Getting down to 130,000 words is going to take a lot of cutting. One of the many things that had to go was the description of the battle of Sewell's Point, May 18-19, 1861.
Why did this have to go? The Petersburg Battalion (the nucleus of the Petersburg Regiment) heard the naval action on May 18 and marched out to Sewell's Point on May 19 arriving too late to participate, but the only reason for such a detailed description of the action was that two men who would join the Petersburg Regiment in Confederate service manned the guns at the Sewell's Point battery during the fight. They were not members of the regiment in May, though, and neither they nor members of their company (the Norfolk Juniors, later the 12th's Company H but in May part of the 6th Virginia Infantry) left accounts of the action. In contrast, a member of the 12th Virginia participated in the March 1862 battle of Hampton Roads and another hired a boat to take him out to see the fight and left an account of the action; while another member of the 12th described the fight at Drewry's Bluff in May 1862 from the regiment's unusual perspective. So the action at Sewell's Point was not worth keeping because it was insufficiently connected with the subject of the book, while the Petersburg Battalion's march out to Sewell's Point from Norfolk was. Focus, focus, focus!
On Saturday, [May 18,] the Virginian steamer Kahukee transported a force of African-American laborers to Sewell's Point to work on the fortification there. The Northerners at Fort Monroe observed this and sent USS Monticello, a wooden screw steamer armed with a nine-inch gun and two 32-pounders, after Kahukee. Monticello chased Kahukee up Elizabeth River until she came within range of the Confederate guns in the Boush’s Bluff Battery, about three miles upriver from Sewell’s Point. One shot from the Boush’s Bluff battery ended the chase. Monticello dropped downriver. When abreast of Sewell’s Point, Monticello bombarded the unfinished fort there. The steam tug USS Thomas Freeborn, armed with two 32-pounder guns, came to the assistance of Monticello. Far from obliterating the earthwork, the Union ships merely drove away the blacks working on the battery and buried unmounted cannon in the sand.
Thomas Freeborn returned to old Point Comfort. Monticello moored a short distance downriver of the battery at Sewell’s Point. All that night, a force of Virginians and Georgians labored to complete the earthworks and mount the guns at the battery. The soldiers covered the embrasures with blankets. They dug up the cannon buried by the previous day’s bombardment. By 4 p.m. Sunday, they had three 32-pounders in position.
When the crew of Monticello discovered this, the ship came up within range and opened fire. The Southern gunners had just finished loading their cannon. They fired back. Thomas Freeborn again came to the assistance of Monticello. Two rifled fieldpieces supported the battery. For more than an hour, the cannon of both sides thundered. When the smoke cleared, the battery remained undamaged. Struck five times by cannon shot in the hull, her upper works peppered by rifle fire, Monticello retired to Fortress Monroe. Thomas Freeborn followed. Monticello had two wounded, Thomas Freeborn none, the Southerners one.