June 1st Report of M. W. Cluskey

AQUIA CREEK, June 1, 1861.

MY DEAR SIR: I had the pleasure of witnessing at this point to-day most of the engagement between one of our batteries and three Lincoln men-of-war, one of them supposed to be the Pawnee, the other the Anacostia, and the other unknown. Our forces acted manfully and suffered no injury, though some of the enemy’s shot was well directed, and where it seemed providentially averted from doing mischief. The fight was a continuation of the one the day before. Our battery fired the first shot to-day, then all of its garrison mounted the fort and cheered in defiance of the enemy. The shot was promptly returned, and the enemy kept up a brisk cannonading, firing before the close, five hundred and ninety-two shots, comprised of shell and balls of the largest dimensions. The only damage to our side was the death of a chicken, though a stray ball killed a horse on the opposite side of the creek. Our own battery fired but seventy-six shots, three of which are said to have been fired with effect. The firing ceased at 3 1/2 p. m., when a barge from the Pawnee went to the Maryland shore, and returning, the Anacostia proceeded up the river, supposed to be bound for Washington, for a fresh supply of ammunition.

One of the guns on our battery was under the command of one of the Walker Legion, Cadet Patton Robertson, of Nashville, who fired the rifled cannon with remarkable precision, and displayed, for a young man not yet age, the most dauntless and cool bravery. The big gun on the new battery, which is garrisoned by the Carolina Greys, of our regiment, under command of Captain Hunt, was placed in position about 5 o’clock this afternoon, and will thunder in the anticipated engagement of to-morrow. another one for the same battery will be planted to-morrow. These guns are in the most splendid locality to command the river that could well be wished for.

To-morrow Captain Walker’s command of rifled cannon will be at a prominent point of land at the month of the creek on the opposite side, which will bring him within a mile and a quarter for the location of the Lincoln vessels in the engagement of to-day. Pits will also be dug to-night at the same place for the use of two of the rifle companies of the Walker Legion. We are all the creek, though our encampment is four miles back.

The vindictiveness of the enemy is shown by the quickness with which they throw their shells at any body of men who may appear on the height to view the engagement. One of our companies was fired at with a shell the moment they emerged from the woods to obtain a more satisfactory view of the fight, which exploded over them, and miraculously scattered so as not to hurt one of the number.

Colonel Bate has been assigned the command of the brigade here, composed of his own regiment and the Virginia troops present, and is working with a zeal consistent with the energy and enthusiasm of his nature. I have written these lines thinking you would be gold to learn that the regiment which has appropriated your name as its designation is confided with the most important posts of duty in the engagement at this point and vicinity.

Your friend,

M. W. CLUSKEY.

Hon. Secretary L. P. WALKER.


Sources

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.