OFF YORKTOWN, May 20, 1864-12:30.
Colonel Biggs, quartermaster at Fort Monroe, informs me that General Sheridan's command is at White House without supplies. He requests me to convoy transportation as near to them as possible. I have informed him I will go as far as West Point, but no farther without orders from you, as I am quite sure the Pamunkey River is filled with torpedoes. We leave this p.m. with Mystic in company, leaving a boats crew to do guard duty at this place while absent. Will return with the transports as soon as General Sheridan receives his supplies.
CHAS. A. BABCOCK,
Report of Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, U.S. Navy, regarding expedition to White House, Pamunkey River, convoying transports for the army.
Off Yorktown, Va., May 24, 1864.
SIR: I respectfully report that. having telegraphed to you on the 20th instant at the request of Colonel Biggs, quartermaster at Fortress Monroe I was about to proceed up the river to West Point with this vessel and Mystic for the purpose of convoying transports with supplies for Major-General Sheridan's command, who were encamped at White House Landing, and who were greatly in need of them. At 7:30 p. in. the same evening got underway with this vessel, three transports, a schooner, and Mystic bringing up the rear, and proceeded up the river. Arrived at West Point at 10:30 p.m.; found the wharf entirely destroyed by fire since the recent expedition to that place. One of the transports having on board a cavalry guard of 30 men, ordered her close in to the beach and sent boats crews from this vessel to assist in landing the cavalry; succeeded in doing so without any accident, swimming the horses on shore with a line attached to them. The cavalry guard immediately proceeded up the peninsula for the purpose of communicating with Major General Sheridan, informing him that 11 had arrived at West Point with two gunboats and four transports with forage and subsistence for his command. At 1 p.m. on the 21st instant the cavalry guard returned to West Point with a colonel from Major-General Sheridan, urgently requesting me to proceed as far up the river as possible, as his command were suffering for want of forage and subsistence, and not being able to cross the bridge at White House Landing without previously repairing it.
I immediately determined to proceed to White House, if possible; got underway with the transports and Mystic and proceeded up the Pamunkey River. Found no impediments or obstructions in the river. When up to Cumberland Bar, it being very low water, and the Mystic, on account of her draft, not being able to cross the bar, left her there and proceeded on with the transports, giving Acting Master Wright orders to follow when possible. When abreast of Indian Town had a great deal of trouble in passing up the river on account of the very low tide. At 9:30 p.m. succeeded in reaching the White House safely with the transports. I immediately communicated with Major-General Sheridan, informing him of my arrival. On Sunday, the 22d instant, two transports arrived from Fortress Monroe with pontoons for the army, but by this time General Sheridan's command had succeeded in repairing the bridge and did not need them. On the evening of the 22d instant Acting Master Wright came up the river in his boat and reported to me that in trying to come up the river he had run hard aground on Indian Town Bar. Immediately sent the steamer & are to her assistance, giving orders to Acting Master Wright that when afloat he should remain there in deep water until further orders from me. On Sunday evening received on board this vessel for delivery to military authorities at Yorktown. by request of Major-General Sheridan, 7 prisoners of war (2 officers and 5 privates) and 2 deserters from General Butlers army, all captured the day previous by General Sheridan's command.
At 11 a.m. on the morning of the 23d instant, the army being on the move and transports being all discharged, gave them orders to get underway and proceed to Yorktown. When within sight of the Mystic, ordered her to get underway and take the lead, bringing up the rear with this vessel.
All arrived safely at Yorktown at 10:30 p.m. last night, and delivered the prisoners to the military authorities on shore.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHARLES A. BABCOCK,
Lieutenant-Commander and Senior Officer Present.
Rear-Admiral S. P. LEE,
Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Hampton Roads.