Life in Richmond 1861-65
News Reports

Daily Dispatch: May 16, 1862 Repulse at Drury's Bluff

The Daily Dispatch: May 16, 1862.
Richmond Dispatch.
Friday morning...May 18, 1862.
The War News.
advance of the enemy's Fleet and their Repulse at Drury's Bluff.

The first intelligence we received from the river yesterday was that two Federal gunboats, supposed to be the Monitor and Galana, opened upon our batteries at Drury's Bluff, about 2 o'clock, at a distance of 400 or 500 years. It was announced that the enemy's fire was rapid and exceedingly violent, and that our batteries at the point designated repaired with coolness and deliberation. This announcement of the opening of the ball upon the fortifications designed for the defence of the capital of the Southern Confederacy, and the ancient seat of Government of the proud old Commonwealth, created, as might naturally have been expected, the respect anxiety and most earnest solicitude.

Around the bulletins of the various offices were gathered groups of anxious readers, all eager to learn the result of an engagement upon which seemed to impend the fate of the idol city of the South. In these groups were to be found the representatives of every State in the Confederacy, and with one common voice they gave expression to the desire to see the city shelled and destroyed, if needs to rather than ignominiously surrendered to a haughty and imperious for. As the morning were on the public excitement increased, until at noon it had apparently reached its culminating point; but there was little of panic or apprehension perceptible in the levered anxiety. On the contrary, there was on all hands a manifest and resolute determination to suffer destruction — aye, annihilation, rather than dishonor.

Early in the afternoon, the following later bulletin was posted, which sensibly relieved one public mind of its anxiety and excitement:

Drury's Bluff, 1 o'clock P. M.

We have just fired the Galana, and the other gunboats have retired down the river.

Our loss is four killed and eight wounded.

Our troops are in high spirits, and confident of success.

The Galena was on fire when she retired, followed by the Monitor.

Later in the day still, the Navy Department received the following official communication:

Drury's Bluff, 11 A. M, May 15, 1862. Sir:

--We have engaged the enemy's five gunboats for two and a half hours. We fired the Galena, (Iron-clad.) She has withdrawn, going down the river, accompanied by the three wooden vessels.

Our loss in killed and wounded small.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. Farrand.

Hon. S. R. Mallory,Secretary of the Navy.

This was all that was received until near nightfall, when we learned from a gentlemen who left the batteries late in the afternoon, that the Galana and Monitor remained about four miles below the batteries until 4 o'clock, when they hoisted anchor, and with the three other vessels, moved off down the river. In the engagement yesterday we had six men killed, and seven slightly wounded.

The dreams of Richmond are earnestly appealed to, to prepare cooked provisions to be sent to the men at the fort, as they have no time to prepare food for themselves. We presume the Mayor can give information as to the manner in which such supplies can be sort to them.

Richmond shall be defended.

We are glad this authorized flat has gone forth-authorized by the Confederate Government and the Legislature of the noble State of Virginia Richmond is the Capitol of the Southern Confederacy, Richmond is the metropolis of the State of Virginia. To loss Richmond is to loss Virginia, and to loss Virginia is to loss the key to the Southern Confederacy. --Virginians, Marylanders, ye who have rallied to her defence, would it not be better to fall in her streets than to basely abandon them and view from the surrounding hills the humiliation of the capital of the Southern Confederacy? To die in her streets would be bliss to this, and to fall where tyrants strode, would be to consecrate the spot anew, and wash it of every stain.

To defend Richmond there are men enough; the energy and will alone is wanted; the arms are within the grasp of every one; the plans should be known to the President and Cabinet. They are known; let them act.--Will they act? There is no time to be lost.--The enemy are at the gates. Who will take the lead and act, act, act?

The loss of Richmond in Europe would sound like the loss of Paris or London, and the moral effect will scarcely be less. Let us, therefore, avert the great disaster by a relieves on ourselves. It is better that Richmond should fall as the capital of the Confederacy, than that Richmond exist the depot of the hireling hoards of the North. But Richmond can be defended, and saved from pollution. The fats of the Capital of the Confederacy rests with the people.

The Virginia Legislature and the President — the defence of Richmond and Virginia.

Richmond is now the point which is centred the hopes and apprehensions of the people of the whole South. Everything proposed for her security is looked to with interest and regarded with satisfaction. As pertaining to this subject, we publish the following resolutions, which have been officially communicated for publication by the other of the House of Delegates:

Resolution as to the defence of the city of Richmond.--[adopted May 14, 1862.

Resolved, by the General Assembly of Virginia, That the General Assembly hereby express its desire that the capital of the State be defended to the last extremity, if such defence is in accordance with the views of the President of the Confederate States; and that the President be assured that whatever destruction and loss of property of the State or individuals shall thereby result, will be cheerfully submitted to.

Resolved, That a committee of two on the part of the Senate, and three on the part of the House, be appointed to communicate the adoption of the foregoing resolution to the President.

A copy from the rolls.

Tests: W. L. F. Gordon, Jr.,

C. H. D. and K. of R.

By Jno. T. Cowan, Deputy.

The joint committee, appointed by the two Houses to communicate to the President of the Confederate States the joint resolutions of the General assembly in relation to the defence of the city, have discharged the duty confided to them, and respectfully report that their interview with the President was in the highest degree satisfactory, and his views, as communicated with entire frankness to the committee, were well calculated to imphs them with confidence and to reassure the public mind.

After reading the resolutions, he desired us to say to the General Assembly that he had received the communication of those resolutions with feelings of lively gratification, and destructed us to assure the Houses that it would be the effort of his life to defend the sol of Virginia and to cover her Capital.

Be further stated that he had never entertained the thought of withdrawing the army from Virginia, and abandoning the State; Stiff, in the course of events, the Capital should fall, the necessity of which he did not see of anticipate, that would be no reason for withdrawing the army from Virginia. The war could still be successfully maintained on Virginia soil for twenty years.

All which is respectfully submitted.

John Robinson,

Chairman Senate Committee.

Wood Bouldin,

Chairman House Committee.

A copy — Tests: Wm. F. Gordon, Jr.,

Clerk House of Delegates.

By John T. Cowan, Deputy.

General Floyd Promoted by the Legislature.

We learn that the General Assembly have appointed General John B. Floyd, Major-General of the Virginia forces, with authority to raise a force of twenty thousand men, non-conscripts, for the defence of Western Virginia. The act is important, and it is to is hoped will stir up the spirit of the West, in defence of the mines and railroads, which are now so important to the South to sustenance and defence.

City defence meeting.

At 5 o'clock last evening, in response to the annexed Proclamation of the Governor of Virginia, a large meeting of the citizens of Richmond and others convened at the City Hair, to organize a force to co-operate with such force as has been, or may hereafter be, detailed to perfect our river defences:

By the Governor of Virginia — a Proclamation.

The General Assembly of this Commonwealth having resolved that "the Capital of the State shall be defended to the last extremity, if such defence is in accordance with the views of the President of the Confederate States, and having declared that whatever destruction and loss of property of the State or individuals shall thereby result will be cheerfully submitted to;" and this action being warmly approved and seconded by the Executive: Therefore, I do hereby request all officers who are out of service, from any cause, and all others who may be willing to unite in defending the Capital of this State, to assemble this evening at the City Hall, at five o'clock, and proceed forth with to organize a force to co-operate with the Tredegar Battalion, and any other force which may be detailed for the purpose indicated. The organization, upon being reported to the Executive, will be recognized and properly officered, as prescribes by law, and be subject to the orders of the Governor for local defence, under regulations to be hereafter prescribed.

Prompt and efficient action is absolutely necessary. We have a gallant army in the field, upon whom we fully and confidently rely; but no effort should be spared which can contribute to the noble object. The Capital of Virginia must not be a surrendered. Virginians must rally to the rescuer.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth, at Richmond, this 15th day of May, 1862. and in the eighty-sixth year of the Commonwealth.

John Letcher.

By the Governor:

Geo. W. Munford,

Secretary of the Commonwealth.

The meeting was organized by the appointment of Captain J. B. Danforth as Chairman, and Wm. P. Munford as Secretary.

At the request of the master, the Rev. Dr. Woodbridge offered a fervent prayer. Col. Thos as H. Ellis then read the proclamation of the Governor, and submitted a series of resolutions, which were slightly modified and adopted:

[The resolutions adopted by the meeting, some ten or twelve in number, were promised us by the Secretary of the meeting, but we failed to receive them from that source, and our efforts to obtain them from the other newspapers, who were more fortunate, if not more favored, were quite as unsuccessful.]

Mr. Joseph Mayo, the Mayor of city, the stated that the City Council had adopted resolutions requesting the Governor to place the Tredegar Battalion at his disposal for the defence of the city. He endorsed in the most enthusiastic manner the proposed action of the meeting, and said that if the city of Richmond was ever surrendered to our enemies it should not be by a descendant of its founder. He would sooner die than surrender our city, and if they wished a Mayor who would surrender the city they must elect another in his place.

Gov. Latcher was then called on, and heartily approved the objects of the meeting. He said that the city should never be surrendered by the President, by the Mayor, or by himself.

The following committee was appointed by the Chairman:

Col. St. George Hogers, of Florida; Lieut. Col. Wm. Munford, Col. B. M. Nimmo, Peyton Johnston, Wm. G. Palne, Lieut. O. C. Lamotte, of South Carolina.

The committee was requested to meet at the City Hall, at 9 o'clock to-morrow morning, for the purpose of receiving the names of all persons who were disposed to unite under the organization recommended by the proclamation of the Governor.

The meeting then adjourned.

The fate of Richmond.

The next few days may decide the fate of Richmond. It is either to remain the Capital of the Confederacy, or to be turned over to the Federal Government as a Yankee conquest. The Capital is either to be secured or lost — it may be feared not temporarily — and with it Virginia. Then, if there is blood to be shed, let it be shed here; no soil of the Confederacy could drink it up more acceptably, and none would hold it more gratefully. Wife, family, and friends are nothing. Leave them all for one glorious hour to be devoted to the Republic. Life, death, and wounds are nothing, if we only be saved from the fate of a captured Capital and a humiliated Confederacy. Let the Government act; let the people act. There is time yet.

If fate come to its worst, let the ruins of Richmond be its most lasting monument.

Negro invaders.

The people of the South have been unwilling, from the first, to admit the startling fact that the Yankee Government ever contemplated the invasion of her borders by the armed colored population of the slave States, in the prosecution of her plans of subjugation. This fact, humiliating as it may be to humanity, and shocking to civilization, has at last been demonstrated by the organization, in Washington, D. C. of two regiments, and in Charlestown, Va., of one or more companies, who are drilled dully after sundown, and instructed in the manual of shooting down their owners. This is the secret of the running off of the male slaves of the Valley. It is a pity that Virginia's eyes have been closed so, long to the real designs of the Lincoln Government. They are now opened. Blindness is no longer an excuse for suicide.

Meeting of refugees from Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Agreeably to call, a large number of the refugees from Maryland and the District of Columbia assembled at the room of the Maryland Society yesterday morning, at 11 o'clock, to take some appropriate action in regard to the defence of Richmond. Over one hundred persons were present.

Walter Lenox, Esq., ex-Mayor of Washington, D. C., occupied the Ohio, and made a patriotic address, explanatory of the object of the meeting. On motion, in consequence of another call, the meeting adjourned until 7 o'clock last evening, when the further discussion of the subject was resumed.

The meeting reassembled at 7½ o'clock, and after a lengthy discussion, adjourned to meet at the call of the chairman. The lack of arms, it was said, determined the action of the body. Another meeting will take place at an early day, as soon as the proper authorities can be communicated with.

A proper move.

We have been requested to State that a subscription 1st has been left at the office of the "Virginia Life Insurance Company," for the benefit of such officers, soldiers, sailors or marines, or their families, as have been or may hereafter be killed or wounded in defence of the obstructions in James river. This is a just and proper movement, and we are gratified to witness its inauguration. The gallant men who are exposing themselves in the batteries along our river shore, are contending for a principle dearer and of more inestimable value than mere pecuniary consideration; but the very fact that their services are appreciated, and that a generous community is determined to reward their faithfulness and devotion to principle, will cheer their hearts and nerve their arms in the darkest hour of trial and conflict. We will not intimate a doubt that the citizens of Richmond, alive to the importance of a vigorous defence of the city, will readily and gladly contribute to so worthy and so commendable an object.


The following is a list of killed and wounded in company H, (Washington volunteers,) 7th Virginia volunteers, at the battle of Williamsburg:

Killed.--Junior 2d Lieut. Albert Ewell, private Lewis Schmidt.

Wausded.--Corp'l Julius H. Gantt, slightly; private Francis Carver, in hip, and — Phillips, slightly.

Posted By: Joe Elia
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