FEBRUARY 10-13, 1865: The Confederate Navy began its last attempt to gain control of the James River and thus force the withdrawal of General Grant's army by cutting its communications at City Point.
The expedition of 100 officers and men was led by the audacious naval lieutenant, Charles W. Read. He loaded four torpedo boats on wagons and started overland from Drewry's Bluff.
The plan called for marching to a place below City Point on the James River where they would launch the boats, capture any passing tugs and steamers, and outfit them with spars and torpedoes. The expedition would then ascend the river and sink the Union monitors, leaving the wooden gunboats at the mercy of the Confederate ironclads.
The James River, without which Grant would be denied transport and supplies, would be under Confederate control from Richmond to Hampton Roads.