Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/91
New Light on the Great Dreiory's Bluff Fight. 83
the building of the fort, and the part taken by his company in the battle:
MAJOR DREWRY'S LETTER.
Judge W. I. Clapton;
Dear Judge : Referring to the conversation which passed between us at the office of our mutual friend, Judge George L. Christian, I have only to say that the present is the first moment which I have felt that I could give any attention to your request, and even now I am forced to do so under circumstances which will not allow me to do justice to the matter in question. Never- theless I submit the following:
Early in 1862, when General McDowell was preparing for an advance upon Richmond from the direction of Fredericks- burg, and General McClellan was moving up from the Penin- sula, the Governor of Virginia was authorized by act of the Confederate Congress, then in session, to call for 2,000 men to man the batteries around Richmond. When Captain J. B. Jones and myself, in view of the advantages which would be enjoyed by the people of Chesterfield to enlist iri^its service, raised a company, composed largely of men who were beyond the age of conscription, and tendered our services to the GoY- ernor. By whom we were accepted and assigned to duty at Battery No. 19, on the turnpike, between Drewry's Bluff and the city of Richmond. After being there a while, I came to the conclusion that our position was unimportant, and that we would likely be called to field duty, for which I did not think my men were well suited ; hence, I went over to see General Lee, and suggested to him the propriety of obstructing the river, and the establishment of a fort at some selected point, and let me take my command down there for service, for which they were well suited. To all of which he readily agreed, in view of the fact which was clearly foreshadowed that Norfolk would soon be evacuated, and the river open to a raid upon the Confederate cap- ital by the Federal gunboats. The following day, accompanied t>y Major Rives and Lieutenant Mason, of the engineers depart- ment, we went down the river to select a suitable position. Upon reaching Hewlett's, which is at the head of the Horse