Letter by Thomas Hoomes Williamson

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Stafford's Confederate Year

Letter by Thomas Hoomes Williamson

Fredericksburg, Va., April 24, 1861

Brigadier-General Ruggles:

By your orders I proceeded to Aquia Creek, and examined the place, with the view of fortifying it, for the purposes indicated in your verbal directions of this date, viz: To secure the railroad iron, the timber, two vessels, and a small steamer at that point from the enemy. I was joined in the evening by Lieutenant Lewis, of the Virginia Navy, at your request, and we reviewed the ground together. After examining the topography of the ground and the character and position of the channel, we are of the opinion that the best place to put a battery is on Split Rock Bluff, as the channel can be commanded from that point by guns of sufficient caliber. A battery on Cream Point would invite attack, and, being separated from the landing by Aquia Creek, would be difficult to hold. We do not think the place worth fortifying, and would respectfully recommend that a small force of ten or twenty men be kept there, to keep off any boats that might attempt to land there, and be employed in loading cars, which would be sent to remove the iron and timber to Fredericksburg at once; that the captains of the vessels be allowed to sail with their vessels at their pleasure. While the enemy holds the Potomac the steamer is of no value to us, and we have not the slightest idea that the enemy will make the attempt to possess themselves of it. The men kept there should be required to give information to headquarters of any attempt of the enemy to land there a force, which would be indicated by the number of vessels in the offing, and not allowed to harass the inhabitants by reporting every vessel they see on the river. Very respectfully submitted by

Thomas H. Williamson, Major of Engineers, Virginia Army.
H. H. Lewis, Lieutenant, Virginia Navy

P.S. – William H. Kerr, brigade inspector, concurs in this report.
(ORN, Series I, Volume 4, pp 778-779)