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Re: Elthaim's Landing
In Response To: Elthaim's Landing ()

From the Richmond Daily Dispatch, May 27, 1862, in part:

"Headquarters 1st Division Reserve, Near Richmond, May 23, 1862. To the Editor of the Dispatch:

Sir
--The panic caused by the enemy's gunboats is not, perhaps, unreasonable, considering the manner in which their deeds have been trumpeted and exaggerated; but it is very absurd and needless. I will state a few facts:--Horizontal, or rather direct shell firing, as from Dahlgren or rifled pieces, is destructive only to shipping or beddings. It has very little effect upon batteries, either with or without parapets, or upon troops deployed This is due, I think, partly to the difficulty of causing the shell, even if well directed, to explode exactly at the object, but chiefly to the great velocity of the missile, which carries the fragments after explosion beyond the point of bursting. Mortar firing, or vertical fire, as it is called, is, if well managed, much more destructive and dangerous, in that the velocity is small and the explosive force has full play. I have never known a shell from the gunboats, exploding over an open battery or group or line of men, to do any harm.
. . . .

The other day, at the engagement between a part of my command and the enemy at Eltham's Landing, near West Point, one of the enemy's gunboats opened upon a position from which a few moments before Lieut. Col. Lee and Captain Reilly bad in vain endeavored with four pieces to reach the transports; and though the boat got the range with great accuracy, and burst her shells directly over the heads and within a few feet of the 6th North Carolina regiment, commanded by Col. Pender, but one man was hurt; and although their gunboats shelled the woods in which Hood's brigade and the Legion were drawn up, after the enemy were driven out, not a man was touched by them.

. . . . .

Very respectfully,
W. H. C. Whiting, Brig. Gen. Comm'g 1st Div. Reserve, Army of the Potomac."

George Martin

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