Report of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, transmitting reports of cooperative engagements in Pamunkey River, June 20-21, 1864.
Flagship North Atlantic Blockading Squadron,
James River, June 29, .
Sir: On the 29th of May, Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, U. S. S. Morse, by General Smith’s request, proceeded to White House with the Morse, Shokokon, and Cohasset to cover the landing of supplies and protect the army communications. I subsequently sent the Cactus and Henry Brinker to his support. These vessels remained at White House until its evacuation on the 23d instant, rendering most efficient service, and then returned to Yorktown, convoying the transports.
I enclose a report from Lieutenant-Commander Babcock of 25th instant, of an engagement on the 20th instant, with three rebel batteries near White House, which had been posted on the edge of the wood during a thick fog, and on its lifting opened fire on the wagon trains. The fire from the Morse and Cactus dislodged them in about three hours. Deserters afterwards reported that a force estimated at 10,000 of Wade Hampton’s and Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry intended attacking our trains, but were deterred from the attempt by the fire of the gunboats. On the 21st a party of rebel cavalry fired on the transport Eliza Hancox, but were driven off by the Shokokon’s fire.
Lieutenant-Commander Babcock encloses the following reports, etc.:
(A) June 20th, Acting Master Graham, commanding Cactus, reports engagement of 20th.
(B) Copy of General Abercrombie’s General Orders, No. 10, of 20th, instant, tendering his thanks to Lieutenant-Commander Babcock and the officers of the Navy for the efficient aid and support rendered in the engagement of the 20th.
(C) June 21st, Acting Master Sheldon, commanding Shokokon, reporting engagement of 21st.
(D) June 24th, Acting Master Sheldon, general report of his movements since arriving at White House.
I should not fail to call attention to the hearty, efficient, and successful service which Lieutenant-Commander Babcock has rendered to the army in opening and protecting its communications and in repelling the assaults of the enemy. He is a modest and meritorious officer and deserves the especial notice of the Department.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, yours,
S. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of the Navy.1