|Robert Knox Sneden-Firing of Cole's House-Virginia Historical Society|
About half an hour after midnight, on the morning of August 1, the enemy brought some light batteries to Coggins' Point and the Cole's house, on the right bank of James River, directly opposite Harrison's Landing, and opened a heavy fire upon our shipping and encampments. It was continued rapidly for about thirty minutes, when they were driven back by the fire of our guns. This affair was reported in the following dispatch:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
Berkeley, August 1, 1862-8 a.m.Firing of night before last killed some 10 men and wounded about 15.
No harm of the slightest consequence done to the shipping, although several were struck. Sent party across river yesterday to the Cole's house; destroyed it and cut down the timber. Will complete work to-day, and also send party to Coggins'Point, which I will probably occupy. I will attend to your telegraph about pressing at once. Will send Hooker out. Give me Burnside, and I will stir these people up. I need more cavalry; have only 3,700 for duty in cavalry division.
Adjutant General's Office forgot to send Sykes' commissions as major-general with those of other division commanders; do me the favor to hurry it on.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN.
Official Records, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 1, Page 76.
This was the raid Lee had planned, sending Pendleton and over 50 guns of artillery under D. H. Hill to fire upon Union supply vessels. The intent was to hasten McClellan's departure so Lee could begin a move north to alleviate pressure on Richmond. The raid was of no great consequence, and on this day Burnside's troops were being put in motion headed to Aquia Creek. The decision to withdraw McClellan's forces was already made regardless of the this shelling. One direct result of the raid was a landing party of Union forces who went across the river on the night of August 1 and set fire to the Cole House, home of ardent secessionist Edmund Ruffin.