ORN Series 1, Vol. X: Report of Commander Thomas R. Rootes, CSS Fredericksburg, June 21-22

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in Naval Volume X

[Engagement of Federal fleet with Confederate ironclads and shore batteries at Howlett’s, June 21, 1864.]

Report of Commander [Thomas R.] Rootes, C. S. Navy, commanding C. S. S. Fredericksburg.

Ironclad Fredericksburg,
James River Squadron, June 22, 1864.

NH 59187 FredericksburgCLOSEUP

The CSS Fredericksburg fired from three of her guns during the June 21, 1864 Action at Howlett’s Bluff, from near the upper Howlett House.

Sir: On the 21st, at 11 a m., got underway, in company with the squadron, and stood down the river. At 12:30 came to a short distance below Howlett’s upper house, with the port anchor, in 5 fathoms water, head downstream, kedge astern; line to the shore from the starboard quarter; swung ship as required. At 1:03 p. m. the battery at Howlett’s lower house having commenced firing on the enemy’s squadron at anchor in Trent’s Reach, opened the battery from the starboard side of this ship, one 7-inch rifle, one 6.4 rifle, and one X-inch smoothbore. Sent one of the signal men on the shore at Howlett’s to see and inform me how the shot struck; also Acting Master Minor and Midshipman Goode were sent on the same duty. Sent Midshipman Goode to lower Howlett’s to see and inform me how our shot and those of the other vessels of the squadron struck. He informed me that a greater number fell short. During the evening I fired from the two rifle guns.

At 1 a. m., the 22d, got underway from Howlett’s upper quarter, a short distance below the house, and stood up the river. At 1:30 a. m. came to a short distance below the graveyard in 4 fathoms of water. Steamers Nansemond and Roanoke came up and took their stations.

The following ammunition was expended:

X-inch gun:

15-pound charges……………………………………………….4

20-pound charges……………………………………………..14

……………………………………………………………………………………— 18

10-second shell…………………………………………………..8

5-second shell…………………………………………………….1

15-second shell ………………………………………………….2

Shot……………………………………………………………………7

……………………………………………………………………………………— 18

7-inch rifle:

12-pound charges……………………………………………..17

11-pound charges……………………………………………….3

10-pound charges……………………………………………….6

6.4 12-pound charges………………………………………….8

……………………………………………………………………………………— 34

Cast-iron bolts…………………………………………………..16

Percussion shell…………………………………………………14

Shrapnel………………………………………………………………4

……………………………………………………………………………………— 34

6.4-inch rifle:

12-pound charges (used for 7-inch rifle).…………….8

10-pound charges……………………………………………….8

8-pound charges……………………………………………….21

……………………………………………………………………………………— 37

12-pound charges (used for 7-inch gun)……………..8

……………………………………………………………………………………— 29

Percussion shell…………………………………………………12

Cast-iron bolts…………………………………………………..17

……………………………………………………………………………………— 29

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Tho[ma]s. E. Rootes.

Flag-Officer Jno. [Jonathan] K. Mitchell, Provisional Navy C. S.,
Commanding James River Squadron.1

Map of the June 21, 1864 Action at Howlett's Bluff

This map shows the June 21, 1864 Action at Howlett’s Bluff, covered in this report by Commander Thomas R. Rootes.

 

Source/Notes:

  1. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, pp. 188189

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