Camp Whitaker, April 30, l864.
Maj. Gen. WILLIAM F. SMITH,
Commanding, & c.:
GENERAL: From various sources I get the following information, which is not much, but so far as it goes I think it can be relied on:
First. The enemy have undoubtedly a considerable force at White Oak Swamp, which is in supporting distance of the fords, extending from Forge Bridge to the railroad bridge. Refugees and negroes estimate this Central force at about 15,000 men, with some artillery. I have seen "passes" signed by three different colonels about the same date, dated at "Camp at White Oak Swamp, Va." Of course the number is exaggerated.
Second. The Fifty-third Virginia Infantry is near Bromleys, guarding a fishery, which is worked by detailed men from Richmond for the Government. I hear of no artillery there, but they have a cavalry picket pushed down to Barhamsville.
Third. The Fifty-seventh Virginia Infantry, with Holcombes Legion (cavalry) and the Richmond battalion, is at the Bottoms Bridge, where they are repairing their earth-works, and have certainly nine, some positively assert twenty, pieces of artillery.
Fourth. There is some infantry at the railroad bridge, and a siege gun mounted on a platform car running on the railroad.
Fifth. There are various conflicting stories of several brigades being between Bottoms Bridge and Richmond, but they probably relate to the large camp at White Oak Swamp.
Sixth. A small party with surveyors' instruments was examining Forge Bridge four days since, which must have been with a view to constructing defensive works, since they could not wish to bridge the stream at a point which is nearly constantly fordable. Nothing of this indicate an offensive design in this direction. Still, as one days march might bring all these troops to this point, it must be deemed threatened a little until relieved by movements elsewhere.
Although of no great importance, I communicate the above to you as all the positive information I have been able to collect.
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, YORKTOWN AND GLOUCESTER POINT,
May 1, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded for the information of the major-general commanding department.
I do not know where Bromley's* is, but should think damage might [be] inflicted by destroying fisheries there.
WM. F. SMITH,
HDQRS. U. S. TROOPS, YORKTOWN AND GLOUCESTER POINT,
Yorktown, Va., April 30, 1864.
GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs that you cause one brigade to be ready to move at once, provided with two days rations, to effect a landing at West Point, Va. They should carry such intrenching tools as may be necessary to construct rifle-pits if needed, and such other tools as will be wanted to rebuild the wharves there. Lumber sufficient to rebuild the wharves will be sent up soon. Captain Babcock, of the Navy, will send two gun-boats to convoy the fleet and cover the landing, and keep whatever gun-boats he can spare afterward to protect the flanks of the forces while in position. It is desired that the commanding officer of the brigade send out scouting parties for the purpose of obtaining information of the movements of the enemy, which will be sent to these headquarters if important. Due notice will be sent, you when the transports leave Fort Monroe, so that the brigade may be in readiness to go on board.
Should the transportation be sufficient, a battery without caissons will accompany the command.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. F. SMITH,
- The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1- Volume 33
|"Bromley's" on the Pamunkey|
*George T. Brumley's estate The Castle, 600 acres on the Pamunkey between the estates of Braxton Garlick and William Macon.