ORN Series 1, Vol. X: Union Telegrams to and from the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, June 1864

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in Naval Volume X

SOPO Editor’s Note: Rather than posting each telegram in the Naval Official Records as its own post, I decided to group all of the telegrams of a given side in a given month together.

[Page 139]1

[Telegram.]

Flagship Agawam,
Farrars Island, June 910 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 10th, 4 p. m. Received 230 a. m., 11th.)

A flag-of-truce tug came this afternoon to deliver a letter from Mr. Ould to Major Mulford.

The army lookout on the hill near us has several times reported seeing the smokestacks of the rebel steamers above Chaffin’s Bluff.

S. P. LEE,
Rear-Admiral. 

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of the Navy.

 

*****

[Page 139]2

[Telegram.]

Navy Department, June 10, 1864. 

Boats can not be spared from Potomac. Steam dredging machine can be had at Norfolk.

Gideon Welles,
Secretary Navy. 

Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee,
Hampton Roads, Care Captain Gansevoort.

*****

[Page 139]3

[Telegram.]

Flagship Agawam,
Farrar’s Island, June 10, 186410 p. m.
(Received Washington 12:15 p. m., June 12.)

No change in naval situation.

Five of the tugs have arrived.

S. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary Nary.

*****

[Page 146]4

[Telegram.]

Flagship Agawam,
Farrar’s Island, June 1310 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 14th, 9 p. m. Received 2:35 a. m. 15th.)

Deserters from rebel ironclads confirm previous information.

Rebel tug from bend above fired a shot or two in this direction this afternoon.

S. P. Lee,
[Acting] Rear-Admiral.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of Navy.

*****

[Page 147]5

[Telegram.]

Flagship Agawam,
Farrar’s Island, June 1410 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 6 p. m., 15th. Received 7:15 a. m., 16th.)

No change in the naval situation. I learn unofficially that General Grant was at General Butler’s headquarters to-day; that “Baldy” Smith’s corps is here, and that the Army of the Potomac is crossing James River at Wilcox’s to-day.

S. P. Lee,
Rear-Admiral.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of Nary.

*****

[Page 149]6

[Telegram.]

Flagship Agawam,
Farrar’s Inland, June 15, 186411 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 10 a. m., 17th. Received 4:15 p. m., 17th.)

Early this morning General Butler signaled me that he would sink his obstructions to-day, ordering Commander Craven to assist the army engineers to sink their obstructions where and as they wished. I went to see General Grant, who informed me that he had several days ago ordered General Butler to do so. Five vessels were, according to the plan of campaign, sunk to day under the direction of the army engineers on Trent’s Reach Bar, which will, to some extent, add to the security of the military situation.

General Meade’s army is crossing on pontoons at Wilcox’s Wharf. The operation will take two or three days. To-night, Smith’s and Hancock’s corps are attacking Petersburg. The enemy appear to be crossing on their pontoons above Drewry’s Bluff to day.

S. P. Lee,
Acting Rear-Admiral.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of the Navy.

*****

[Page 160]7

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern, June 18, 1861—11 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 6 p. m., 19th. Received 8 p. m.)

Canonicus broke a long screw of XV-inch guns by elevated firing required here. Tecumseh is only monitor with short and reliable screws. Shall I not detain her, in the present state of affairs, until short screws are received for the other monitors?

It is doubted if the long screws will stand the increased charges.

S. P. Lee,
Acting Rear-Admiral.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of Navy.

[First endorsement.]

Bureau Ordnance, June 20, 1864.

None of the monitors except the Tecumseh have been fitted with short screws to their guns. This arrangement of short screws requires a special fixture to the carriage, which will require time. Spare long screws can be sent if required.

R. Aulick,
Assistant Chief Bureau.

[Second endorsement.]

Send the above endorsement. The Tecumseh must not be delayed.

F.

*****

[Page 161]8

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern,
Farrar’s Island, June 19, 186411 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 6 p. m., 20th. Received 7: 50 p. m.)

Grant was here to day. Three rebel ironclads and three gunboats appeared abreast of Chaffin’s farm to-day, returned, came down again, and were off Chaffin’s, as reported from army signal station, at sundown.

S. P. Lee.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary Navy.

*****

[Page 162]9

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern,
Farrar’s Island, June 20, 186410: 30 p. m.
(Received 7 p. m., 21st.)

No change in the naval situation. Report from the army lookout that the rebel ironclads are taking on board sand in bags.

S. P. Lee,
Acting Rear-Admiral. 

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of Navy.

*****

[Pages 193-194]10

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern,
Off Trent’s Reach, June 22,1864,—10 p. m.
(Received 12: 30 p. in., 24th.)

The President, with Assistant Secretary Fox, visited us to-day, and left City Point this afternoon for Washington. Enemy threatening army position at Deep Bottom this evening. I hear from Philadelphia that this squadron is likely soon to suffer seriously for want of coal.

S. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary Navy.

[Endorsement]

June 15.

Tons.

Hampton Roads ……………………………………3,448

Navy yard………………………………………………..713

Ten vessels in James River.

 

*****

[Page 194]11

[Telegram.]

Jamestown Island, June 22, 1864.
(Received at Washington 9:10 p. m.)

We shall be in Washington at 4 p. m. tomorrow. Grant is enveloping Petersburg without fighting. A little firing of monitors yesterday of not much account. The river is closed above our monitors.

G. V. Fox,
[Assistant Secretary of the Navy.]

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary Navy.

 

*****

[Page 197]12

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern,
Trent’s Reach, .June 23, 186410 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 4: 40 p. m., 24th. Received 12: 40 a. m., 25th.)

No change in the naval situation. Tecumseh and Eutaw, with Admiral Farragut’s four tugs, Tritonia, Pink, Rose, and Althea, leave to-morrow for Hampton Roads. Eutaw will convoy Tecumseh if Augusta does not arrive in time, or if Department does not send a convoy from the North. Captain Gansevoort ordered to repair and equip tugs and send them to their destinations. Please give him or them additional instructions, if necessary.

S. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of Navy.

 

*****

[Page 198]13

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern,
Trent’s Reach, June 23, 186410 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 4: 30 p. m., 24th. Received 12:25 a. m., 25th.)

It will be necessary to send stone ballast in the bulks to be sunk.

S. P. Lee,
Rear-Admiral.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of the Navy.

 

*****

[Pages 207-208]14

[Telegram.]

James River, Virginia, June 24, 1864.
(Received at Washington, 6:45 p. m., June 25.)

You probably have, and will be good enough to use, the means to correct the injustice which the files of the Department will show has been done me by the editorial attack in the New York Herald of the 23d instant, and which, if not publicly corrected, will be prejudicial to the public interests.

The bar in this reach, which is at the head of monitor navigation until it shall be dredged out, was obstructed according to the military plan of campaign.

The obstructions furnished by the army are of a temporary character and can be readily removed when the progress of the army makes naval cooperation higher up the river necessary. At present, as heretofore, the navy is only needed to protect the communication of the army. You know that for more than a month I took the responsibility of resisting the sinking of these obstructions. It was finally done under an army order.

S. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Hon. G. V. Fox,
Assistant Secretary Navy.

 

*****

[Page 209]15

[Telegram.]

Trent’s Reach, June 26, 186410 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 5:30 p. m., 27th. Received 6:45 p. m.)

The enemy is strengthening his works at Howlett’s. Our army is mounting some heavy guns to bear on Howlett’s.

S. P. Lee,
Acting Rear-Admiral.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of Navy.

 

*****

[Page 210]16

[Telegram.]

Navy Department, June 26, 1864.

Land your IX-inch guns and return immediately to James River after the Tecumseh reaches her destination.

Gideon Welles,
Secretary. 

Lieutenant-Commander Homer C. Blake,
Commanding U. S. S. Eutaw, Norfolk, Va.

 

*****

[Page 211]17

[Telegram.]

Navy Department, June 27, 1864.

After seeing the Tecumseh safe to her destination, return and report to Acting Rear-Admiral Lee for duty.

Gideon Welles,
Secretary of the Navy.

Commander Thomas G. Corbin,
Commanding U. S. S. Augusta, Hampton Roads, Virginia.

 

*****

[Page 215]18

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern,
James River, June 28, 186411 p. m.
(Received at Washington, 11 p. m., June 30.)

Howlett’s Battery fired twice at a tug which went to the obstructions this afternoon. Monitors replied. No casualties. Instructed Captain Gansevoort tonight that Augusta must convoy Tecumseh, as preferred by Assistant Secretary. If her repairs, which I suppose are slight, can be made in time, unless otherwise ordered by Department.

S. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary Navy.

 

*****

[Page 215]19

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern,
Trent’s Reach, June 29, 1864—11 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 5 p. m., 30th. Received 11 p. m.)

This morning the rebels opened a four gun battery, situated 2,000 yards up Four Mile Creek, at Deep Bottom, and commanding the river in open view between the army intrenchments there. An army tug was crippled. Saugus and Hunchback fired without silencing the battery. Two double-enders will attack it to-morrow. A deserter reports that the enemy are mounting many heavy guns at Howlett’s.

S. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary Navy.

 

*****

[Page 219]20

[Telegram.]

Flagship Malvern,
James River, June 30, 186411 p. m.
(Via Fort Monroe, 5 p.m. Received 9:55 a. m., July 2.)

The enemy removed his battery from Deep Bottom last night, thus avoiding the heavy gunboat fire which opened on his position early this morning. This evening he opened a battery lower down, which the Hunchback drove away. Am enquiring about the canal boats. Deserters report that the rebels are strengthening Howlett’s Battery.

S. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary Navy.

Sources:

  1. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 139
  2. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 139
  3. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 139
  4. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 146
  5. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 147
  6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 149
  7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 160
  8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 161
  9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 162
  10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, pp. 193194
  11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 194
  12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 197
  13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 198
  14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, pp. 207208
  15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 209
  16. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 210
  17. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 211
  18. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 215
  19. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 215
  20. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 219

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