June 24th Report of Commander Ward, U. S. Navy, Commanding Potomac Flotilla

FLOTILLA STEAMER FREEBORN,
Potomac River, Cedar Point, June 24, 1861.

SIR: I sent yesterday informally to Captain Dahlgren asking the aid of 200 troops with materials, for the purpose of denuding Mathias Point of the jungle and thicket of young growth which now conceal from view soldiery and their works. They have fired several volleys of rifle bullets into the Freeborn, as I understand also into other vessels. The distance they fire is about 500 or 600 yards. It is the alarm more than the material damage produced by this firing which is injurious and ought to be abated. Hence the enterprise I propose. It is possible I could effect it without troops; nevertheless it is best to be sure and have them convenient.

Vessels in the river, bound up, report to me that they have been advised at Cape Henry to await convoy in Hampton Roads for Washington. This is decidedly unnecessary and wrong. Will the Department please apply the correction‘! No convoy is necessary except that three or four vessels together will afford one another, and for this purpose they should assemble at Blakistone Island light-house, where there is a man-of-war schooner for protection.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. H. WARD,
Commanding Blockade.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


Sources

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