Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/232

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

proper, however, to add something in explanation of the facts presented, and my own impressions derived from various sources from time to time. The work at Day's Point possesses but little value for the defense proper of the James River. It was located with regard to the protection of Burwell's Bay and the country above from foraging excursions of the enemy by water, and as a protection to our own boats in the river. A site somewhat lower down would have been preferable, according to information obtained since the location of the work, but it has thus far fulfilled its object; and as it has been well constructed, with much labor and expense, it is probably best not to disturb it except by the addition of a small outwork to command the approaches in its rear, which, I am told, is being done.

The next position above, defended by the works at Hardy's Bluff and Mulberry Island, possesses great importance from being the right flank of General Magruder's chosen defensive line on the Peninsula, and the lowest point which gives the hope of a successful protection of the river against the wooden fleets of the enemy. Ironclad vessels, of which we have not had sufficient experience to form a correct judgment, can pass these works, as the channel is too wide and deep for obstructions, unless wroughtiron bolts, now being prepared for trial against the Ericsson battery (Monitor) and others of the same class, prove more effective than can be reasonably hoped for; but still the transports necessary for a formidable expedition ought to be kept back by the batteries so long as they are held; and it is thought that they should not be silenced by a few ironclad vessels operating with a small number of guns at long range, especially as the battery at Hardy's Bluff has considerable elevation. Both works are strong against a land attack. The guns at Jamestown Island will probably be removed to the position just referred to, as soon as it is fully prepared for them.

The position at Drewry's Bluff, seven or eight miles below Richmond, which has intimate relations with the defenses proper of the city, was chosen to obstruct the river against such vessels as the Monitor. The work is being rapidly completed. Either Fort Powhatan or Kennon's Marshes, if found to be the proper positions, will be fortified and obstructed as at Drewry's Bluff to prevent the ascent of the river by ironclad vessels. Blocking the