Warwick near the James river, a short distance above Mulberry Point.  The conformation of the land and the taking in of a creek from the James river, shortens their line of defense and enables them to command with their fortifications all the roads up the peninsula.

Generals Lee and Johnston are both reported to be with the rebels, one commanding at Yorktown and the other at Warwick.  Magruder, holding subordinate command, is with the reserve at Williamsburg.

According to deserters, the rebel force numbers fifty thousand, of whom thirty thousand are reinforcements recently drawn from the line of the Rappahannock and about Norfolk.

Despite the weather and bad roads our generals are pushing forward preparations for the assault upon the enemy’s works, and not many days will elapse before Yorktown will be ours and Richmond threatened.  The glorious news from the West is acting as an excellent stimulant for our army, and greatly encourages the troops.

Birdan’s [sic] sharpshooters gave good accounts of themselves.  They hold an advanced position under the rebel batteries, from which they constantly harass the enemy.  A head above the parapet becomes an instant mark for half a dozen rifles, which at one thousand yards distance, rarely fail to hit their mark.  One sharpshooter belonging to the California regiment has almost wholly prevented the rebels from using a large gun, and hardy an attempt has been made for two days to fire it, without the rebels losing one or two men from his deadly aim.

It is stated one of our divisions has secured an important position, the holding of which will lead to the eventual forcing of the rebel line of defence.

Much important preliminary work has been performed by our troops, and with the return of good weather, active operations will not be postponed many days.  The task before McClellan in reducing fortified entrenchments is one for which he is held specially qualified.  The result is not doubted.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Saturday Morning, April 12, 1862, p. 1

No comments: