Battle of Suffolk
In cooperation with D.H. Hill’s advance on Washington, North Carolina, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet with Hood’s and Pickett’s divisions besieged the Union garrison at Suffolk commanded by Brig. Gen. John Peck. The Union works were formidable and manned by 25,000 men, opposed to Longstreet’s 20,000. On April 13, the Confederate troops pushed their left flank to the Nansemond River and constructed a battery on Hill’s Point, which closed off the garrison to Union shipping. On April 14, Union gunboats attempted to run the batteries at the Norfleet House slightly upstream, but Mount Washington was crippled. The Federals, at the same time, constructed batteries to command the Confederate works at Norfleet House. On April 15, these batteries were unmasked and opened fire, driving the Confederates out of this important position. (NPS summary)
Suffolk - Introduction
Following the overwhelming Confederate victory at Fredericksburg in December of 1862 the primary Union army, the Army of the Potomac, fell into disarray and ceased to pose an immediate threat. Robert E. Lee took advantage of this respite to address another challenge by Federal forces. The growing number of Union troops and increased activity in the Tidewater region of Virginia seemed to evidence a challenge to the Confederate capital. These indications were enough to convince Lee that the threat to the capital was legitimate and that it was necessary and militarily prudent to detach a portion of his forces to oppose it. Writing to LTG James Longstreet on 18Feb1863 Lee instructed the I Corps commander "to move two divisions of your corps towards (the) James River."
After ensuring that the divisions (McLaw, Anderson, and Ransom) of his corps that were to remain with the Army of Northern Virginia were properly established in defensive position on the Rappahannock River Longstreet moved the remaining two (Pickett and Hood) east. On 26Feb1863 Longstreet assumed command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina with his headquarters at Petersburg. In Virginia, to go along with his organic troops, he absorbed the Department of Southern Virginia which consisted of a division commanded by MG Samuel G. French. The purpose of this deployment was four fold:
- 1. Protect the Confederate capital from the expected attack. Lee promised Longstreet that if is this came to be he would send forward the divisions he had left behind on the Rappahannock.
- 2. Support the operations of the Army of Northern Virginia as directed. Lee saw little opportuity for offensive actions against the numerically superior Union forces but wanted Longstreet to be prepared to react to any move by the enemy.
- 3. Forage the area for supplies. The badly denuded area of northern Virginia could not support the ANV and the new sources of supply had to be exploited.
- 4. Reduce the Federal garrison at Suffolk if possible.
In an effort to accomplish the logistical portion of the mission Longstreet moved his forces as far forward as possible. Longstreet justified the move in his memoirs stating that to secure "a goodly supply of produce along the east coast of Virginia and North Carolina, inside the military lines of the Federal forces. To collect and transport this to accessible points for the Confederates, it was necessary to advance our divisions so as to cover the country, and to hold the Federal forces in and about their fortified positions while our trains were at work. "
This decision to expand his area of influence made confrontation inevitable. While MG D. H. Hill moved towards the Federal position at New Berne, North Carolina Longstreet moved closer to the enemy garrison at Suffolk. The opportunity to fulfill the fourth goal led to the fight for Suffolk. Sandwiched between the great Confederate victories at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville Longstreet's operations in Virginia have been overlooked and nearly forgotten.
Faceoff at Suffolk
The object of operations for both sides became the transportation hub city of Suffolk, Virginia. The city fell into Union hands when the Confederates evacuated Norfolk in May of 1862 but it had remained a military backwater until September of that year. As McClellan's Peninsula Campaign played itself out the area became threatened by a concentration of Confederate forces. Despite suggestions that the city be relinquished it was determined that it would be held. A new commander, MG Peck, was sent to the city on 22 September with orders to execute the construction of "a system of intrenchments" for the defense of the city. For the six months preceeding Longstreet's advance Peck's troops "were diligently engaged in the construction of these works."
On April 2 Lee writing to Longstreet regarding the possibilities of offensive action in his sphere of influence stated that he believed that Longstreet was "strong enough to make any movement that you consider adviseable." He tempered his statement by reminding Longstreet that he had previously felt "that as long as the enemy choose to remain on the defensive" there was little hope of success in the region other than gathering supplies. By April 6th Lee's attitude toward the move was softening. Writing to Longstreet he authorized the general to continue "according to you own judgement." He continued on with a suggestion that "careful reconnaissances" be made before any effort against Suffolk should begin. Lee also sent a request to MG Arnold Elzey at Richmond requesting a brigade of infantry and artillery support to reinforce Longstreet.
As his lines closed "about the forts around Suffolk" Longstreet's ability to gain intelligence on the disposition of the Federal forces around the city was greatly enhanced when two men arrived bearing letters of introduction from Secretary of War Seddon. They were touted as "trustworthy and efficient scouts" and Longstreet put them to work on a reconnassaince of the "roads or routes for our troops in case we should wish to make a detour for the capture of Suffolk." The report of the two men impressed Longstreet, especially that of the scout named Harrison, and the decision to make an attempt was made.
The location of the Great Dismal Swamp south of the city prevented any large scale approach from that direction so any effort was forced north of the city. Here the greatest obstacle to operations was the Nansemond River, which seperated the opposing forces. Thr river was patrolled by two flotillas of Union gunboats, one above the city and a smaller one below. Realizing that no cross river attempt could be made nor subsistence stores transported across the river until it was swept clean Longstreet began operations with a request for naval assitance. On April 9th, General Lee forwarded this request to Secretary Seddon, but by the 17th was forced to announce to Longstreet that "I have had no reply." Longstreet took matters into his own hands and wrote to Seddon that "Suffolk would surely fall if the Richmond would only come down and anchor at the mouth of the Nansemond." Seddon could offer no assistance as he responded to Longstreet on the 18th that "I regret not having been able to receive the cooperation of the Navy." The status of obstructions in the James River and the general lack of naval assets precluded any such assistance. In the interim a frustrated Longstreet ordered MG French to move batteries to the river to challenge the Union boats.
Action at the Nansemond River
As anticipated by Admiral Lee the first contact at the river was between Confederate riflemen and the Union gunboats. On the evening of the 13th while on a mission to deliver MG Keyes from Suffolk, LT Lamson with the Mount Washington, Stepping Stones, West End, and the Alert , "ran through a very heavy fire from the enemy's sharpshooters." The fire killed one and wounded another sailor.
In the reactionary actions two of the boats, the West End and the Mount Washington, ran aground in the dark and lay helpless. Fortunately, there were no enemy artillery pieces yet in place at this location and the two boats floated free on the morning tide. As the boats proceded toward Suffolk they turned a sharp bend in the river and the situation changed drastically. Lamson "disovered a fresh earthwork on the point and commenced shelling it" as the boats attempted to run the new battery. The masked Confederate guns were pushed into position to confront the Union flotilla. The Mount Washington was struck in the boilers and went adrift. The vessel lodged against the bank of the river and the crew began to abandon ship to escape the deadly steam. Lamson ordered them back to man the guns. The crew returned and began to fire from the stationary boat. The West End also went aground. The Stepping Stones was ordered up to tow the stricken Mount Washington which was accomplished under heavy fire. Once out of range the Mount Washington was dropped and the Stepping Stones returned to save the West End. Once the West End was freed she, "being short of coal" continued down the river. The Mount Washington was again taken under tow by the Stepping Stones. The battered Mount Washington, taking on water, settled even more deeply and again became stuck in the bar in front of the Confederate guns located at Fort Huger in the vicinity of Hill's Point. The pieces there began firing on the stationary target. The boat took a severe beating. One round struck struck a gun position and killed one of the crew whose body was thrown overboard. The commander of the gun, Samuel Woods, instantly dove into the water in an effort to retrieve the body but could not locate it and swam back to resume action at the gun. Lamson realizing the danger to the Stepping Stones if she remained in an effort to pull the Mount Washington free sent the boat with all but the gun crews from the Mount Washington out of range. The Union gunboat Commodore Barney, from the Lower Nansemond flotilla, rushed to the scene and the combined fire of the Union boats eventually quieted the Confederate guns. At 1500 the enemy guns reopened with renewed vigor.The rising river caused the boat to turn and the guns could not be brought to bear. Lamson had to reposition a a 12 lb howitzter to the hurricane deck to continue the harassing fire. A hawser was attached to a nearby pile and a capstan was used in an effort to pull the boat free. The pile was shot away by the Confederate gunners and a second line was set out. The slow procees continued until 1730 when the Stepping Stones reappeared to take the Mount Washington under tow. Despite the heavy fire, and slipping the tow line once, they managed to pull the wounded boat out of range. The encounter left 5 Union sailors dead, 14 wounded, and 1 missing.
Union Guns Strike Back
The day long duel between the Union boats and the Confederate gunners did not escape the attention of the Union army commander on the scene. Observing the fight from the east shore, BG George W. Getty decided to place some batteries of his own. He "immediately sent for guns and troops" to counter the Confederate action at the river. While an overnight storm raked the area two batteries were constructed and sharpshooters posted. Battery Morris was built at the mouth of Broer's Creek about 900 yards from the enemy guns. It contained three 10lb Parrott rifles of ther 2nd Wisconsin artillery. The second battery, named Kimball, was built at 1200 yards from the enemy position. It held two 20lb Parrott's and one 3" rifle from the 4th Wisconsin artillery. The 10th New Hampshire was also called up to strengthen the line. Both positions were well hidden by heavy vegetation and escaped detection.
On the morning of the 15th the concealing vegetation was cut away at Battery Morris and the guns there took the enemy pieces at Norfleet House under fire. Firing a mix of ammunition and timed fuses the guns began to pound the enemy batteries. The Confederate gunners responded to the challenge by returning fire "briskly." The rapidly constructed Union position was pierced by several shells but inflicted no casualties on the Federal gunners. Once the full attention of the enemy was captured by the action at Battery Morris the guns at Battery Kimball were unleashed. After two hours of bombardment the Confederate fire became "very feeble." The "well directed fire" coupled with the efforts of the sharpshooters placed on "an island in the marsh" overwhelmed the Confederates. The enemy guns were removed during the night of the 15th. The only casualties on the Union side were three drivers of Battery A, 5th US Artillery and one 20lb Parrott at battery Kimball that " threw off its muzzle" after firing twelve rounds. The action highlighted the otherwise drab routine of constructing field works and roads. The Confederate guns at Norfleet House managed to restrict river traffic for a couple of days. Otherwise the effort there was ineffectual.
Edenton Road and other Reconnaissance
While the Union batteries were pounding the Confederate position at the Norfleet House another operation was being conducted to ascertain the strength of the enemy position on the Edenton Road. Major Alexander Patton with two companies of cavalry (Co's E and M of the 1st new York Mounted Rifles) and one 6lb howitzer set out at 0300 on the 15th on the ordered reconnaissance. They were joined along the line of march by three companies of infantry (one company each from the 170th, 155th, and 164th New York) and traveled 2 1/2 miles out to the Confederate picket lines. At the sound of a signal round from the lone gun one company of cavalry (Co E) charged down the road. They discovered that the raod had been "barricaded no less than eight times", but the unguarded obstacles barely slowed their approach. The sentry guarding the camp of the 17th Virginia Infantry was seized. The aggressive charge was brought to a halt when they found the main body of the Confederates "drawn up in line of battle" in the nearby treeline. The commander, Captain Gregory, wisely held up and waited for his support to come up.
Another charge was made "upon the right of the enemy"when the remainder of the cavalry arrived on the scene. This attempt was also blasted back by a "galling fire" aand the Union troopers again retreated. The prolonged presence of the New York troopers in front of the Confederate position allowed the infantry to arrive "cheering." Supported by the lone gun they attacked the Confederate left and "forced them back to fall back through their camp." Having discerned that the enemy was indeed in the area in considerable strength the reconnaissance party satisfied itself by destroying "the camp of the enemy." The affair cost the Union troopers 2 wounded( left on the field to be captured), another two wounded and recovered, and eighteen horse killed or wounded.
A similiar effort by one company of the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry supported by four companies of infantry (2 each from the 165th and 166th Pennsylvania) and two guns from the 7th Massachusetts Battery went out on the Somerton Road. This attempt was also turned back and BG Corcoran was forced to concede that operation "was not as successful as was anticipated it would be."
The Confederate commanders also wanted to learn about the strength and disposition of the enemy. MG Pickett opted for a different manner to get the desired information. He requested the services of scouts to enter the Union lines for the "accomplishment of this very desireable object." Four men, Sergeant J. P. Jordan and John Mills of Company H, 17th Virginia and S. C. Madison and William Gravatt of Company F, 30th Virginia, stepped forward to accept this dangerous assignment. Using the swamp to conceal their movements the four men crept undetected into the midst of the Union lines. Having gained the information they sought the four men concocted a intersting plan to regain the safety of their lines. They "sprang upon" a group of Union pickets and ordered their surrender. The astonished Federals threw down their arms and gave in to their surprise guests without a shot. Sergeant Jordan then explained to his captives that they must run for their lives. A mad dash for the Confederate lines was made by the four captives. The four scouts intermingled with the fleeing Union troops and gained safety. Not a shot was fired during the entire operation and four prisoners were gained. Inspired by the quick witted Jordan and his compatriots Pickett issued Special Order No. 48 commending the four men's bravery. The order was read before every unit in the division.
Hill's Point - First Effort
While the two sides probed and skirmished along the siege lines the Confederate battery at Hill's Point continued to harass the Union boats on the river. Incidents on the 17th and 18th concerned LT Cushing enough about the safety of his flotilla that he proposed a solution. Lt Lamson also was concerned about the effectiveness of the enemy guns to suggest that his boats only "run down (the river) at night." Both men believed that the enemy position was vulnerable to a land attack. Lamson went so far as to suggest that "it would be quite easy to throw a body of soldiers across here and march down in the rear of the battery and rifle pits that have annoyed us so much and capture them all."
On the 17th he went to General Getty's headquarters and requested support for such an operation. Getty thought the idea sound and gave Lamson about 200 men from the 10th New Hampshire Infantry for the amphibious effort. From the very beginning Lamson was suspicious of the commitment that these troops had for the mission. He noted that the very first thing that the land commander, COL Donohue, wanted verified was the signal for return to the boats. At 2300 he put the landing party ashore and went up to draw the attention of the enemy gunners. As he suspected the plan was short lived when the Granite Staters "marched about 50 yards" and returned to the boats when the enemy picket line was sighted. One history of the 10th New Hampshire stated that the men made a reconnaissance "across the river which developed the enemy in great force." LT Cushing scoffed at the effort made by Col Donohue and his men. In a letter to Admiral Lee he stated that the mission failed because the "army men being frightened by nothing." Explaining his opinion he noted that the land force had spent less than five minutes ashore and retreated after seeing "three rebel pickets running away."
A disgusted Cushing re-introduced the idea with a request for "two lunches with 12 pounder howitzers" and a committed land force. He suggested a night time attack would be ideal for the new attempt. Lee again accepted the idea but suggested a daylight attack. In a bit of inter-service arm twisting he also sent Commander Pierce Crosby forward with a threat to remove all naval support from the river. The land commanders certainly would have realized that this meant free access across the river and would be forced to cooperate more fully. The next effort would be more committed or else.
Fort Huger Falls
Another effort to take the guns at Fort Huger went awry on the 18th when the assigned troops did not arrive at the boats in time for the planned night attack. Lamson again wrote to Lee explaining that although Getty was cooperating the subordinate leaders "have failed to do their part". While the attack went on hold again another development on the river changed the course of the operations. In the wee hours of the morning on April 19th another battery of artillery (Alexandria Battery) was moved into a masked position north of Hill's Point at Knob Hill. The new earthworks were created for two purposes; to help protect the Confederate works at Fort Huger and to further deny use of the river to the Union gunboats. Undeterred by the new threat to his flotilla, Lamson continued on with the operation.
The Confederate gunners did not have long to wait before they were tested. At 1000 five federal vessels appeared moving south up the river toward Suffolk. The guns at Knob Hill immediately cleared away the screening vegetation and took the Union fleet under fire. The Federal sailors responded and the supposed running of the batteries turned into a five hour artillery duel. The Union boats received assistance from the land based guns at Battery Stevens. With the enemy guns preoccupied another vessel, the USS Stepping Stones, was loaded with about 300 members of the 89th New York, 8th Connecticut, and four boat howitzers. A system of canvas screens was used to hide the landing party from view and the boat began the run up the river at 1730. As the Stepping Stones approached the gunboats a prearranged signal sounded by the steam whistle alerted the Union boats to reinvigorate their barrage. Behind the screen of smoke, haze, and confusion from the battle the Stepping Stones, with the assault force aboard, slipped past the guns at Knob Hill and Fort Huger nearly unscathed.
Lamson then gave another signal to stop the barrage and he "put the helm hard astarboard." The boat glanced off an underwater obstacle but was recovered by the skillful manuevering of LT Lamson. The boat stuck fast into the muddy bank in an area close enough so the Confederate guns could not be depressed enough to engage her. The assault force jumped off the boat into the waist deep water and waded ashore, led by CPT Hazard Stevens. The defending infantry, consisting of about 150 members of the 44th Alabama, was taken completely by surprise. The rifle pits along the banks were over run with almost no resistance. The Federals charged across a field and into the rear of the fort without firing a shot. A smattering of gunfire from the Confederate defenses caused the only casualties (4k, 10 w) of the entire affair before the position was surrendered. The reconnaissance effort and estimated force necessary had been perfect. As predicted by Lamson the fort had fallen easily. The entire compliment of Confederates was captured along with all the guns. The sole Confederate casualty was one man killed supposedly shot by his commander as he tried to run away.
The success of the Union assault was intended to be immediately reinforced but transportation difficulties delayed the process. During the course of the night and early morning five companies of the 10th NH, four companies of the 117th NY, a detachment of the 9th VT, and enough men from Battery A, 5th US artillery to man the captured guns were put across. The Federals went to work reversing the position and by the mid morning of the 19th "a formible line" had been created. Quite naturally they anticipated the Confederate response to their foray.
Reprecussions and Retreat
For the Union soldiers at Fort Huger the expected attack to regain the fort never materialized. Only a barely perceptible probe by the 55th North Carolina tested their resolve to hold their prize. The attention of the Confederate command shifted to the blame game. Longstreet called the event "a serious disaster" and that the defeat came as a result of an "entire want of vigilance" by the troops there. He insinuated that General French had not lent proper support to the battery because the regiment meant to supply that support was never called upon to react. A dispatch from Longstreet to French, dated the 19th lends credence to his assessment, he asked "have you the regiment of infantry so placed as to support the batteries in time should the enemy attempt to land an infantry force against them?"
On the 21st, Assistant Adjuntant General Sorrel of Longstreet's staff, wrote a scathing report assigning blame to French for "a most remarkable and discreditable instance of an entire absence of vigilinace". Not surprisingly, when French's report finally arrived at Longstreet's headquarters he pushed the responsibility down the chain of command stating that "Colonel Cunningham (acting for French who claimed illness) instructed Colonel Connally (55th NC) to support the batteries." He concludes the report with the excuse that "they did not offer a sufficient resistance."
It mattered little. Around 1500 the order to leave the exposed position was issued by MG Peck. According to BG Getty the "artillery, intrenching tools, surplus ammunition, c&" were removed by the Stepping Stones. The last troops, most likely from the 117th NY, were put back on the east shore by 0030 on the 21st by small boats after the Stepping Stones had difficulty negotiating the shallow waters on the return trip. Acting Rear Admiral Lee reacted strongly to the removal of the Union force "against the urgent remonstrance of LT Lamson." He acted upon his previous threat and called for the removal of the "little gunboats" that were "so much called for" but "really necessary elsewhere." If the enemy batteries might be replaced upon the retreat of the Union force then Lee did not wish to hazard his boats further. As might be expected, MG Peck reacted strongly to the news. He replied to Lee in a challenging tone:
- "This is a very late day to advise the authorities of the inability of the Navy to hold water communications."
He continued to chide the Naval commander stating that "your boats are all safe were you ordered them." He then proclaimed that if inter-service cooperation was to end that "boats or no boats, I shall hold the river." The heated exchange continued when Lee replied that Peck's land force in "earthworks and rifle pits" was more than adequate to deal with the emergency. He also suggested that it was obvious to "every candid and intelligent professional mind that had General Longstreet really intended to force a crossing of the upper Nansemond with the reputed means at his command" he could have done so despite the presence of the improvised gunboats that he had placed there. His point was never to be proven.
After the capture of Fort Huger "nothing of special interest occurred Until May 3." The Union forces continued to work "vigorously" on their defenses and occassionally probed the enemy lines. The Confederates satisfied themselves with continued attempts to harass river traffic with new batteries but made no offensive moves with their ground forces. On the 3rd the Federals mounted a reconnaissance in force along the Providence Church and Reed's Ferry roads.
The plan called for "two expeditions" to cross the river at different locations and seize Reed's Ferry and advance to "feel the enemy's left." The first of these was comprised of the 103rd NY, 89th NY, 25th NJ, 13th NH, and two batteries of artillery. Their advance easily pushed the enemy pickets away from the river and into the main defenses. The effort was then reinforced by three Connecticut regiments (11th, 15th, and 16th) who moved up to take the front of the move. Their efforts revealed that the Confederates were "strongly posted" and terrain restrictions (swamp) prevented them from being flanked. After consultation it was determined that "a direct assault had to be made on the front" of the enemy defenses. Unwilling to spend "a great sacrifice of life" in an assault on the rebel works the units were retired under the cover of the 117th NY in the rifle pits near the bridge. The operation cost the Union forces sixty killed and wounded.
The second force made up of the 4th RI, 21st CT, 4th WI, and detachments from the 117th NY anfd 1st NY Mounted Rifles crossed at two points at Sleepy Hole. The two parties pushed forward on different routes to Reed's Ferry capturing 16 men on the way. When they were unable to communicate with the other force they retreated to the Nansemond and dug in. After a tense night they were recovered to the eastern shore on the morning of the 4th. The effort cost 2 killed and 4 wounded. The next day Longstreet's forces were gone, called back by Lee in response to the Chancellorsville campaign.
Conclusion and Assessment
The inability to control water traffic with land based artillery ruined any hope of success Longstreet might have enjoyed. It was a recurring theme for the Confederacy during the Civil War that highlighted their failure to develop an effective naval force. Without means to cross the river Longstreet could not actually threaten Suffolk. The siege was never a siege at all. The Confederates did manage to successfully complete 75% of the intended purpose in the region. They scoured the area for the badly needed supplies. They prevented an attack on Richmond. although it is unclear that such an operation was ever seriously considered by the Union command. They were well prepared to return the the ANV, although they arrived a bit late for the great victory at Chancellorsville.
Order of battle
Confederate Troops in Departments of Virginia and North Carolina, l0 March l863
Commanding Officer: Lieutenant General J. Longstreet Elzey's Command: Major General A.Elzey (277/4,825) HQ: Richmond Virginia Colonel T.S Rhett's Command, Colonel Jack Brown's Command, Colonel T.J.Page's Command (Chaffin Bluff), Captain Lee (Drewry's Bluff), Wise's Brigade French's Command: Major General S.G.French (4l6/6,64l) HQ Petersburg,Virginia Colston's Command 29th Virginia Regiment, Cavalry Detachment Confederate Guard, Hargrove Blues, Mosley's Artillery Battalion, Bradford's Battery, Sturdivant's Battery, Camp of paroled prisoners, and Signal Corps
PICKETT'S DIVISION, MG George E. Pickett Garnett's Brigade 8th Virginia, 18th Virginia, 19th Virginia, 28th Virginia, and 56th Virginia Armistead's Brigade 9th Virginia, 14th Virginia, 38th Virginia, 53rd Virginia, and 57th Virginia Kemper's Brigade 1st Virginia, 3rd Virginia, 7th Virginia, 11th Virginia, and 24th Virginia Jenkins's Brigade 1st South Carolina (Hagood's), 2nd South Carolina, (Rifles) 5th South Carolina,
6th South Carolina, Hampton Legion, and Palmetto Sharpshooters
Corse's Brigade 15th Virginia, 17th Virginia, 30th Virginia, and 32nd Virginia Artillery Dearing's (Virginia) battery, Fauquier (Virginia) Art (Stribling's battery) Richmond (Fayette) Art (Macon's battery)
HOOD'S DIVISION, MG John B. Hood Law's Brigade 4th Alabama, 44th Alabama, 6th North Carolina, 54th North Carolina, and 57th North Carolina Robertson's Brigade 3rd Arkansas, 1st Texas, 4th Texas, and 5th Texas Anderson's Brigade 1st (Regulars), 7th Georgia, 8th Georgia, 9th Georgia, and 11th Georgia Toombs' Brigade 2nd Georgia, 15th Georgia, 17th Georgia, and 20th Georgia Artillery German (South Carolina) Art, (Bachman's battery) Palmetto (South Carolina) Light Art (Garden's battery) Rowan (North Carolina) Art (Reilly's battery) Reserve Artillery Henry's (Virginia) battery, M. W. Henry
Hill's Command: Major General D.H.Hill (590/l0,793) Daniel's Brigade, Pettigrew's Brigade, Robertson's Cavalry Brigade, Reserve Artillery, Troops at Goldsborough, N.C., Troops at Hamilton, N.C., Troops at Weldon, N.C Whiting's Command: Brigadier General W.H.C.Whiting (434/6,949) Evan's Brigade; Ransom's Brigade; Company F, l0th North Carolina Troops; Company B, 6lst North Carolina Troops; Captain Buie's Company, North Carolina Troops; Captain Moore's Cavalry; Captain Newkirk's Cavalry; Captain Smith's Cavalry; 3rd Battalion North Carolina Artillery; l0th Battalion North Carolina Artillery; Clark Heavy Artillery; Captain Adam's Light Battery; Captain R. Boyce's (South Carolina) Light Battery; Captain J.R. Branch's Light Battery; Captain Paris' Light Battery; Fort Caswell (6 cos); Fort Fisher (9 cos); Fort French (l co); Fort Johnson (2 cos); Fort Saint Philip (4 cos) ; Light House Battery (l co); Bridge Guard (Weldon and Wilmington Railroad); Signal Corps Unattached: Captain Lane's (North Carolina) Battery (2/l3l)
Union Forces Siege of Suffolk May l863
Department of Virginia & VII Corps
MG Erasmus D. Keyes (6–14 April) MG John A. Dix (14 April-15 July)
MG John J. Peck
First Division, VII Corps
| 1st Brigade
| 2nd Brigade
| 1st Brigade "Irish Legion"
| 1st Brigade
| 2nd Brigade
| 3rd Brigade
Reserve Division, VII Corps
| 2nd Brigade
| 3rd Brigade
| Light Artillery
Capt Frederick M. Follet
| Heavy Artillery
| Reserve Brigade
North Atlantic Blockading Squadron
Acting Rear Admiral Samuel P. Lee
9k, 16w, 4m = 29
|Lower Nansemond Flotilla|
| Upper Nansemond Flotilla
- ↑ By order of Longstreet on April 14th , French was put in charge of all artillery in the Blackwater area. French began moving the guns on the 15th.