Transcribed from a photocopy at the Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va.

This is from a series of letters from George Weber, aboard the CSS Patrick Henry, to his brother Louis.


C.S. Steamer Patrick Henry,
Norfolk, Va. April 13, 1862
Sunday.

Dear Brother,

I have received your long-expected letter dated the 8th on yesterday morning. I have perceived the reason of your delay in your letter. I had thought of writing to you a week ago without awaiting your answer but we received sudden orders last Saturday the 5th to prepare for departure. We were busy all Saturday and Sunday taking in bags of sand and banking them in the waist to serve as protection for the machinery. The Virginia came out the dock Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon we all left the Yard on expedition against the yankees, but as there seemed to be a storm arising we came to an anchor at the Naval Hospital below the city, where we remained till Friday, when we again hove anchor at daybreak and sailed down into the Roads. There were hundreds of sail below the batteries of Fortress Monroe and the Rip Raps, amongst them 3 yankee frigates. There were three forgein-of-war-men (2 french and one English) lying between Newport News and the Fortress. These moved out of our way so we could have plenty of room for action, and also to have a good sight of the fight. But in the latter case these foriegners[sic] were doomed to disappointment. Our object was to capture the Monitor, as we had boarding parties with wedges and blankets on the little Harmony and White. But either the Monitor was not there or she would not show herself, for we waited there the whole of Friday and Saturday for her. The Virginia ran almost under the guns of fortress Monroe and challenged the Frigates, but they dared not come out. This she did often during the day. And on Friday, showing it was alas that way[? not sure about that phrase], U.S. flag received as flagrant insult from us as could be expected. It was thus: There were several small brigs lying very shrug in shore of hampton creek some distance from the fortress. The Commodore gave us order's to capture them, but as our vessel draws too much water to pass Hampton Bar the orders were given to the Jamestown while we took a convenient position to keep off any yankee gunboats. The Jamestown went in, took them and then towed them to Sewells Point. They were two brigs and a small schooner, loaded with Hay corn potatoes and clothes. The Prisoners amounted to 15. Each of the brigs had the confederate flag at the peak the U.S. flag below, union down. The Frenchmen cheered as we passed them. There's a little more prize money in our pockets after the war. Our old doctor Mason say's that our prize money due us from our last engagement would amount to near a thousand dollars apiece. But "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" and it would feel a great deal better if I had it in my possession now. But patience! a soldier prophecied[sic] that this war would end next month, and therefore we can wait. But talking about our expedition. Suffice it to say that we had nothing to do, and though the Virginia bearded them continually, they would not come from under the shelter of thier[sic] powerful forts. It is beleived[sic] that the Virginia would have attacked them even then but it is rumored that they have submarine batteries laid across the channel but Commodore Tatnall is a smart man and wont be caught in a trap. We returned back to the city last night and we are now lying in the middle of the river. We expect to go out soon again. - - - From what you say in your letter it seems that you carry on quite an extensive correspondence, for you say that although you had received many letters you had not received none from one.....

They are building another iron decked vessel at the Navy Yards and we expect to be transferred on her when done. How is the iron clad boat in Charleston getting on?

...

Your dear Brother
George


CSS Virginia
Transcription copyright 1997 by Mabry Tyson