Monday, September 2, 2013

August 30, 1863 (Tuesday): A Boat Raid in the Rappahannock

WASHINGTON, D. C., August 30, 1863-12 noon.
Major-General MEADE,
Army of the Potomac:
    An iron-clad and several gunboats will leave the mouth of the Rappahannock to-morrow morning, and will probably reach Port Royal about night. The object is to recapture the two gunboats taken by the enemy and now in that river. It is very possible that these vessels, being small, may run up toward Fredericksburg, into shallow water, where our vessels cannot pursue. It is, therefore, desirable that you send a force of cavalry and artillery down this side of the river, to assist in destroying them. This force will run the risk of being cut off, by the enemy's throwing troops across the river in their rear. Hence the greatest caution must be taken to watch the river and the enemy's movements. The whole operation will be a delicate one, and the most careful officers should be placed in charge.

     H. W. HALLECK,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Page 111.

The Satellite was a converted tugboat, which was captured along with the tug Reliance on the Rappahanock River by Confederate forces under Captain John Taylor Wood.  Wood was the grandson of President Zachary Taylor and nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  Wood seized additional small vessels before eventually destroying the Satellite to prevent its recapture.


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