HEADQUARTERS, CAMP RUGGLES, VA.,
June 27, 1861. – 9.30 p.m.
SIR: I have the honor to state for the information of the general commanding, that in conformity to his orders, received last evening at 7 o’clock I ordered Major Mayo, with his battalion, composed as indicated, to proceed without delay to Brooke’s Station, for which ample preparation has been made, to commence the movement to-morrow morning.
I have also the honor to state that, at an early hour this morning, a steamer supposed to be the Freeborn, and two tugs, having in tow a large open boat or raft, with several small boats, suitable for landing men, took position nearly in front of this camp, and was represented to have effected that purpose. The employment of the principal part of the command for some hours was thus rendered necessary to ascertain the fact, with a view of repelling the enemy, which fortunately proved groundless. At about 1 p.m. our pickets reported that the enemy, whose steamers had returned to the immediate vicinity of Mathias Point, had already effected a landing of a strong detachment of men at the point, from which the pickets were mainly driven by the ranking fire of shell and shot from the enemy’s steamers. The condition of things rendered vigorous measures on our part indispensable and which has resulted, I am happy to inform you in complete success. The enemy, who had landed, as before reported with a detachment of at least fifty men, was driven, after a short conflict, on board of his steamers in a state of undoubted discomfiture, and immediately withdrew from our shores. Night having closed in about the time this success was obtained, full particulars as to any loss of the enemy have not yet been obtained. I shall embrace an early moment to forward detailed reports of subordinate commanders.
I deem it of the utmost importance for your information that we discovered immediately after the enemy was driven off,s the foundation of a regular sand-bag batter, in the erection of which considerable progress had been made during the brief period the enemy had occupied the position, which would have completely commanded Mathias Point, where it has been in contemplation that a permanent battery may be established, commanding, the Potomac River chancel. In addition to the sand bags, we captured a considerable number of axes and spades, a very large coil of heavy rope (evidently to draw heavy guns on shore), left by the enemy in his precipitate flight. I have been thus particular in stating the arduous service in which this entire command has been engaged to-day, and from which we have this moment returned, at 9.30 p.m. to apprise you as to how completely paralyzed we are for the want of a battery of heavy guns to command the channel and one field battery of effective rifled guns to enable us to drive the enemy’s steamers from almost every portion of the extended range of coast constantly threatened by them. During the entire period of our operations this afternoon one or more of the enemy’s steamers his thrown shot and shell in rapid succession, sweeping almost the whole space in which the successive positions of our troops were taken, and at times greatly endangering them. Under the circumstances, I am constrained to request that you will send me Captain Walker’s light battery of rifled guns, or, in the event that it cannot be spared, Captain Braxton’s field battery, for a brief period of service, which I consider of vital importance to the interests of the State. I am also constrained to delay the movement of Major Mayo’s command, owing to the very critical condition of affairs in this district, rendering it necessary to employ strong pickets to-night, and to commence the erection of breastworks at Mathias Point and near Grimes’ house without a moment’s delay, and for which purpose detachments are now moving to the ground, until I may be enabled to receive further orders of the general in the case. I have reason to apprehend that the enemy may return, strongly re-enforced, before morning.
I have the gratification of being able to bear testimony as to the excellent tone which has been exhibited by this command to-day and the zeal with which officers and men have participated in the stirring scenes through which we have passed.
In conclusion, I feel constrained to express the opinion, in which all the field officers concur, that without this command, cannot hold this important position, and prevent the enemy from effecting a substantial lodgment, and strike an irretrievable blow against the interest and material defenses of the State.
I have to request that this communication may be forwarded to the War Department of the Confederate Government as my report of the events of the day.
I am happy to state that no casualties have occurred to our forces.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Provisional Army.
Lieutenant H. H. WALKER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Hdqrs. Dept. of Fredericksburg, Brooke’s Station, Va.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. II. With additions and corrections. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.