June 25th Report of Commander Rowan, U. S. Navy Commanding U. S. S. Pawnee

Potomac River, June 25, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that I left Aquia Creek this morning at half past 2 o’clock and proceeded to Mathias Point, accompanied by the steamboat James Guy, having on board Captain Woodbury, Engineer Corps, and Captain Palmer, Topographical Engineer Corps, U. S. Army, for the purpose of making a reconnaissance of the point and to ascertain whether the enemy was erecting batteries or not. At 5 o’clock a. m., I sent an escort on shore, in two boats, of forty sailors and marines, in charge of Lieutenant Chaplin and Master Blue, and placed them under the command of Captain Woodbury.

As we approached, the enemy appeared in numbers equal to one or more companies. A few shells from the Pawnee soon made them scamper over the hills, and an occasional shell kept them in check while the officers completed their work. Our sailors captured two horses, saddled and bridled, and compelled the riders to seek shelter in flight. One of the men received a slight graze from a revolver ball on the wrist. The horses were brought off to the ship and hoisted into the James Guy and sent to the navy yard, Washington, as prizes.

During the reconnaissance I threw some thirty shells, which kept the enemy in check, notwithstanding their reported force is 600 men, of whom 100 or more are mounted. On the return of the party to the ship I was informed that they saw the enemy’s camp from Grimes’s House on the hill, and having pointed out its direction, I hauled the ship inside the shoal and with 15-second shells dispersed the camp and set fire to something behind the hills. A negro man, who was standing by a boat on the beach that I sent Lieutenant Chaplin to bring off or destroy, came off and gave us information that 200 troops are kept on the beach constantly, and the remainder in camps aforesaid. I regret that the negro was brought off but being on board I don’t know what to do with him. I send him in the Guy to the navy yard to be disposed of as you may direct.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of the Navy.


Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series I, Vol. 4. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1896.