U.S.S. HARRIET LANE
Hampton Roads, June 4, 1861.
SIR: I have honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 3d instant, with its enclosures. In reply I have to say that I am confident that no steamboat or tug has passed down James River since I have been placed at Newport News to assist in its protection. There is a tug [that] comes down Norfolk every night as far as the batteries at Sewell’s and returns in the morning, always under cover of the guns of the above-named place. Craney Island Flats prevent my getting said steamer within range of the guns of this vessel. I would respectfully state that I have again made a careful reconnaissance of the shore opposite Newport News, and have to report that there is a sand battery on the south side of Nansemond River at Pig Point, prepared to seven guns, but it is not yet finished, and I am inclined to think that no guns are yet mounted, although appears to be about fifty men employed in completing the work. There is also a battery on the south side of Chuckatuck Creek preparing for four guns. To the eastward of Nansemond River, at the mouth of Hog Creek, there is a field battery of three guns. From that point to Craney Island, a distance of about 3 1/2 miles, I see nothing indicating guns or batteries. I have examined James River as high as Day’s Point (10 or 12 miles above its mouth) and no signs of fortifications can be seen. have tried during the morning to draw the fire of the batteries by approaching as near to them as possible, say from one-half to three quarters of a mile, but was unsuccessful, which convinces me that they are not ready to commence an attack.
The above is respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,
Commanding U.S.S. Harriet Lane.
G. J. PENDERGRAST,
Flag-Officer, Commanding West India Squadron,
off Fortress Monroe, Va.
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series I, Vol. 5. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1897.