[Engagement of Federal fleet with Confederate ironclads and shore batteries at Howlett’s, June 21, 1864.]
Flagship Virginia, June 21, 1864—7 p. m.
At 12:15 today the Virginia and Fredericksburg took up position, the former below Cox’s Landing and the latter at the ferry, with the gunboats Hampton, Nansemond, Roanoke, Beaufort, and Drewry, and opened fire on the enemy’s wooden vessels in the lower part of Trent’s Reach and Varina Reach.
The Richmond parted her wheel rope, which fouled her propeller, and she remains disabled. She goes up near the obstructions to-night to have it cleared. I was about proceeding lower down the river, near Howlett’s, when the piston was discovered to be out of order. The cylinder was removed and a chisel found in the cylinder. The engine is now in working order again. This vessel, the Fredericksburg, and the gunboats have directed their fire to-day against the enemy’s wooden vessels in Trent’s Reach and Varina Reach.
Jno. [Jonathan] K. Mitchell,
Commanding James River Squadron.
Hon. S[TEPHEN]. R. MALLORY,
Secretary of the Navy.1
This map shows the June 21, 1864 Action at Howlett’s Bluff, covered in this telegram sent by Flag Officer Mitchell.