“The rebels still have five gun-boats above us”

Several rebel warships have made an attempt to get past the barricade we have set up on the James River and attack our headquarters at City Point.  It was repulsed eventually, but the withdrawal of some of our ships let them approach more closely than desired.  I wrote to Sec. Stanton,

CITY POINT, VA., January 24, 1865-4.30 p. m.


Secretary of War:

I respectfully request that the Secretary of the Navy remover Captain Parker, U. S. Navy, from command of the James River Flotilla to-night by telegraph. With three days’ notice of his danger, and a large fleet at his command, when I sent a staff officer to him this morning before daylight, on hearing that the rebel rams were coming down the river and that two of them had passed the obstructions, he had but one gun-boat, that a wooden one, and a torpedo-boat above the pontoon bridge at Aiken’ Landing.

On my arrival here yesterday from Washington, I requested him to get to the front every boat he had in the river within reach. This he should have done two days, before without notice. The rebels have suffered severely in to-day’s operations, but with a, no doubt, gallant sent of commanders for the vessels, they have been allowed to contribute but little to this result. One rebel gun-boat was blown up by a shell from Battery Parsons, one other sunk, and a third disabled; the fourth, the Virginia, was hit a great many times, but I do not know that she was injured. It is the judgment of officers who were present that had the Monitor been in her place, on learning that the Virginia and Fredericksburg were aground, both vessels would have been destroyed before they could have been got off. As it is, only the weaker vessel of the two was disabled. The rebels still have five gun-boats above us.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 303

O.R., I, xlvi, part 2, p 218-9