FEBRUARY 27TH, 1865: Commodore Tucker and his 350 sailors from Charleston arrive safely in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he received orders to have Lt. James H. Rochelle's naval detachment join his and proceed to Richmond with the entire Naval Brigade.
From Richmond, the brigade was sent on to Drewry's Bluff on the James River to garrison the formidable Confederate batteries stationed there. Tucker commanded the the naval forces ashore while Rear Admiral Semmes commanded the James River Squadron.
These two commands, through the course of the long war, had successfully protected Richmond from attack via the James River. General Lee desperately needed staunch fighters more than ever before. With his supply line from Europe cut, hunger, privation, sickness, and desertion steadily shrank his army.
Meanwhile, General Grant's army steadily increased as ships poured in supplies at his City Point base in preparation for the final spring offensive.