June 5th Report of Commander Pegram, Virginia Navy, Commanding Pig Point battery (2nd)

PIG POINT BATTERY, June 5, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the Federal steamer Harriet Lane stood within range of this battery at 9 a.m. to-day, and, taking a position at the distance of 1 1/2 miles, commenced firing upon us with shot and shell from 11-inch shell gun and 32-pounders. She fired about thirty-three shot and shell, many of them well directed, but no one of our party was hurt, nor did the fortifications sustain any injury. A 32-pounder shot struck the muzzle of one of our 8-inch shell guns and cracked it from the face to the chase ring. The gun at the same time was run in for loading, and although the shot was broken into three fragments in the midst of our men, no one sustained the slightest injury. A number of shells exploded near and around us, all fell harmless to the ground. In return, we fired twenty-three shot and shell. Four or five were seen to take effect in the hull of the steamer, and am inclined to believe did her some injury, from the manner in which she moved.

For men who had never before been in action, the Portsmouth Rifles were remarkably cool and self possessed, and after a few rounds got the range of the enemy and fired admirably well. Every officer and man behaved in the most spirited and creditable manner, and were so regardless of danger that had often to interpose my authority to prevent their exposing themselves unnecessarily to the enemy’s fire. The action lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Commander, Virginia Navy.

Virginia Navy, Commanding Naval Station, Norfolk, Va.


Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series I, Vol. 5. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1897.