Numbers 311. Report of Colonel Thomas H. Carter, C. S. Artillery, of artillery operations July 13-16.1
HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY DIVISION, Poindexter’s House, July 16, 1864.
GENERAL: I send, as you request, a report of the operations of my artillery near Wilcox’s Wharf and at Malvern Hill and Tilghman’s farm.
On the 13th instant I proceeded to Walker’s farm with Major Cutshaw’s battalion of artillery, composed of five Napoleons, three 3-inch guns, four Parrotts, and one Whitworth gun. General Gary the same day sent one cavalry regiment, with exception of a squadron left at Crenshaw’s, to Rowland’s Mill and one cavalry regiment to the vicinity of Charles City Court-House.
The scouts on the river reported that no transports with troops on board had passed since 11th instant and the river unusually quiet. No vessels of any description passed down from 2.30 p. m. 13th instant till dark, and only five passed up in same time.
The artillery was posted at 4 p. m. and opened at 5.30 p. m. on two vessels-one apparently a passenger steamer and the other a freight steamer. The latter was struck repeatedly and injured to some extent. The former is believed to have been struck, but I am not sure, as it turned back to Fort Powhatan before reaching the part of the channel nearest the guns. The Whitworth gun kept up a steady fire on this boat as far as it could be seen, and probably did some damage.
As it was improbable that other boats would pass after the firing, the artillery was ordered to Phillips’ farm, some six miles back, and it encamped there for the night.
Next day the Whitworth gun was posted on Malvern Hill and drove off the picket gun-boat opposite Turkey Island House. To-day it drove under cover of the woods three gun-boats which had combined on it. The position is so sheltered that no injury has resulted to the men or horses during the two days’ firing.
The 20-pounder Parrott battery opened from Tilghman’s Gate to-day on the pontoon bridge, the gun-boat, and camp of the enemy at Deep
Bottom. The gun-boat was struck three times before it retired under the bank of the river. It then gave up the contest and allowed the battery an hour after to limber up and withdraw without molestation. The camp was put in great commotion by the shelling. One brigade marched out of the woods near Four-Mile Creek at a double-quick and took shelter in the trenches. The pontoon bridge was fired at several times, but the mark is too small to waste ammunition on. It is rarely used during the day, and there is now but little travel on the river in the daytime.
On my next expedition down the river I propose to take a single battery, with cannoneers mounted on horses.
I think my sharpshooters can render good service on the bank of the river where it is narrow, and I should be much obliged to you to endeavor to obtain a hundred Enfield rifles, caliber .57 or .58. The carbines issued to them a few days since are short-range and not reliable in accuracy. I will be glad to use Major Stark’s battalion if necessary. I think the 10-inch mortar may do well, and hope it may be sent down.
Very respectfully, yours,
T. H. CARTER,
General R. S. EWELL,
Commanding Department of Richmond.
- The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), pages 806-807 ↩