From the Richmond Dispatch, 5/19/1862, p. 1, c. 2
There was a general failure of the mails on Friday and Saturday, and we consequently received but few of our Southern exchanges. From the means at hand, we compile the following summary, which will be found interesting:
THE GUNBOAT FIGHT AT DRURY'S BLUFF.
The Petersburg Express, of Friday, has some further particulars of the fight at Drury's Bluff, which we copy:
The fight at Fort Drury yesterday, on James river, (Chesterfield side,) was quite an exciting affair, and we have good grounds for believing resulted in a decided repulse to the Lincoln gunboats. A gentleman who was present informs us that the approach of the Federals was first discovered by our pickets about daylight. The fighting was commenced at half-past seven, and continued without intermission until eleven, when the gunboats, entirely satisfied, retired rapidly down the river. The Galena, an iron clad, but not so formidable as the Monitor, was the only vessel engaged, although the Monitor and three gunboats were present. The enemy fired very rapidly, and did some execution in and around the fort, but many of the shells went far beyond the works, some of them exploding a mile distant, and others bursted over the turnpike. The Galena was placed hors du combat by a plunging shot, which entered her upper deck, ranging downwards, and setting her on fire. She proceeded a mile or so down the river, when she was run into shallow water and sunk, to save her from total destruction by fire.
A shot from one of our rifled guns cut a small boat in twain, which was swinging from the side of one of the wooden vessels, and sent two men which it contained to the bottom.
As the fleet moved off, our sharpshooters, who lined the banks of the river for three or four miles, poured their deadly missiles into every port-hole and at every pilot-house. – One pilot was certainly killed, as he was seen to fall at the crack of a sharpshooter's rifle. Other of the invaders, it is thought, were sent to their final account. The high bluff, thickly covered with undergrowth, afford admirable protection for sharpshooters, and the number, we hear, is to be greatly increased.
The casualties on our side were five killed and eight wounded. We have ascertained the following:
Bowyer's battery, from Botetourt county, lost one man killed – George Clements – and three wounded.
Jones's battery, Bedford county, two men killed.
Sales' (Bedford) Battery, two men killed. – Captain Sales was slightly wounded in the arm.
Our informant saw a mule which was dreadfully mangled and killed, more than a quarter of a mile from the Fort, by the explosion of a shell. The animal had three legs cut off, and its side was torn out.
It is the opinion of several who were present at the bombardment, that the enemy will make another attempt to silence our guns at Fort Drury, and that when he next comes, it will be with mortar boats. The bluffs are too much elevated for his gunboats to do much execution.
We are pleased to learn that the best spirits pervade our men, and that they are determined to make Old Abe's "on to Richmond" by water as difficult as have been his efforts to reach our glorious capital on terra firma.