Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, 1862: Confederate Defenses on James River

MARCH 20TH, 1862:  Confederate President Davis wrote regarding the defense of the James River approach to Richmond:  "The position of Drewry's Bluff, seven or eight miles below Richmond ... was chosen to obstruct the river against vessels such as the Monitor.  The work is being rapidly completed.

"Either Fort Powhatan or Kennon's Marsh, if found to be the proper positions, will be fortified and obstructed as at Drewry's Bluff, to prevent the ascent of the river by ironclad vessels.

"Blockading the channel where sufficiently narrow by strong lines of obstructions, filling it with submersive batteries [torpedoes], and flanking the obstructions by well-protected batteries of the heaviest guns, seem to offer the best and speediest chances of protection with the means at our disposal against ironclad floating batteries."

The Confederate Navy contributed in large part to these successful defenses that for three years resisted penetration.  Naval crews proved especially effective in setting up and manning the big guns, many of which had come from the captured Navy Yard at Norfolk.

Fear of the Monitor.  --Old B-Runner

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