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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 6, Ch. XV–Reports.



August 21, 1861-April 11, 1862.
(Fort Pulaski)


Aug.21, 1861.–Brig. Gen. Roswell S. Ripley, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of South Carolina.*
Brig. Gen. John B. Grayson, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of Middle and East Florida.
Oct.10, 1861.– Brig. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of Middle and East Florida. (Revoked.)
21, 1861.–The expedition under command of Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. Army, sails from Annapolis, Md., for the South Carolina coast.
22, 1861.–Brig. Gen. James H. Trapier, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of Middle and East Florida.
26, 1861.–Brig. Gen. Alexander R. Lawton, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of Georgia.**
29, 1861.–The Sherman expedition sails from Hampton Roads, Va.
Nov.5, 1861.–The coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida, constituted a department, under command of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army.
7, 1861.–Forts Beauregard and Walker, Port Royal Bay, S. C., captured by U. S. Navy.
8, 1861.–General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida.
Reconnaissance on Hilton Head Island, S. C.
10-11, 1861.–Expedition from Hilton Head to Braddock’s Point, S. C.
16, 1861.–Capt. D. N. Ingraham, C. S. Navy, assigned to duty in Charleston Harbor, S. C.
24, 1861.–Union forces occupy Tybee Island, Ga.
Dec.6-7, 1861.–Expedition to Port Royal Ferry and Beaufort, S. C.
17, 1861.–Evacuation of Rockville, S. C., by the Confederate forces.
Skirmish on Chisolm’s Island, S. C.
20, 1861.–Stone fleet sunk at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, S. C.
Jan.1, 1862.–Engagement at Port Royal Ferry, Coosaw River, S. C.
11, 1862.–The Department of Key West, Fla., constituted, under command of Brig. Gen. John M. Brannan, U. S. Army. {p.2}
16, 1862.–Naval descent upon Cedar Keys, Fla.
20, 1862.–Second stone fleet sunk at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, S.C.
22-25, 1862.–Expedition to Edisto Island, S.C.
26-28, 1862.–Reconnaissance to Wilmington Narrows, Ga.; naval engagement.
Feb.6, 1862.–Reconnaissance to Wright River, S. C.
10, 1862.–Skirmish on Barnwell’s Island, S. C.
11, 1862.–Edisto Island, S. C., occupied by Union forces.
15, 1862.–Action at Venus Point, Ga.
23-26, 1862.–Reconnaissance on Bull River and Schooner Channel, S. C.
28, 1862.–Florida expedition sails from Warsaw Sound.
Mar.3, 1862.–General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, called to Richmond, Va.
3, 1862.–Amelia Island, Fla., evacuated by the Confederate forces.
4, 1862.–Amelia Island, Fla., occupied by the Union forces.
4, 1862.–Maj. Gen. John C. Pemberton, C. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida.
7-11, 1862.–Reconnaissance up the Savannah River and to Elba Island.
12, 1862.–Jacksonville, Fla., occupied by the Union forces.
13, 1862.–General Robert E. Lee charged with the conduct of military operations in the armies of the Confederacy.
14, 1862.–Maj. Gen. John C. Pemberton, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of South Carolina and Georgia.
Brig. Gen. James H. Trapier, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of Middle and East Florida.
16, 1862.–The States of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida constituted the Department of the South, to be commanded by Maj. Gen. David Hunter, U. S. Army.
19, 1862.–Col. W. S. Dilworth, Florida, assigned to the command of the Department of Florida, vice Trapier, ordered to Alabama.
19-24, 1862.–Reconnaissance on May River, S. C.
20-24, 1862.–Operations near Bluffton, S. C., including affairs at Buckingham and Hunting Island.
23, 1862.–Affair at Smyrna, Fla.
28, 1862.–Reconnaissance near the mouth of Saint Augustine Creek, Ga.
29, 1862.–Affair on Edisto Island, S. C.
30-31, 1862.–Affairs on Wilmington and Wbitemarsh Islands, Ga.
31, 1862.–Maj. Gen. David Hunter, U. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of the South.
April 5, 1862.–Occupation of Edisto Island, S. C., by the Union forces.
7, 1862.–Major-General Pemberton’s command extended over Middle and Eastern Florida.
5, 1862.–Brig. Gen. Joseph Finegan, C. S. Army, assigned to command of the Department of Middle and Eastern Florida.
9, 1862.–Jacksonville, Fla., evacuated by the Union forces.
10, 1862.–Skirmish near Fernandina, Fla.
10-11, 1862.–Bombardment and capture of Fort Pulaski, Ga.

* On the 27th of May, 1861, Brig. Gen. G. T. Beauregard, being relieved from duty in the State of South Carolina, relinquished to Governor Pickens the command of the State volunteer forces, and transferred to Col. R. H. Anderson the command of the Confederate forces in Charleston Harbor and its vicinity. See Beauregard to Pickens, May 27, 1861, Vol. I, Series IV.

** He had been commanding the District of Savannah, Ga., since April 17, 1861.

NOVEMBER 7, 1861.– Capture of Forts Beauregard and Walker, Port Royal Bay, S. C., by the United States Navy.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. Army, with proclamation.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Drayton, C. S. Army, of the bombardment of Forts Walker and Beauregard.
No. 3.–Col. John A. Wagener, First Artillery, South Carolina Militia, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.{p.3}
No. 4.–Col. William C. Heyward, Eleventh South Carolina Infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.
No. 5.–Col. W. D. De Saussure, Fifteenth South Carolina Infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.
No. 6.–Maj. Francis D. Lee, South Carolina Engineers.
No. 7.–Capt. Josiah Bedon, Eleventh South Carolina Infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.
No. 8.–Capt. D. S. Canaday, Eleventh South Carolina Infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.
No. 9.–Capt. C. D. Owens, Assistant Commissary of Subsistence C. S. Army.
No. 10.–Mr. H. T. Baya, clerk in Confederate Subsistence Department.
No. 11.–Col. R. G. M. Dunovant, Twelfth South Carolina Infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Beauregard.
No. 12.–Capt. Stephen Elliott, Jr., Beaufort Artillery, of the bombardment of Fort Beauregard. No. 13- Statement of Messrs. John Tuomey and Henry C. Robertson of occurrences at Beaufort, S. C., November 7 and 8, 1861.

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. A., with proclamation.

HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., November 8, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the force under my command embarked at Annapolis, Md., on the 21st October, and arrived at Hampton Roads, Va., on the 22d. In consequence of the delay in the arrival of some of our transports and the unfavorable state of the weather the fleet was unable to set out for the Southern coast until the 29th, when, under convoy of a naval squadron, in command of Commodore DuPont, and after the most mature consideration of the objects of the expedition by that flag-officer and myself, it was agreed to first reduce any works that might be found at Port Royal, S. C., and thus open the finest harbor on the coast that exists south of Hatteras. It was calculated to reach Port Royal in five days at most, but in consequence of adverse winds and a perilous storm on the day and night of the 1st November the fleet arrived at Port Royal bar not till the 4th, and then but in part, for it had been almost entirely dispersed by the gale, and the vessels have been straggling in up to this date. The transport steamers Union, Belvidere, Osceola, and Peerless have not arrived. Two of them are known to be lost, and it is probable that all are. It is gratifying, however, to say that none of the troop transports connected with the land forces were lost, though the Winfield Scott had to sacrifice her whole cargo and the Roanoke a portion of her cargo to save the lives of the regiments on board. The former will be unable to again put to sea. The vessels connected with the naval portion of the fleet have also suffered much and some have been lost.

After a careful reconnaissance of Port Royal Bay it was ascertained that the rebels had three field works of remarkable strength, strongly garrisoned, and covered by a fleet of three gunboats, under Captain Tatnall, late of the U. S. Navy, besides strong land forces, which the rebels were concentrating from Charleston and Savannah. The troops of the rebels were afterwards ascertained to have been commanded by General Drayton. One of the forts, and probably the strongest, was {p.4} situated on Hilton Head, and the other two on Phillip’s Island. It was deemed proper to first reduce the fort on Hilton Head, though to do this a greater or less fire might have to be met from the batteries on Bay Point at the same time. Our original plan of co-operation of the land forces in this attack had to be set aside, in consequence of the loss, during the voyage, of a greater portion of our means of disembarkment, together with the fact that the only point where the troops should have landed was from 5 to 6 miles (measuring around the intervening shoal) from the anchoring place of our transports-altogether too great a distance for successful debarkation with our limited means. It was therefore agreed that the place should be reduced by the naval force alone.

In consequence of the shattered condition of the fleet and the delay in the arrival of vessels that were indispensable for the attack it had to be postponed until the 7th instant. I was a mere spectator of the combat, and it is not my province to render any report of this action, but I deem it an imperative duty to say that the firing and maneuvering of our fleet against that of the rebels and their formidable land batteries was a master-piece of activity and professional skill that must have elicited the applause of the rebels themselves as a tactical operation. I think that too much praise cannot be awarded to the science and skill exhibited by the flag-officer of the naval squadron and the officers connected with his ships. I deem the performance a masterly one, and ought to have been seen to be fully appreciated. After the works were reduced I took possession of them with the land forces. The beautifully constructed work on Hilton Head was severely crippled and many of the guns dismounted. Much slaughter had evidently been made there, many bodies having been buried in the fort, and some 20 or 30 were found some half a mile distant.

The island for many miles was found strewed with arms and accouterments and baggage of the rebels, which they threw away in theft hasty retreat. We have also come into possession of about forty pieces of ordnance, most of which is of the heaviest caliber and the most approved models, and a large quantity of ammunition and camp equipage.

It is my duty to report the valuable services of Mr. Boutelle, [C. A.] assistant in the Coast Survey, assisting me with his accurate and extensive knowledge of this country. His services are invaluable to the Army as well as to the Navy, and I earnestly recommend that important notice be taken of this very able and scientific officer by the War Department.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. W. SHERMAN. Brigadier-General, Commanding.




To the People of South Carolina:

In obedience to the orders of the President of these United States of America I have landed on your shores with a small force of national troops. The dictates of a duty which, under these circumstances, I owe to a great sovereign State, and to a proud and hospitable people, among whom I have passed some of the pleasantest days of my life, prompt me to proclaim that we have come amongst you with no feelings {p.5} of personal animosity; no desire to harm your citizens, destroy your property, or interfere with any of your lawful rights or your social and local institutions, beyond what the causes herein briefly alluded to may render unavoidable.

Citizens of South Carolina, the civilized world stands appalled at the course you are pursuing; appalled at the crime you are committing against your own mother-the best, the most enlightened, and heretofore the most prosperous of nations. You are in a state of active rebellion against the laws of your country. You have lawlessly seized upon the forts, arsenals, and other property belonging to our common country and within your borders. With this property you are in arms and waging a ruthless war against your constitutional Government, and thus threatening the existence of a Government which you are bound by the terms of a solemn compact to live under and faithfully support. In doing this you are not only undermining and preparing the way for totally ignoring your own political and social existence, but you are threatening the civilized world with the odious sentiment that self-government is impossible with civilized man.

Fellow-citizens, I implore you to pause and reflect upon the tenor and the consequences of your acts. If the awful sacrifices made by the devastation of our property the shedding of fraternal blood in battle, the mourning and wailing of widows and orphans throughout our land, are insufficient to deter you from further pursuing this unholy war, then ponder, I beseech you, upon the ultimate but not less certain results which its much further progress must necessarily and naturally entail upon your once happy and prosperous State. Indeed, can you pursue this fratricidal war and continue to imbrue your hands in the loyal blood of your countrymen, your friends, your kinsmen, for no other object than to unlawfully disrupt the confederacy of a great people-a confederacy established by your own hands-in order to set up, were it possible, an independent government, under which you can never live in peace, prosperity, or quietness?

Carolinians, we have come among you as loyal men, fully impressed with our constitutional obligations to the citizens of your State. Those obligations shall be performed as far as in our power. But be not deceived. The obligation of suppressing armed combinations against the constitutional authorities is paramount to all others. If in the performance of this duty other minor but important obligations should be in any way neglected, it must be attributed to necessities of the case, because rights dependent on the laws of the State must be necessarily subordinate to military exigencies created by insurrection and rebellion.

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., November 8, 1861.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., November 11, 1861.

SIR: In addition to my report of the 8th instant, and after a more perfect examination into details, I have to state that the number of pieces of ordnance which have fallen into our hands is fifty-two, the bulk of which is of the largest caliber, all with fine carriages, &c., except eight or nine, that were ruined by our fire, which dismounted their pieces. A {p.6} complete inventory of the amount of public property captured is being prepared and will be duly furnished. Besides the wreck of small-arms. &c., thrown away by the rebels in their hasty retreat, as stated in my last, a light battery of two fine 12-pounder howitzers has been found to have been abandoned near the ferry, about 6 miles distant. I have also ascertained by examination that the flight of the rebels extended to Braddock’s Point, at the south end of the island, and about 15 miles distant, the fort at that point being deserted and its guns spiked. It has one 10-inch columbiad and two 5 1/2-inch guns.

On clearing out the fort at Hilton Head the dead body of Dr. Buist, formerly an assistant surgeon in the Army, was found in one of the galleries leading from the terre-plein to a caponiere, he having been killed by the explosion of a shell and buried by the falling in of a parapet. He was the principal surgeon of this fort.

The effect of this victory is startling. Every white inhabitant has left the island. The wealthy islands of Saint Helena, Ladies, and most of Port Royal are abandoned by the whites, and the beautiful estates of the planters, with all their immense property, left to the pillage of hordes of apparently disaffected blacks, and the indications are that the panic has extended to the fort on the north end of Reynolds’ Island, commanding the fine anchorage of Saint Helena Sound. Of this, however, I shall have satisfactory information in a few days. I am now in the occupation of the forts at Hilton Head, the two on Philip’s Island, and the one at Braddock’s Point. The task of unloading our vessels will be a very slow and difficult operation, in consequence of the extended shallow shores, until wharves can be constructed; nevertheless it is expected to be able to leave here with a large force as soon as our defenses are fully under way, to further carry out the grand objects of the expedition.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

The ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY, Washington, D. C.


No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Drayton, C. S. Army, of the bombardment of Forts Walker and Beauregard.

HDQRS. PROV. FORCES, THIRD MIL. DIST., DEPT. S. C., Camp Lee, Hardeeville, November 24, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor of presenting my official report of the engagement on the 7th instant between the Federal fleet, numbering fifteen war steamers and gunboats, and Forts Walker and Beauregard, upon Hilton Head and Bay Point, at the entrance of Port Royal Sound. The fleet was commanded by Capt. S. F. DuPont, flag-officer of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, and the troops on board the transports by Brigadier-General [T. W.] Sherman. The distance between the forts is by Coast Survey two and five-eighths miles.

The enemy’s fleet had been collecting in our waters since the morning of the 4th instant, and had increased in the afternoon to thirty-two war steamers and transports. On receiving a dispatch to this effect from Col. William C. Heyward, commanding the troops at Camp Walker, I {p.7} left my headquarters in Beaufort and repaired by steamer to Bay Point, which I reached at 6 p.m., passing on the way the ever-watchful little fleet of Flag-Officer [Josiah] Tatnall, C. S. Navy.

After remaining in consultation until 1.30 a.m. with Col. R. G. M. Dunovant, commandant of the post, I took my departure, leaving him such general instruction as the uncertain mode and direction from which an attack might be expected would permit. I then visited Commodore Tatnall, and after an interchange of views took leave, crossed over to Hilton Head Island, landed there at daylight on the 5th, and immediately dispatched a courier to Braddock’s Point, south end of the island, ordering Captain Stuart’s company, of Ninth Regiment, to march on Fort Walker, and embark thence to strengthen Captain Elliott’s gunners in Fort Beauregard. This company did not leave on the 6th, as proposed, as Captain Sapard, of the steamer Edith, failed to comply with his orders to carry it across early in the morning. They were dispatched, however, by the first steamer at my disposal on the 7th, and before they had reached half way across the bay they were cut off from Bay Point by the advancing fleet of the enemy, and obliged to seek shelter in Skull Creek, where Captain Stuart disembarked his whole command in safety.

On inspecting Fort Walker shortly after my arrival I found twenty guns, of various caliber, mounted upon the ramparts, thirteen of which were on the channel battery, viz, one 10-inch columbiad in the center flanked to the right by five 32-pounders and one 9-inch Dahlgren rifled cannon, and to the left by six other cannon in the following order: One 32-pounder, one 8-inch columbiad, three 42-pounders, and one rifled 24-pounder; north bastion, one 32-pounder; south bastion, one 32-pounder, one 8-inch howitzer, and one long 12-pounder; south flank of bastion, one navy 32-pounder; demi-lune, two 24-pounders; redan, one navy 8-inch howitzer. Of these eight guns one in the north bastion and two in the south flank could occasionally be used against the ships of war. The rest were for the land defense.

To man the guns within the fort and for an infantry reserve outside we had, until re-enforcements came from Savannah on the afternoon of the 6th, two companies of Colonel Wagener’s First Regiment Artillery, South Carolina Militia, numbering 152 men; three companies of Colonel Heyward’s Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, 210 men; four companies of Col. R. G. M. Dunovant’s Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, under Major Jones, 260 men. Total, 622 men.

There were stationed on the beach at Camp Lookout, 6 miles off, Capt. I. H. Screven’s Mounted Guerrillas, numbering 65, who acted as scouts and couriers.

About 9 o’clock a.m. of the 5th, Commodore Tatnall, who had boldly attacked the enemy’s gunboats on the previous day, again gallantly steamed out to exchange shots with them, but he was met by too large a force, and therefore retired slowly behind our forts. The enemy followed, and engaged both batteries for about forty-five minutes, with no other injury than 3 men slightly burned in Fort Beauregard from the explosion of a caisson struck by a rifle shell.

On the 6th instant the fleet and transports, which had increased to about forty-five sail, would probably have attacked us had not the weather been very boisterous. In the afternoon about 4 o’clock we received our first re-enforcements from Georgia, 450 infantry, under command of Captain Berry, C. S. Army, and Captain Read’s battery of two 12-pounder howitzers and 50 men.


I have reason for supposing that this assistance would have arrived sooner, for General A. R. Lawton, commanding provisional forces in Georgia, wrote from Savannah to Col. W. C. Heyward on the 4th instant, 8.30 p.m., as follows: “From a dispatch received to-day from General Ripley I infer that you (Col. W. C. Heyward) have been sufficiently reinforced from his command until the plans of the enemy shall be more fully developed.”

Two hours after the gallant Georgians came to the rescue I received the welcome intelligence that Colonel De Saussure’s Fifteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, 650 strong, had landed at Seabrook’s Wharf upon Skull Creek, and were close at hand.

At last the memorable 7th dawned upon us bright and serene, not a ripple upon the broad expanse of water to disturb the accuracy of fire from the broad decks of that magnificent armada about advancing in battle array to vomit forth its iron hail with all the spiteful energy of long-suppressed rage and conscious strength. At 9.25 a.m. one 9-inch Dahlgren gun opened fire upon the gun steamship Wabash, flag-ship of Capt. S. F. DuPont, which led the van, closely succeeded by fourteen other large steamers and gunboats.

The shell from the Dahlgren exploded near the muzzle, and was harmless. Other shots followed from both forts, and soon the fire became general on land and water. In spite of our fire, directed with deliberation and coolness, the fleet soon passed both batteries apparently unharmed, and then returning delivered in their changing rounds a terrific shower of shot and shell in flank and front.

Besides this moving battery, the fort was enfiladed by two gunboats anchored to the north off the mouth of Fish Hall Creek, and another at a point on the edge of the shoals to the south. This enfilading fire on so still a sea annoyed and damaged us excessively, particularly as we had no gun on either flank of the bastion to reply with, for the 32-pounder on the right flank was shattered very early by around shot, and on the north flank for want of a carriage no gun had been mounted. After the fourth fire the 10-inch columbiad bounded over the limber and became useless. The 24-pounder rifled cannon was choked while ramming down a shell, and lay idle during nearly the whole engagement. The shells for the 9-inch Dahlgren were also too large. The fourth shell attempted to be rammed home could not be driven below the trunnions, and was then at great risk discharged.

Thus far the fire of the enemy had been endured and replied to with the unruffled courage of veterans. At 10.30 our gunners became so fatigued that I left the fort, accompanied by one of my volunteer aides, Capt. H. Rose, and went back to Captain Read’s battery (one and three-quarter miles in the rear of the fort) and brought the greater pact of his men back to take the places of our exhausted men inside the fort. It was while thus engaged with Captain Read’s company that Col. W. H. Stiles rode up and reported his regiment about 2 miles off. I instantly directed my aide, Lieutenant Drayton, to accompany Colonel Stiles to the road along which his regiment was advancing, and to station it in position by the side of the other Georgia troops. On entering the fort with Captain Read’s company they were cordially greeted by both officers and men.

The vigorous attack from the fleet continued unabated, with still no decided damage to any of their ships. About 12.30 p.m. I again went out of the fort with my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Young, for the purpose of mustering together the infantry and reserves, and have them in readiness for any eventuality. Before leaving, however, I turned {p.9} over the command to Colonel Heyward, with directions to hold out as long as any effective fire could be returned.

Having mounted our horses, we rejoined the troops near Hospital No. 2. I received information through one of the vedettes that a steamer and small boats were sounding close to the beach. I detached Captain Berry, with three companies of his battalion, under the guidance of Capt. Ephraim Barnard, volunteer aide, to watch the enemy, beat them back if they attempted to land, and give notice if he wanted support. I then, with some of my staff, rode to collect together the other troops, who, through ignorance of our island roads, had lost their way and had not yet come up.

On the road leading to wharf on Skull Creek, about one and one-fourth miles from Fort Walker I unexpectedly met General Ripley and staff. Saluting him, I inquired if he visited the island to assume command, and whether he wished to go back with me into the fort. He said no, but that he would return to Coosawhatchie to collect and bring back two or three regiments to my support. We then moved from under the fire of the ships to the shelter of some myrtles, where we could not be seen. I then stated to him the incidents of the morning; how the men had fought, that the day was going against us, and I was then collecting my forces for any emergency that might arise; and, if compelled to defend the island, it should by retained to the last extremity. We then parted, he taking the road toward the ferry and I in pursuit of the purposes which brought me out of the fort.

On reaching my reserves at Hospital No. 2 I learned that the enemy had ceased making soundings and had gone back to sea, whereupon I dispatched Captain Read to order Captain Berry to return from the beach.

Two o’clock had now arrived, when I noticed our men coming out of the fort, which they had bravely defended for four and a half hours against fearful odds, and then only retiring when all but three of the guns on the water front had been disabled, and only 500 pounds of powder in the magazine, commencing the action with 220 men inside the fort, afterwards increased to 255 by the accession from Read’s battery. These heroic men retired slowly and sadly from their well-fought guns, which to have defended longer would have exhibited the energy of despair rather than the manly pluck of the true soldier.

The defense of this post involved a twofold preparation: first to repel the attack from the fleet, and secondly an assault by the beach from the troops upon the transports. By the beach we had to provide against an attack from the north under cover of the bluff south of Fish Hall Creek, and from the south by the beach under cover of the woods, between where a picket of 25 men were posted, under Capt. Paul H. Seabrook, and lastly by the road leading from the beach to the second hospital. To guard against surprise either by Fish Hall Creek or by the beach, when I was returning to the fort with a portion of Captain Read’s company, I at the same time led up Colonel De Saussure’s regiment to the hollow west of the road and directed them to lie down. They were perfectly masked from the fire of the fort, but not from that of the fleet, for the watchmen at the mast-heads gave notice of their position, compelling Colonel De Saussure after a short time to fall back under a heavy fire to a less dangerous locality.

Had the intrenched camp, with store-houses and magazines, been made in time several lives and large quantities of public property might have been saved; but it was impossible to have made this within the short time and with the diminutive force at my disposal, for on my {p.10} arrival at headquarters in Beaufort, on the night of the 17th October, the number of troops at Camp Walker was but 362, afterward increased on the 24th to 622 by the accession of four companies under Major Jones, of Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. To this may be added the engineer force of some 60 men, who, with the soldiers, worked incessantly day and night. As for evidence of what they accomplished: The 8-inch columbiad on the water front was only mounted on the 1st November, one 8-inch howitzer in the salient of the south bastion, mounted on the 4th; one 32-pounder on the right flank of bastion, mounted on the 5th; one 8-inch howitzer mounted on a ship carriage; embrasure cut through parapet of demi-lune on the night of the 5th; covered way and hot-shot furnace for 42-pounders, constructed of earth and dry masonry, on the morning of the 6th, together with wads of moss and hay for same; splinter-proof, occupying only one-half terreplein behind the principal traverse, was finished on the morning of the engagement (7th instant), the material not having arrived before the 4th instant.

The retreat was commenced about 3 p.m. toward Ferry Point, about 6 miles off, Colonel De Saussure’s regiment and Capt. I. Read’s company of artillery bringing up the rear. At 1.30 a.m., by the aid of Commodore Tatnall’s fleet, the steamers St. Johns and Edisto, and three large flats, capable of holding 150 men each, the troops were all safely embarked without provisions, no ammunition but what was contained in the cartridge-boxes (the 100,000 cartridges I had made requisition for, and been anxiously expecting, not having reached us until after the battle), and fearing that our retreat would be cut off by the enemy’s gunboats at Skull Creek, no other alternative was left but to leave the island and concentrate upon the main-land, where we would be enabled to fight the enemy on more equal terms should he venture beyond the protection of his fleet and attack us there.

The muskets captured by the enemy, with the exception of some ten or fifteen, were those left in the fort, shattered by shot and shell, others left in camp belonging to men on sick leave, or to those engaged in heating hot-shot furnaces two days before the fight, and some boxes of arms which had been left on the wharf the night before the battle, belonging to the sick men of Colonel De Saussure’s regiment, who had been left behind at Lightwood Knot, and which could have been saved, with a box of swords, if the captains of the steamers Edisto and St. Johns had not refused to take them on board when directed to do so.

To Captain Tatnall, flag-officer C. S. Navy, and the officers and men of his little fleet, I cannot too highly express my admiration of their intrepidity and hardihood in attacking the enemy’s gunboats on the 4th and 5th instants. These encounters, by interrupting their soundings and the location of their buoys, no doubt prevented our being attacked on Tuesday, the 5th instant, before our re-enforcements reached us. I must also acknowledge the assistance extended to us by the gallant commodore with his boats on the night of our retreat from the island.


The attack upon the fort, though not so concentrated and heavy as that upon Walker, was nevertheless very severe. Its armament was nineteen guns, of which the following, viz, one 8-inch Rodman, bored to 24-pounder and rifled; two 42-pounders; one 10-inch columbiad; two 42-pounders, reamed to eight inches, and one 32-pounder in hot-shot battery, were the only guns capable of being used against the fleet.

The force on Bay Point was 640 men, commanded by Col. R. G. M. {p.11} Dunovant, Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. Of the above, 149 garrisoned Fort Beauregard, under the immediate command of Capt. Stephen Elliott, jr., Beaufort Volunteer Artillery, Company A, Ninth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. The infantry force of Colonel Dunovant’s regiment was intrusted with the protection of the eastern part of the island, and of the defense of the bastion line at the Island Narrows, where an attack was expected from the enemy.

Knowing how small a force Captain Elliott had to command his batteries, I ordered, as soon as I reached Hilton Head, on the 5th instant, Captain Stuart’s company (Hamilton Guards), Ninth [Company E., Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, to march upon Fort Walker from Braddock’s Point and take thence the steamer Edith for Bay Point, but the failure of Captain Sapard, of the Edith, to fulfill his appointment at the hour designated, prevented me from supporting Captain Elliott as I desired. But on Thursday morning, 7th instant, having obtained the steamer Emma, I dispatched Captain Stuart’s company in her to Fort Beauregard. The rapid advance of the enemy’s fleet, however, to the attack on the batteries cut off and compelled her, at the risk of being intercepted, to turn back and seek shelter in Skull Creek, on the shores of which Captain Stuart’s company safely disembarked and joined me in the afternoon; and here again was exhibited another act of heroism on the part of our veteran commodore, who to save the Emma interposed his own frail flag-steamer between her and the advancing flag-ship of Commodore DuPont, drawing upon himself her entire broadside, and thus diverting this huge leviathan temporarily from her course, secured the safety of the Emma at the peril of his own vessel.

The non-arrival of any re-enforcements at Camp Walker until the night of the 6th instant also prevented me from sending the four companies of the Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, under Major Jones, to the support of the other six companies of the regiment at Bay Point.

For the details of the engagement at this post, the notable examples of bravery, the general good conduct, their well-timed retreat in the direction indicated by the dotted red lines on the map appended,* I beg leave to refer you to the official reports of Colonel Dunovant and Captain Elliott. But among the many officers and men honorably noticed on this occasion in the official report of Colonel Dunovant, none of them are so justly entitled to well-merited encomium as Capt. Stephen Elliott, the commander of the fort. Others may have exhibited an equal amount of cool bravery in front of the foe, but his opportunities enabled him to surpass all his brother officers in the skillful arrangement of his defenses, superb condition of his batteries, and in the high discipline which he had imparted to his model company, the creature of his own indefatigable exertions.

The delays and dangers incident to the manner in which troops and supplies of all kinds were landed at the forts of Port Royal and the absence of all means of retreat in case of disaster had attracted my most serious attention immediately after I assumed command at Beaufort, on the evening of the 7th instant. I immediately took steps for remedying the first and providing for the last.

With the double object of landing supplies in all weather at Bay Point, and at the same time of furnishing the means of retreat beyond the range of the enemy’s guns, I directed one of my volunteer aides, Capt. T. R. S. Elliott, to make an examination of the adjacent creeks {p.12} to the north of the fort. He reported that about 3 miles from the mouth of Moss Creek there was a depth of water sufficient for steamers drawing 7 feet at low water, and that from thence a causeway of 300 yards over the marsh might easily be made, and furnish a sure means of transportation, and thus avoid the losses and delays which had previously occurred in landing from the steamers into flats upon the beach.

From the point above indicated in Moss Creek flats were to have been provided and stationed to convey the soldiers in case of emergency across the creek, thence by land to Station Creek, where other flats were to be placed for the same object as at Moss Creek. Landing at Saint Helena the transit to White Hall Ferry opposite Beaufort was comparatively safe.

On Hilton Head I also commenced repairing the wharf at Seabrook’s Landing, on Skull Creek, with a view of transporting stores to Fort Walker when the weather was too boisterous to land them in the surf. The completion of the wharf was prevented, however, by the unexpected attack of the enemy, though in its incomplete state it had already been put to successful use.

I succeeded, however, in obtaining from Charleston two flats and two troop boats, and from Savannah three large flats, capable of containing 150 men each, which reached Jenkins’ Island Ferry in time to assist in embarking our troops on the night of the retreat. Three other smaller ones were sent at the same time to White Hall Ferry, which assisted in performing the same good offices for Colonel Dunovant’s command. The rest of the scheme, for want of time and flats, could not be carried out in the manner I intended.

For the purpose of sending messages between Forts Walker and Beauregard, and thence to my headquarters at Beaufort, I had prepared, by the assistance of Captain Lynah, another of my aides, a number of signal flags, the designs of which had already been prepared and painted, and only needed a few more days to have been put into operation.

In alluding as I have to these matters I do not mean to reflect upon any person, or to say these pressing wants could have been supplied anterior to the period when I entered upon my new duties. My design has been to exhibit the condition in which I found my command, and to show that I have left no effort untried to improve it.

Notwithstanding the prompt measures adopted by Colonel Dunovant to effect his retreat in the direction of the Narrows, it is surprising that, with the knowledge possessed by the enemy (through Mr. Boutelle and others connected with the Coast Survey), his retreat had not been intercepted by gunboats passing up towards Beaufort, and mine by other steamers taking the passage through Skull Creek towards the ferry landing. Why they did not adopt this course must be left to time to explain.

Casualties.-The following is a correct list of killed, wounded, missing, and prisoners:

Fort walker102030
Fort Beauregard1313
15th South Carolina11516
Sick in hospital33
Command not stated44

The heads of the quartermaster’s end commissary’s departments, Maj. E. Willis and Capt. C. D. Owens, have discharged their several duties with economy and fidelity. The reports hereunto appended of these officers and of their assistants show how unwearied and earnest were their efforts to save the public property left at the headquarters in Beaufort. I must likewise make honorable mention of Col. W. C. Heyward, Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, who commanded in Fort Walker and its vicinity, and who during the battle made the best use of the means at his disposal. Col. John A. Wagener, First Regiment Artillery South Carolina Militia, supported by Maj. Arthur M. Huger, of the same regiment, was placed in the immediate command of all the batteries, nine of which, upon the water front, were manned by the German Artillery, Companies A and B, Capts. H. Harms and D. Werner, First Regiment Artillery South Carolina Militia, all of whom fought under the flag of their adopted country with an enthusiasm which could not have been surpassed had they been fighting in defense of their own fatherland.

The remaining four batteries on the left flank of the water front were under the direction of Capt. Josiah Bedon, Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. The flanking and rear guns of the fort were manned by detachments from Captain Bedon’s, Canaday’s, and White’s companies, Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. Maj. F. D. Lee, South Carolina Engineers and constructing engineer of Fort Walker, not only fought gallantly at the batteries, but afforded valuable assistance at other points in the work during the contest.

Capt. Joseph A. Yates, Battalion South Carolina Artillery, and acting ordnance officer, was zealous in the execution of all the duties assigned to him. Toward the close of the fight he was severely wounded, but has since recovered, and is again ready in another field to resist all marauders that may approach our shores. Dr. Ogier and his able assistants, Drs. W. C. Ravenel, and William Elliott, a volunteer from Savannah, Ga., were present, and rendered efficient service in the hospitals. I cannot but regret the painful wound which has been the cause of the resignation of Dr. Ogier as medical director in my military district.

In conclusion, I cannot but express my high appreciation of the gallant behavior of my aides, Capt. Henry E. Young and Lieut. J. E. Drayton, as also that of the gentlemen comprising my volunteer staff, Capts. L. Cheves, H. Rose, E. Lynah, J. E. Eddings, J. I. Middleton, jr., and Joseph A. Huger. The names of the officers and men not mentioned in my report will be found deservedly mentioned in the official reports of the colonels of regiments, commandants of batteries, and chiefs of the general staff.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, yours,

THOS. F. DRAYTON, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. L. D. WALKER, Assistant Adjutant-General, Charleston, S. C.


HDQRS. PROV. FORCES, DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, Charleston, November 19, 1861.

It might be proper to remark upon the within report and some probably inadvertent inaccuracies, or to give a report of movements and orders from these headquarters and instructions given after news was {p.14} received that the enemy’s fleet was intended for Port Royal and how they were carried out and followed. I deem, however, that no good would result to the service from a discussion of these points at this time; and requesting that, should it be thought proper to publish this report, it should be published with this indorsement, it is respectfully forwarded.

R. S. RIPLEY, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* Not found.


No. 3.

Report of Col. John A. Wagener, First Artillery, South Carolina Militia, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.

CHARLESTON, November 11, 1861.

SIR: In consequence of our fatiguing retreat from the island of Hilton Head I am only now able to render you my official report of that disastrous day, together with the returns, in part only, as I have not been able to obtain the reports of Captains Bedon, Canaday, and White, of Colonel Heyward’s regiment, which I would beg you to receive through Colonel Heyward.

On Thursday morning, the 7th instant, the fleet which had been watching us for days began to move in such a manner that I had the long roll beat immediately, and in one and a half minutes every cannoneer was at his post. The armament of the fort was divided into batteries and served as follows, viz:

Right channel battery: Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, German Artillery, Company B, Capt. H. Harms. Center channel battery: Nos. 6, 7, 8, and 9, German Artillery, Company A, Capt. D. Werner. Left channel battery:

Nos. 10, 11, 12, and 13, Company C, Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Capt. Josiah Bedon. These were the front batteries, all under command of Maj. A. M. Huger, First Artillery, South Carolina Militia.

The flanking and rear guns were manned by detachments from Captains Bedon’s, Canaday’s, and White’s companies, Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment, under the command of Captain Canaday. The reserve was under charge of Captain White. The first gun (32-pounder rifle), which was loaded with a percussion shell, I directed myself, but unfortunately the shell exploded directly in front of the muzzle.

The battle opened, I think, a few minutes before 9 o’clock a.m. The enemy had chosen a day which was entirely propitious to him. The water was as smooth as glass. The air was just sufficient to blow the smoke of his guns into our faces, where it would meet the column of our own smoke and prevent our sight, excepting by glimpses. The sailing vessels of our opponents were towed by his steamers, and thus could maneuver on the broad expanse of Port Royal with the accuracy of well-trained battalions. No sooner did we obtain his range than it would be changed, and time after time rechanged, while the deep water permitted him to choose his own position, and fire shot after shot and shell after shell with the precision of target practice. Most unfortunate for us was the mistake of the engineers, which I had pointed out before the battle, of having failed to establish a battery on the bluff which commanded our flank. The enemy having taken position in the month of the creek exposed us to a raking fire, which did us the greatest damage, dismounting our guns and killing and wounding numbers of our men.


Major Huger reports to me as follows, viz:

Up to some minutes after 9 o’clock a.m. the firing was very slow, the range being too great. About that time, however, the enemy reached a position in front of the batteries at about one and a quarter miles range at easy speed, delivering a slow but well-directed fire, and evidencing their determination to pass beyond, which I endeavored by a rapid fire of shell and hot shot to prevent, but the long range and moving objects did not let me succeed. In a few minutes several of the enemy’s ships passed well beyond us. Three of them took position to enfilade our batteries from our northwest flank, while others, which had not yet got into action, assumed direction opposite our southeast front, and their largest ship (the Minnesota) returned down our front, delivering a beautifully accurate fire at short range, supported at rather longer range by the fire of two other large ships of war. So soon as these positions had become established the fort was fought simply as a point of honor, for from that moment we were defeated, excepting perhaps by providential interference.

Our guns were fought, nevertheless, with determination and skill, and did a great deal of damage to the enemy. About 11 o’clock it was reported to me that the Bay Point batteries had been silenced, whereupon we determined that we would have to fight so much harder, and I am proud to say our men were equal to the exigencies of the occasion. Between 12 and 1 o’clock I was knocked down by a piece of shell, and a good deal stunned. I sent for Major Huger and transferred the command of the fort to him, to enable me to get a few moments’ rest. By a little after 1 o’clock Major Huger informed Colonel Heyward, commanding the island, that the ammunition was nearly gone. It was thereupon determined by the order of the general commanding to evacuate the works. Three sections of the German Artillery, under Captain Harms, Lieut. F. Melchers, and Orderly Bischoff, were detailed to continue a slow fire while the wounded were removed, and the garrison was ordered to retreat by dispersion. Near 2 o’clock Major Huger ordered the last detachment from their guns.

By this time the field in our rear was covered with the shells of the enemy, and it is by the intervention of God’s providence only that not more were lost. The fort was gone, but our honor was saved. Of the channel battery only three guns were in condition to have continued the fight, which would have been hopeless under any circumstances. A retreat was consequently ordered. On reaching Bluffton, the general commanding was kind enough to order our battalion here with expressions of approval, for which I respectfully tender him my thanks.

I beg leave to inclose you a return of our killed and severely wounded. The slightly wounded have not been mentioned, for they are very numerous. The general commanding will concur with me that this has been one of the hardest-fought fields on record, and I would be very grateful to him for the public expression of his opinion, to set the tongue of slander at rest and encourage our citizen soldiery. I beg leave also respectfully to bring to his notice the names of the following officers and men who have particularly distinguished themselves by acts of heroism, viz:

Major Huger, the bravest of the brave; Lieut. [J. E.] Heape, of Captain Bedon’s company, whom I saw myself save a poor, severely-wounded soldier in the terrible shell-fire of the enemy while crossing the field in retreat; Mr. Carlsen, of the German Artillery, who replaced the Confederate flag on the rampart in a storm of shot and shell; Private Julius Wagener, a boy only fifteen years of age, who replanted our noble Palmetto banner on the ramparts, whence it had been shot down-I would not have mentioned his name, he being my own son, but for the opinion that he may hereafter become very useful to his country; Private Geilfuss, German Artillery, who brought away the Palmetto flag, and was otherwise heroically attentive to his duties.

I deem, besides, specially deserving the notice of the general commanding {p.16} Major Barnwell and Captains Yates and Read, of the Regular Army; Major Lee, of the engineers; Col. Gaston Allen, who kindly acted as my special aide, and my entire staff, who did their duty well.

I may further mention as deserving of great praise Captain Bedon and his officers and Captain Harms and his officers, Captain Werner and his officers, especially Lieutenant Melchers, who fired the last gun. Private Heidenreich and Corporals Petersen and Stelljes, of the German Artillery, deserve to be praisefully mentioned, likewise several members of the Ninth Eleventh Regiment, whose names I have not been able to remember. Captains Canaday and White and their officers, Lieutenant Scanlan, of the ordnance, and Sergeants Cameron and Bruggermaun, have also done well. Indeed, where all were heroes, with very few exceptions, it is the voice of our country only which is strong enough to proclaim their “well done.”

The entire force in the works consisted of 220 men, as detailed by my special alarm regulations, and these had to resist an overpowering array of seventeen war vessels, with nearly 400 guns of the best and heaviest caliber. All the guns, as is usual in sand batteries, worked hard, adding much to the labor of the men, who had already worked hard and enjoyed little or no rest for several days preceding. I had great reason to be grateful to Captain Read’s regulars for their brave and valuable aid.

Under the circumstances of our retreat nothing whatever could be saved by the men. They had been working at the guns in most cases in shirt sleeves; the sand had covered their knapsacks and muskets, sometimes two or three feet deep, and very few arms were therefore brought off and very few knapsacks and clothing saved. They are entirely destitute, and should be cared for by the State. The officers have also lost all, in some cases even their swords. The Confederate flag was rent into so many shreds that no piece could be found. The Palmetto flag, however, has been brought home, decorated with many a token of the enemy’s wrath.

The battle of Port Royal, it is true, has been lost, but the enemy, I sincerely believe, have paid very dear for their success, and we may console ourselves with the conviction that we have not only done our duty manfully under the most terrific circumstances, but that we have for five hours defended a position against the most scientific and bravest seamen which one of our best generals and engineers had pronounced untenable.

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN A. WAGENER, Colonel First Artillery, S. C. M., late Comdt. Fort Walker.

Capt. H. E. YOUNG, Assistant Adjutant-General.


No. 4.

Report of Col. William C. Heyward, Eleventh South Carolina Infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.


SIR: On the morning of Thursday, the 7th November, I was placed in command of Fort Walker, Cot J. A. Wagener and Maj. A. M. Ruger {p.17} having the immediate command of the batteries, assisted by Captain Yates and Maj. John Barnwell. The enemy opened fire upon us about 9 a.m., which was briskly returned by us until many of our guns were either disabled by them or rendered useless by various accidents. The two rifled guns failed, in consequence of it being found impossible to force down the shells, after two or three discharges. The 10-inch gun at the fourth or fifth discharge was rendered useless. Two of the 42-pounders were also rendered useless.

About 2 p.m., finding the fire of our batteries had nearly ceased, I inquired of Major Huger where Colonel Wagener was. He informed me that the colonel had been stunned by the bursting of a shell, and that he (Major Huger) was then in command of the battery. On consulting with him it was determined that Mr. L. Cheves and myself (Mr. Cheves acting as aide to General Drayton) should proceed to the magazine and inquire into the state of the ammunition. On reaching the door we were met by Lieutenant Scanlan, who reported that there were about ten or eleven rounds for 32-pounders left. On returning and reporting this to Major Huger it was decided that, as we could fight no longer with any hope of success, one or two guns should still be served slowly until all the wounded could be removed, and then to evacuate the fort. This was fortunately accomplished with but little additional loss, and the retreat to Buckingham Ferry commenced.

For particulars respecting the officers and men of my own regiment on duty in the fort I refer you to the reports of Capt. Josiah Bedon and Capt. D. S. Canaday. The list of killed and wounded has already been sent in by my adjutant. Colonel Wagener’s report, I presume, will furnish all the necessary information respecting his regiment. I regret that my report should be so short, but without a room for myself, with very little convenience for writing, constant applications for leave of absence, noise and confusion about me, I find it impossible to write more.

Yours, respectfully,

WM. C. HEYWARD, Colonel Ninth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

Capt. H. E. YOUNG, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Captain Bedon and Lieuts. J. E. Heape, J. J. Guerard, and W. A. Boyle behaved with distinguished bravery during the whole action. Mr. Joseph A. Huger and Mr. Hugh Rose, aides to General Drayton, rendered great assistance and displayed great coolness.

* This organization is borne on the Confederate registers as the Eleventh Regiment.


No. 5.

Report of Col. W. D. De Saussure, Fifteenth South Carolina infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.

CAMP LEE, November 17, 1861.

SIR: In compliance with instructions from the general commanding, I beg leave to make the following report of casualties in the Fifteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers at the battle of Fort Walker, on Hilton Head Island, on the 7th of November, 1861.* {p.18}

As the command was all day under the eye of the general I deem it unnecessary to report its operations during the engagement, but cannot close without bringing to the notice of the general commanding that Col. Randolph Spaulding, of Georgia, attached himself to Company B of this regiment, and fought throughout the day as a private in the ranks.

Respectfully submitted.

W. D. DE SAUSSURE, Colonel Fifteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

Capt. H. E. YOUNG, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* Nominal list, omitted, shows 2 officers (Lieuts. Z. E. Suggart and James Norris) killed, and 2 officers and 12 enlisted men wounded, but see statement of casualties on p. 12.


No. 6.

Report of Maj. Francis D. Lee, South Carolina Engineers.

NEW RIVER BRIDGE, December 4, 1861.

SIR: In obedience to instructions I have the honor of submitting the following report of the defenses of Hilton Head up to the time of the bombardment of Fort Walker, November 7, 1861:

As Chief of Engineers S. C. A., I received instructions during the month of May, 1861, from General Beauregard, then commanding provisional forces in South Carolina, to carry into execution the defensive works on this coast. The general location of these defenses, together with the number and character of guns to be employed, was designated by General Beauregard, and the immediate necessity of the early completion of the proposed works was urged upon those in authority.

In the month of June I received an appropriation of $15,000, and with this limited means at my disposal commenced the works at Port Royal, Captain Gregorie, S. C. A., being charged with the construction of Fort Beauregard at Bay Point. Shortly after the commencement of this work Maj. J. H. Trapier, C. S. Engineers, having been charged with the engineering work in this State, and by order of the governor having transferred to Major Trapier the corps then under my command, I was instructed to proceed to Hilton Head and carry into execution the defensive work at that point.

I immediately on the receipt of this order organized a party of artisans, and leaving Charleston July 1, 1861, reached Hilton Head on the 3d of the same month. The labor necessary for the conduct of the work was to be immediately furnished by the planters of the vicinity, but owing to some delays in the issuing of the order no laboring force was put at my disposal for three weeks after my arrival at Hilton Head.

In the mean time I designed and laid out the proposed work, a sketch* of which accompanies this report. The armament of the water front, as ordered by General Beauregard, consisted of seven 10-inch columbiads, and my plans were arranged for such a battery. The interior slopes of the water battery were consequently intended for seven circular traverses against enfilading fire. The labor having arrived, the work was rapidly pressed forward, and by September 1, 1861, was ready to receive its armament. In place of receiving seven 10-inch guns, but one could be procured, together with one 10-inch columbiad, model bored to a 32-pounder and rifled; one 8-inch columbiad, model bored to a 24-pounder and rifled; one 8-inch columbiad; nine navy 32-pounders; three navy {p.19} 42-pounders; three navy 8-inch howitzers; two 24-pounders; two 42-pounder carronades, and two long English 12-pounders. Thirteen of these, viz, one 10-inch columbiad; one 10-inch columbiad, pattern bored to a 32-pounder and rifled; one 8-inch columbiad, pattern bored to a 24-pounder and rifled; one 8-inch columbiad; six navy 32-pounders, and three navy 42-pounders, being in all 13 guns, were ordered to be placed on the water front.

This involved the necessity of subdividing the spaces allotted to the guns in this battery, and consequently placing them in such near proximity as effectually to prevent the construction of traverses against enfilading fire. The salient of the bastions of the fort on the land side, and also of the demi-lune, were arranged for circular traverses, some of which were sent me; but, the necessary chassis and carriages never having arrived, I was forced to make use of two spare carriages, viz, one low navy carriage-to suit which an embrasure had to be cut through the salient of the demi-lune on the eve of the engagement-and one barbette carriage, the latter of which was placed in the salient of the south bastion, but with a limited traverse segment.

Two 8-inch navy howitzers were mounted on these carriages. The third 8-inch howitzer, intended for the salient of the north bastion, was never mounted, no carriage having arrived for it. Besides these, one navy 32-pounder was mounted on the exterior angle of each bastion, and one long English 12-pounder, en embrasure, was placed in the shoulders, to enfilade the curtain face of the work. One of these last was afterwards removed for beach defense. Besides the 8-inch howitzer two 24-pounders, en barbette, were mounted in the demi-lune.

For beach defense two heavy shell guns were designated to occupy the two exterior flanking works, which commanded the beach approaches on both sides, and to give a cross-fire on the front of the glacis, or, more properly, cover face to the water front of the works. In place of these, two light carronades arrived a short time before the bombardment, but without carriages or chassis. They were therefore simply buried in the sand to such depth and with such directions as to enable us to have at least one fire in the event of an attempt to storm the work. In addition to these the 12-pounder from the north bastion was placed in such position as to sweep the beach by the approach from the south. The ditches on the water front not being protected by bastions, I arranged caponieres, constructed of palmetto logs, pierced for two tiers of musketry, approached by galleries leading under the parapets from the interior of the fort. These completed the ditch defenses, and enabled us, in the event of the enemy attempting to cross the ditch at any point, to pour in a cross-fire of canister and ball. As a protection to the land batteries of the fort I constructed a heavy traverse longitudinally to the work, and to insure against casualties from shot and shell bursting in the parade I arranged small traverses in rear of each gun of the water battery, sufficiently low, however, as to offer no obstacle to the passage of such shell as might graze the parapet of the water front.

It was my purpose to construct a splinter-roof over the entire place of arms between the principal traverse and the curtain of the work, and had ordered all the necessary material for that purpose. My requisitions for a steamer to transport the same some 30 miles were, however, not complied with, and I was enabled to cover in only about one-third of the proper space, and then by bringing ranging timber by hand nearly 2 miles, and by working day and night.

The magazine of the work was large and complete, and so protected that, though an enormous amount of shot and shell was fired against it, {p.20} it remained at the close of the action as strong and secure as before the fight. No permanent hot-shot furnace was constructed, but a portion of the material for one which had been ordered arrived a few days before the action, and from it a temporary one was constructed on Tuesday, November 5. This work was well and rapidly executed by my artisans while under the fire of the enemy, and I feel it my duty to call to your attention the cool bravery of Mr. Patterson and the artisans under him in executing my orders under the most trying circumstances. Besides the above-mentioned temporary furnace a portable one had arrived some time before the bombardment, but of exceedingly limited capacity. In connection with the fort it was proper to construct a line of infantry works about 2 miles to the south, and also a battery at the outlet of Skull Creek into Broad River; but, for reasons over which I had no control, these works were never carried into execution.

Such was the condition of the defenses at Hilton Head on the morning of November 7, 1861. As an offensive work, Fort Walker proved itself unequal to the immense force brought against it. As a defensive work, it accomplished its purpose by so well protecting the lives of the garrison that after sustaining an incessant fire of shot and shell for nearly five hours but 10 of the garrison were reported killed. This number would, I believe, have been materially lessened had the traverses on the water front been practicable.

At the close of the engagement the fort had received but little damage, although hundreds of shot and shell were buried in the parapets and traverses.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

FRANCIS D. LEE, Major, Engineers, S. C. A.

Capt. H. E. YOUNG, Assistant Adjutant-General, Hardeeville.

* To appear in Atlas.


No. 7.

Report of Capt. Josiah Bedon, Eleventh South Carolina infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.

CAMP LEE, November 12, 1861.

SIR: The following is respectfully submitted as a report of the part taken in the defense of Fort Walker, on the 7th instant, by Company C, of this regiment:

The company was posted in the battery at 7.30 o’clock a.m. Five guns were assigned the company-one rifled 24-pounder, under my immediate charge; three 42-pounders, under charge of Lieuts. J. E. Heape, J. J. Guerard, and W. A. Boyle, respectively; one 32-pounder in left bastion of the fort. The rifled gun and the three 42-pounders were on the left front of the fort.

Early in the engagement, which commenced about 9.30 o’clock a.m., the rifled gun and one of the 42s became disabled. Late in the action another 42-pounder became disabled. The remaining 42 and one 32 pounder were served until the ammunition failed. About 2.30 o’clock p.m. we were ordered to evacuate the fort. My company retired in good order, bearing with them their arms.

Two men were slightly wounded, Privates G. Munroe and T. Hudson, and 3 taken prisoners, who were sick in hospital.

I beg leave respectfully to call your attention to the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Heape, who had charge of a 42-pounder until disabled and {p.21} afterwards took charge of a 32-pounder in the left bastion of the fort, as also that of Lieutenants Guerard and Boyle. The sergeants who were chiefs of pieces acted with great coolness and bravery.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOSIAH BEDON, Captain Company C, Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment S. C. Vols.

Lieut. E. W. FRASER, Adjutant Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment S. C. Volunteers.


No. 8.

Report of Capt. D. S. Canaday, Eleventh South Carolina Infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Walker.

HDQRS. NINTH [ELEVENTH] REGIMENT S. C. VOLS., Camp Lee, November 12, 1861.

SIR: The following is respectfully submitted as a report of the part taken in the defense of Fort Walker on the 7th instant by detachments from Companies F and H, of this regiment, under my command:

There were six guns under my charge-one 32-pounder on the right flank of the fort, two in the right bastion of the fort, one a 32-pounder and the other a 24-pounder. The remaining three were in the redan, two 24-pounders mid one 32-pounder howitzer, Lieuts. F. B. Appleby and T. E. Raysor, of Company H, were in charge of the guns in bastion and redan, and acted with coolness and bravery. But two of the guns could be used in the action, as the others could only be used in land defense. One 32-pounder was disabled by solid shot early in the engagement. The other 32-pounder was served until ammunition gave out.

The officers and men acted with bravery and coolness. One private in Company F (Burnett) was killed; Corporal O. Quin and Privates I. Martin and William Hudson slightly wounded. In Company H were wounded in the arm Corporal E. T. Howell, and slightly in the thigh Private P. Heaton. The remainder of my company and of Company H were acting as infantry outside the fort. Missing from my company (H) Private J. Judah, and from Company F Privates James Bryant and James Colson.

We were ordered to evacuate the fort about 2.30 o’clock p.m., and the detachment retreated in good order, carrying with them their arms, except those which were shot to pieces by the enemy’s fire.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. S. CANADAY, Captain Company H.

Lieut. E. W. FRASER, Adjutant Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment S. C. Volunteers.


No. 9.

Statement of Capt. C. D. Owens, Assistant Commissary of Subsistence, C. S. Army.

OFFICE A. C. S., THIRD MIL. DIST., DEPT. S. C., Camp Lee, November 23, 1861.

SIR: On the morning of the 7th November I received, through Maj. E. Willis, quartermaster, your orders to report to you at Fort Walker, and accordingly left Beaufort at 5 o’clock a.m.; arrived at Fort Walker, Hilton Head, and reported to you at 8 o’clock p.m. On the receipt of {p.22} your orders to proceed to Charleston with steamer Emma for supplies I made the necessary arrangements to do so, and started in a yawl-boat for the steamer Edisto, in order to be transferred to the Emma then engaged in landing troops at Bay Point. The steamers were compelled by the fire of the enemy to take refuge in Skull Creek, and the steamer Emma I afterwards learned continued on to Savannah. Our boat, in consequence, was compelled to return to the island, and I found it impossible, for that day at least, to carry out your instructions. Since that time you are aware of all that has transpired in my department. In reference to the stores left at Beaufort I would beg leave to call your attention to the report of my chief clerk, Mr. Baya, a copy of which I inclose.* I feel satisfied that Mr. Baya made every exertion in his power to have the stores removed to a place of safety, and his failure to do so was from causes entirely beyond his control.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant

C. D. OWENS, Captain, P. A., and A. C. S.


* See No. 10, following.


No. 10.

Report of Mr. H. T. Baya, Clerk in Confederate Subsistence Department.

HARDEEVILLE, S. C., November 23, 1861.

SIR: In accordance with your instructions I left Beaufort on Wednesday morning, in the steamer General Clinch, with provisions, to be landed at Hilton Head and Bay Point. On our way down, having met the steamer John A. Moore, with a portion of the Fifteenth Regiment on board, bound for Hilton Head, and unable to continue the passage owing to the severity of the wind, we took the troops off of her on board the steamer General Clinch, and proceeded to Seabrook’s Landing, on Hilton Head Island, and landed them. The provisions for that post were also safely landed there. Capt. S. Simmons, the commissary of the post, to whom the provisions were marked, not being at the landing, I sent the invoices to him under care of Capt. E. I. Dawson, quartermaster of the Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. At the landing in question I met Capt. C. Tracy, of General Drayton’s staff, to whose attention I called the landing of the provisions. At about 9 p.m. we started on our mission to Bay Point, and laid quietly at anchor about 3 miles from the fort until about daylight the following morning (November 7), when we steamed up to quite near the fort (the usual place of landing,) and began landing provisions for the point in two lighters. Capt. A. E. Rabb, the commissary of the post, being absent, I sent a messenger to him asking his presence. He soon came down to the point of landing, when I informed him of the object of my mission, and handed him your letter containing invoices. He desired me to hurry with the landing, and he would sign receipts for the goods as soon as he could check off the invoices.

In the midst of the landing the fleet of the enemy’s vessels, which were then at anchor near the bar, appeared to be in motion, and soon after came in and began the fight. On their approach we stopped the landing of provisions, hoisted anchor, and stood towards Beaufort, where we arrived at about 1 p.m. I there found the people under intense excitement, the mass of whom were making preparations to go to some place of safety on the main-land, they fully believing that the enemy {p.23} would take possession of the town that night. After considerable anxious thought I concluded it would be best to have what stores we had in Beaufort on board of the steamer General Clinch, but in making inquiry as to whether she would take them, I found that the steamer was almost filled with the various and voluminous properties of the citizens, who were eagerly taking advantage of any and every method to get their things away; and, again, the supply of wood was very short; so much so, that the captain of the boat had to knock down the whole line of fence extending from the wharf to the street, that he might take and use it for fire-wood. He did not wish to overload the boat, as it would make it more difficult for him to reach Charleston, almost overloaded as he then was, and thus, there being no other mode of moving them, they had to remain as they were.

At about 8 p.m. I packed up all of our papers and had them taken on board of the steamer General Clinch, but soon took them off and had them carried to the quartermaster’s quarters, determining to remain until the last moment. We had already heard that our troops were retreating, and had been advised by many (who appeared to be conversant with the geography of the country) that we had better send any of our valuable articles over on the main-land. We still held on until advised by both Captain Pope and Captain Elliott to go. We packed two carts with both the quartermaster’s and commissary’s papers, and I, in company with Mr. Caldwell, of the quartermaster’s department, started in charge of the papers for Pocotaligo. While crossing the town three rockets were fired and the alarm bell was rung to announce the approach of the enemy. This was about 12 o’clock, and the alarm was so great that the few remaining in the town immediately left, leaving the place quite deserted. On the road out we were passed by several, who informed us that the enemy were making their way up Broad River to cut off communication by Port Royal Ferry to the main-land; but this, like other reports, proved false. We arrived at Pocotaligo about 9.30 or 10 o’clock on Friday morning, and remained until Saturday morning, when Mr. Tuomey, of the quartermaster’s department, and myself started with a mule and cart for Beaufort, with the determination to get away any of the public property that we could, and if we were unable to do so to fire it.

Arriving at the ferry, our mule being unfit to take us to Beaufort, we endeavored to procure horses, but were unable to do so, and thus returned to Pocotaligo, where I remained until Sunday afternoon, when, General Ripley offering his special train for our accommodation, with mules, carts, and papers we arrived at Hardeeville, and on Monday, the 11th, reported in person, with papers, to you.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Capt. C. D. OWENS, P. A. and A. C. S., Hardeeville, S. C.


No. 11.

Report of Col. R. G. M. Dunovant, Twelfth South Carolina Infantry, of the bombardment of Fort Beauregard.

HEADQUARTERS TWELFTH REGIMENT S. C. VOLS., Camp Lee, Pocotaligo, November 16, 1861.

SIR: On the 26th of October last I assumed command of the forces stationed on Bay Point Island, consisting of three companies of the {p.24} Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment, to wit: The Beaufort Artillery, Capt. Stephen Elliott; Colleton Rifles, Captain Anderson, and Captain [J. J.] Harrison’s company of infantry; six companies of the Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, to wit, Company A, Captain [W. H.] McCorkle; Company C, Captain [H. C.] Davis; Company D, Captain [E. F. Bookter; Company E. Captain Hinson; Company IF, Captain [Hayne] McMeekin, and Company I, Captain [N. B.] Vallandingham, and a small detachment of Captain Screven’s company of Beaufort Guerillas, under Lieutenant Youmans. My staff consisted of Lieut. W. H. Talley, adjutant; Dr. E. B. Turnipseed, surgeon; Capt. T. I. Bell, quartermaster; Capt. E. A. Rabb, commissary; Rev, C. B. Betts, chaplain, and Mr. Robert Chisolm, volunteer on staff. The entire force on the island, inclusive of field, staff, and company officers, was 619. Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes, of the Twelfth Regiment, was placed in command of the six companies of that regiment and Captain Anderson’s company, then at the Narrows. Captain Elliott was assigned to the command of the work known as Fort Beauregard with his own company and Captain Harrison’s. The detachment of Captain Screven’s company was ordered to report directly to me.

Monday, the 4th instant, the enemy’s fleet made its appearance early in the morning, and crossing the bar came to anchor to the south of and opposite the island, but made no further demonstration of an attack on our position during that day.

In the afternoon Commodore Tatnall, with three small steamers, attacked the nearest of the enemy’s vessels, and after sustaining a heavy fire and replying most gallantly, retired slowly up the river.

Tuesday morning, in view of the uncertainty of the point and mode of attack, the following disposition was made of the companies of the Twelfth Regiment: Companies A and D were posted in rear of a range of sand hills, distant about 200 yards from Fort Beauregard, for the purpose of protecting that work in case of an attempt of the enemy to land; Companies C and E took position near Captain Anderson’s company at the Narrows, and Companies F and I were held at the camp of the regiment, being about equidistant between the detachments, so as to support either.

Between 7 and 8 o’clock Commodore Tatnall’s steamers again advanced and engaged the enemy, who met the attack in such numbers and with such weight of metal that the little steamers were compelled again to retreat above the forts. The enemy followed, firing upon the steamers till within range of our guns, when Fort Beauregard joined in the conflict, and drew a heavy fire of shot and shell, principally the latter, upon that work and the other portions of the island occupied by our troops. This engagement lasted nearly two hours, when the enemy’s fleet withdrew and assumed very nearly its former position opposite our island, which it retained for the remainder of the day.

The only casualties on our part were those stated in Captain Elliott’s report, herewith transmitted, as resulting from the explosion of a caisson.

The unfavorable state of the weather prevented any further action of the enemy on Wednesday. Thursday morning, however, the wind lulled, and the water was unusually smooth. Of this the enemy availed himself; and at 8.30 a.m. the fleet of war vessels, headed by what is supposed to have been the Minnesota, bore towards the northwest, till, reaching the main channel, they moved directly towards our batteries. As soon as they came within range Fort Beauregard opened upon the vessel in advance, which, being seconded by Fort Walker and replied to by the enemy, the action became general. About the time of the first movement {p.25} of the fleet it having been reported to me that barges filled with troops were leaving the transports, which still occupied their position opposite the camp, in anticipation of an attempt to effect a landing in that vicinity, I ordered Companies C and E, which had been withdrawn on Wednesday, back to a point near the earthwork at the Narrows, retaining at the camp the four remaining companies of the Twelfth Regiment. After, however, having made a careful personal observation of the movements of the enemy, and in view of their steady advance and heavy fire upon the western end of the island, I changed the arrangement of the force, throwing the four companies at the camp in the rear of the sand hills before referred to near Fort Beauregard, and withdrew within supporting distance the two companies of the Twelfth at the Narrows. Thus the troops remained for several hours under a heavy fire of shot and shell, during which they exhibited great coolness and promptness in obedience to orders. Notwithstanding the protection afforded by the sand hills many shot and shell fell around them, but fortunately without inflicting injury of any kind. The batteries at Fort Beauregard were worked with great gallantry, skill, and energy, and the highest praise is due to Captain Elliott and his command for the manner in which they discharged their important trust.

About 2 p.m. the fire of the enemy upon our batteries was slackened and redoubled against Hilton Head. A little after 3 o’clock it was reported to me by Adjutant Talley that a boat was leaving one of the fleet for the shore of Hilton Head and loud cheers from the former and that Fort Walker was silent. I at once proceeded to Fort Beauregard, and, after the colloquies accurately detailed by Captain Elliott in his report, ordered him to make arrangements for retreat from the fort towards the Narrows.

I then returned and issued the necessary orders for the evacuation of the island, and the force moved in good order towards the eastern portion of the island. The only line of retreat lay across the strip of land known as the Narrows, scarce 50 yards wide and 1,000 long, to the main body of Eddings’ Island, which itself is but an extensive swamp, entirely impenetrable save by a trail known to few, and of such extreme difficulty as to preclude the possibility of transporting baggage of any kind beyond what could be borne on the shoulders of the men. Of the character of the route and the consequent impracticability of transportation I had been fully advised, and therefore did not undertake the removal of camp equipage, stores, or heavy baggage. Nor did I think it prudent to destroy such property by fire, inasmuch as the retreat was at best of doubtful feasibility, and the nature of the movement would have been thereby revealed to the enemy, and its success still further jeoparded, if not entirely frustrated.

I believe that in consequence of the manner in which the evacuation of the island was effected it was unknown to the enemy until it had been fully accomplished, and this conviction is strengthened by their failure to take advantage of the entire command of Station Creek and Beaufort River to cut off the retreat at Jenkins’ Landing, and especially at White Hall Ferry. The body of the command reached the landing at Station Creek and crossed to Dr. Jenkins’ plantation during the night, and after resting a short time at the latter place resumed the march for Beaufort, where it arrived early Friday morning. The town was deserted by the white population, and no representative of the quartermaster’s or commissary’s departments, or other person in authority, could be found. I was therefore under the necessity of assuming the responsibility of taking for the use of the troops such provisions and necessaries {p.26} as their condition imperatively demanded, and had I known the amount and nature of the stores might have saved much public property, which has probably fallen into the hands of the enemy. I proceeded with the command to Port Royal Ferry, and thence to this place, regarding the latter as an important point of defense, and at the same time one from which I could readily open communication to procure the necessary supplies for my command. In consequence of the intricacy and difficulty of the line of retreat, some officers and men, detained by their duties, lost their way, but all these have since rejoined their respective companies. There is but one man whom I am under the necessity of reporting as missing. As to the particulars of this case I refer you to the accompanying report of the efficient surgeon of the Twelfth Regiment, herewith submitted. Some muskets were left, but only those which had been drawn for enlisted men, who were at the time absent by reason of the severe epidemic which had thinned our ranks during the previous month.

No soldier threw away his arms. In regard to the manner in which the retreat was arranged and effected, justice to myself and others requires that I should add a word of explanation. Having received no instructions as to the mode in which the island of Bay Point should be defended, nor of the contingencies upon which it should be abandoned, with no arrangement for receiving orders, by means of signals or otherwise, from headquarters, and totally without information of any plan devised or facilities provided for the retreat of my command in case of disaster, I felt that these circumstances imposed upon me the obligation of endeavoring to secure some means of evacuating the island in the event such a step should become necessary, Accordingly, the state of facts above referred to continuing, on Tuesday I went in person to Captain Elliott, who perhaps was more familiar with the localities than any other person, and after learning from him, in answer to my inquiries, that a retreat was practicable through Eddings’ Island, if boats and flats could be secured to take the forces across Station Creek, I instructed him to select some prudent and trusty person to superintend the collection of the necessary means of transportation at the landing on Edding’s Island. The Rev. Stephen Elliott was chosen to discharge this important duty, and left on Thursday morning for that purpose. Fortunately Capt. Thomas Hanckel, Mr. Henry Stuart, and Mr. W. H. Cuthbert, of Beaufort, had already secured a large number of flats at Dr. Jenkins’ Landing, for the purpose of taking them to some point on Eddings’ Island for our relief. Mr. Elliott informed them of the plan agreed upon, and thus, through the co-operation of these gentlemen and the valuable assistance of Captain Tripp and his command, the evacuation of the island was effected. I communicated the plan of retreat to none save Captain Elliott, the adjutant, and the quartermaster.

Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes, commanding the greater portion of the infantry, was prompt and energetic in executing the orders for the movements of his immediate command. From the nature of the attack the forces at Fort Beauregard were the only active participants in the engagement, and I cannot close this report without drawing special attention to the high qualities of the officer exhibited by Captain Elliott, commanding that work. Compelled from the necessities of our position to act the part of engineer, ordnance officer, and commander of the fort, he exhibited an energy and intelligence in preparing the batteries for the fight which were only equaled by the gallantry and firmness of the defense.

All the members of my staff did their duty. Adjutant Talley, Captam {p.27} Bell, quartermaster, and Rev, C. B. Betts, the chaplain, frequently sent with orders to various parts of the island during the bombardment, executed their trust in a manner entirely satisfactory to me.

Lieutenant Youmans and his detachment were efficient in the performance of the part assigned them. To Lieutenant Johnson, of the Beaufort Artillery, the command is under obligations for valuable services rendered at the ferry across Station Creek, and to Capt. Thomas R. Elliott for similar aid in passing White Hall Ferry.

The reports of Captain Elliott and Surgeon Turnipseed* are herewith respectfully submitted.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. G. M. DUNOVANT, Colonel Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

Capt. H. E. YOUNG, Assistant Adjutant-General.

* The surgeon’s report not found.


No. 12.

Report of Capt. Stephen Elliott, jr., Beaufort Artillery, of the bombardment of Fort Beauregard.


SIR: Having been assigned to the command of Fort Beauregard by Colonel Dunovant, commanding the post, I beg leave to submit the following report:

The garrison consisted of Beaufort Volunteer Artillery (Company A, 83 men) and Captain Harrison’s company (Company D, 66 men), both of Colonel Heyward’s Ninth (Eleventh] Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. To the former was intrusted the main work (thirteen guns); to the latter the hot-shot battery (three guns) and the sand battery (two guns).

On Monday, the 4th instant, the enemy appeared and anchored within the bar 4 miles below the fort. On Tuesday morning, at 7.30 o’clock, five gunboats came within range and opened upon us with heavy guns, throwing spherical and rifle shell with accuracy. One of these struck a caisson, causing it to explode, and thereby injuring slightly one of the gun detachments. I replied, but found the range too great for successful firing, and at 9.15 o’clock a.m. the enemy withdrew, having been struck several times. On Wednesday, the weather being boisterous, the enemy remained quiet.

On Thursday, pursuant to an order previously received from Colonel Dunovant, I dispatched the chaplain of the Ninth [Eleventh] Regiment to Saint Helena, for the purpose of providing transportation in case it should be necessary and prove practicable to retire. At 8.30 a.m. fifteen of the enemy’s sail formed in line and steamed up the harbor, engaging us at 9.15 o’clock. These were subsequently joined by four others. Having passed the batteries, they turned to the left and southwards and repassed near the Hilton Head shore. This circuit was performed three times, after which they remained out of reach of any except our heaviest guns. The last gun from my battery was fired at 3.35 p.m., being the eighth to which the enemy had not replied. A few moments {p.28} afterwards Colonel Dunovant entered the fort and said to me, “Captain Elliott, what is the condition of things over the river?” I replied, “Fort Walker has been silenced, sir.” “By what do you judge?” “By the facts that the fort has been subjected to a heavy enfilade and direct fire, to which it has ceased to reply; that, the vessels having terminated their fire, the flag-ship has steamed up and delivered a single shot, which was unanswered, and that thereupon cheering was heard from the fleet.” “Then, sir, it having been proved that these works cannot accomplish the end for which they were designed-that of protecting the harbor-you will prepare to retire from a position from which our retreat may readily be cut off, and which our small force will not enable us to hold against a land attack.” I then prepared my command for a retreat, destroyed the greater part of the powder, spiked the guns, and an hour later took up the line of march for Eddings’ Island.

Our fire was remitted during those intervals when passing down on the farther side of the river, as the ships were too distant. This cessation afforded a respite to the cannoneers, already fatigued by labors properly belonging to the Engineer and Ordnance Departments. At all other times it was kept up with shot and shell. One of the columbiads was fired 57 times; the other not quite so often. The position of the hot-shot guns in the main battery was such that, when unmasked, the ships were too far distant to be reached by any elevation the guns were susceptible of. They were therefore used but sparingly, but hot shot were fired from two 42-pounders on the front face. The flag-ship was supposed to be on fire more than once.

Our fire was directed almost exclusively at the larger vessels. They were seen to be struck repeatedly, but the great distance-never less than 2,500 yards-prevented our ascertaining the extent of injury. The wooden fuses for the 8-inch shell were very defective, generally igniting the charge a few seconds too soon. The paper fuses were more reliable. It had been found during the engagement on Tuesday that the rifle shell could not without much difficulty be forced down after one or two discharges. They had therefore in the interim been refitted. The gun, however, exploded at the thirty-second discharge, slightly wounding every man of the detachment. No other cause can be assigned except that the gun, after being fired several times in rapid succession, was loaded and allowed to remain. As it became cool it may have contracted upon the shell, and hence the explosion.

The hot-shot battery, manned by Captain Harrison’s company, fired a few rounds, but the great severity of the cannonade in an exposed position drove the men from the guns. Some of his men afterward assisted me in the main work, among whom Sergeant Edenfield deserves to be mentioned with praise. The Beaufort Artillery behaved with coolness under a heavy fire, as is attested by the fact that no accident attributable to carelessness occurred at their guns. Instances of conspicuous bravery might be mentioned, but it would be unfair to eulogize a few when the majority did their duty.

Previous to the engagement the members of this corps contributed each according to his talent to the efficiency of the whole but especially zealous and untiring were Privates S. E. Scanlan and I. E. Falbin in preparing ammunition and placing the battery in order. In this connection I must mention with honor Captain Harrison’s company, who for months before cheerfully gave me their assistance. I must also thank the companies of Colonel Dunovant’s command, who labored to make my position more secure. Honor is due to Midshipmen Maffit and Read, who with coolness and courage gave me valuable aid whenever it was required.


The following is a list of the wounded of the Beaufort Artillery: Capt. S. Elliott, in the leg, by a fragment of rifled gun; Sergt, B. W. Sloman, in the hand, by the same; Privates Fripp, Hamilton, Wilcox, Perryclear, and Joyce, by same; Sergeant Stuart, by recoil of columbiad; Private M. W. Fripp, by the same; Privates William Elliott and F. M. Murdaugh, by explosion of caisson-all slightly. Of Captain Harrison’s company, Privates T. and I. E. Crews lost each an arm by the premature discharge of a gun.

I am, sir, with respect, your obedient servant,

STEPHEN ELLIOTT, JR., Captain of Beaufort Artillery.

First Lieut. WILLIAM H. TALLEY Adjutant of Twelfth Regiment.


No. 13.

Statement of Messrs. John Tuomey and Henry C. Robertson, of occurrences at Beaufort, S. C., November 7 and 8, 1861.


About 4 o’clock on the morning of the 7th instant Capt. Joseph A. Huger arrived at our quarters in Beaufort, S. C., with instructions from Brigadier-General Drayton to Maj. E. Willis, quartermaster Third Military District, Department of South Carolina. Major Willis, with Captain Huger, left Beaufort about 5 o’clock a.m. in steamer Emma for Fort Walker, Hilton Head. Twelve o’clock noon same day written orders were received from Brigadier-General Drayton to Major Willis, authorizing the purchase of 2,000 feet of lumber to repair Skull Creek Bridge; also a gang of carpenters, and to send to Fort Walker, Hilton Head, immediately, six barrels of powder, then in the arsenal in Beaufort.

Major Willis having been ordered to report at Hilton Head, the orders were opened, the lumber purchased from Mr. Cockroft, carpenters engaged, and powder shipped all ready to start, when the Confederate steamers Huntress, Captain Morris, and Lady Davis, Captain Rutledge, left, after setting fire to the two light-ships about three miles below Beaufort. The enemy were then reported to be in possession of Broad River and Port Royal Harbor, all communication cut off, and our troops were retreating to the main-land, having abandoned the batteries at Hilton Head and Bay Point. The powder was immediately taken out of the steamer and taken charge of by Mr. Robert Chisolm and Mr. McKee, of Beaufort, who kindly had it taken to a place of safety from the enemy. It is now at Mr. Heyward’s plantation, near Pocotaligo. The carpenters were dismissed and sent to Charleston; the raft of lumber left in Beaufort. Then, with the assistance and advice of Capt. Thomas M. Hanckel, of Brigadier-General Ripley’s staff, and Capt. Carlos Tracy and Capt. Thomas R. S. Emote, of Brigadier-General Drayton’s staff, the two steamers Beauregard and Mary Frances, ordered by Captain Willey of Savannah, Ga., were dispatched forthwith to White Hall Ferry (Ladies Island) with flats to bring over the troops then retreating from Bay Point, consisting of a portion of Col. R. G. M. Dunovant’s command (Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers) and Beaufort Artillery, Capt. S. Elliott.


The most intense excitement prevailed in Beaufort amongst some of the citizens. They threw up rockets about 11.30 or 12 o’clock at night, as to indicate the approach of the enemy. We immediately packed up all the papers and books we could get and sent them in charge of Mr. Caldwell to Pocotaligo, Mr. H. C. Robertson and the undersigned awaiting the arrival of the troops from Bay Point, whom we furnished transportation for.

On the morning of 8th instant, about 4 o’clock, a report was then in circulation that communication was cut off at Port Royal Ferry. Feeling anxious for the safety of what books and papers we had saved, as they were important, we left Beaufort about 4 o’clock a.m. on foot for about three and a half miles.

Previous to our leaving Beaufort we had all the sick men in the hospital cared for, about 16, who were kindly treated by Capt. C. M. Morris, of steamer Huntress, and taken to Charleston. The medicines and brandy left in Beaufort for Drs. Johnson and Prioleau were taken charge of by Col. R. G. M. Dunovant, as he gave me to understand.

I am, very respectfully,


Capt. H. E. YOUNG, Assistant Adjutant-General.

I certify that the above is a correct statement of things that transpired at Beaufort, S. C.



NOVEMBER 8, 1861.– Reconnaissance on Hilton Head Island, S. C.

Report of Capt. Q. A. Gillmore, U. S. Corps of Engineers.

OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER E. C., Hilton Head, S. C., November 8, 1861.

SIR: In obedience to your directions of this date to proceed on a reconnaissance of Hilton Head Island, or so much thereof as I could examine, returning to headquarters on the same day, I have to report a completion of the day’s operations under the escort promised to me, to wit, the Seventh Connecticut Regiment, 900 strong, Colonel Terry commanding.

The regiment was placed at my disposal at 11 o’clock a.m., when I at once set out upon the reconnaissance, the principal object of which was to proceed across the island to Seabrook, on Skull Creek, a distance of 6 miles, by the nearest practicable route, and locate suitable positions for batteries to control the inland water communications by way of Skull Creek between Savannah and Charleston.

As no advance had been made from our position on Hilton Head since we came in possession yesterday evening, and as nothing certain was known of the position and movements of the enemy since he was driven from the work, I deemed it proper to exercise great caution against surprise, and accordingly requested Colonel Terry to cover the advance of the main body of escort by skirmishers. Over a very considerable portion of the route we took to Seabrook Point-the one running through the woods beyond General Drayton’s plantation, as distinguished from the one near the shore-skirmishers could not be deployed, as both sides of the road are lined by an impenetrable jungle. Our progress was necessarily quite slow. We reached Seabrook Landing about 2 o’clock p.m. {p.31} without encountering any of the enemy or any white person whatever. From what I can gather from negroes, there are no rebel troops on any of the northern portions of Hilton Head Island.

About 300 of them, with some wounded, passed over the road last night about the time we were disembarking. They were under the influence of a terrible panic; knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, cartridge-boxes, &c., were found scattered over the road and on the wharf at Seabrook, where the hasty embarkation took place. We also found at the landing a number of rifled muskets and bayonets. There is near the wharf, some in store and some outside, a considerable quantity, say fifteen or eighteen large wagon loads, of valuable commissary supplies, such as bacon, hard bread, sugar, rice, corn, vinegar, &c. We brought back two wagon loads of these articles which Colonel Terry will account for. Had my orders admitted of it I would have remained at Seabrook with half the escort until boats could have been dispatched from headquarters under convoy to bring off the commissary stores. At Seabrook an excellent position for a battery, elevated some 12 or 15 feet above the level of the river, to sweep and control the Skull Creek channel, has been selected. The river at that point is about one-fourth of a mile inside, and is skirted on the farther side by a marsh, which enlarges the distance between the firm ground on the opposite shore to half a mile or a little more.

I caused soundings to be taken across the stream at half tide, finding two fathoms at the end of Seabrook wharf, three fathoms a short distance out, and a good 5-fathom anchorage in the middle of the stream.

A battery of five or six heavy guns at Seabrook would be quite sufficient to close this inland water passage between Charleston and Savannah, but to secure it against a coup de main I would recommend an inclosed work of strong relief and of sufficient capacity for 1,000 men, with guns on the gorge and with suitable flanking arrangements, should be commenced immediately. It should mount fifteen guns, at least, of all calibers. The route over which I passed is practicable for heavy artillery and heavy transportation generally, but materials can best be taken to Seabrook by water. The wharf there requires some repairs.

On my return I increased the guard at General Drayton’s plantation at the request of the officer in charge there. I found no public property or papers at General Drayton’s, with the exception of two letters already in your possession.

There is no post-office at Seabrook. I have to acknowledge the cordial and efficient co-operation of Colonel Terry in carrying out the objects of the reconnaissance.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE Captain of Engineers, Chief Engineer E. C.

Brigadier-General WRIGHT, Commanding Forces on Hilton Head, S. C.

NOVEMBER 10-11, 1861.– Expedition from Hilton Head to Braddock’s Point, S. C.

Report of Capt. Q. A. Gillmore, U. S. Corps of Engineers.

U. S. ENGINEER OFFICE, Hilton Head, S. C., November 12, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report that I accompanied Brigadier-General Wright on a night expedition to Braddock’s Point, leaving Hilton {p.32} Head on the evening of the 10th instant and returning on the afternoon of the following day. We reached Lawton’s plantation about midnight, where our escort, composed of five companies of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, Colonel Terry commanding, was halted until 4 o’clock in the morning. By the road Lawton’s place is nearly 4 miles from Braddock’s Point. At 4 o’clock the march was resumed, and the column reached the point where the road strikes the beach just at the break of day, where another halt was ordered. When it became light enough to reconnoiter a single company was sent forward for that purpose. The report soon came back that the place appeared to be abandoned, when General Wright and staff went forward.

A battery of one 24-pounder gun, old pattern, was found behind an irregular parapet It was on a siege carriage. A battery of one 10-inch columbiad, on a new wrought-iron carriage and a good wooden platform with iron traverse circle, was found. The parapet at this point is of considerable length (263 feet), and contains within it a good magazine and some little ammunition. A well-constructed parapet, containing two 24-pounder guns, old pattern, was found. It contained a good magazine. Some few rounds of balls, grape and canister, were scattered on the beach outside the parapet, apparently left behind in the haste of embarkation or for the want of the means of transportation. Near this battery is a good garrison sling-cart, and all the finished parts of wooden columbiad platform, full circle. Three ordinary “A” tents were left standing, which were probably all that the garrison had, as extensive preparations existed for protecting troops from the inclemency of the weather by means of poles erected on the ground and covered with branches of trees.

Braddock’s Point cannot be held by us without a considerable force (except by the active co-operation of the fleet), so as to enable us to control the Calibogue Sound. To hold it with this end in view the point should be occupied in force, and strong guards stationed at the point where the cross-road at Lawton’s and the one above it debouch upon the eastern shore.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A GILLMORE, Captain and Chief Engineer.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN Commanding Division, Hilton Head, S. C.

NOVEMBER 24, 1861.– Occupation of Tybee Island by the Union forces.

Report of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS, Savannah, November 29, 1861.

SIR: On Sunday last, 24th instant, the enemy crossed Savannah Bar with five of his vessels, and made a lodgment on Tybee Island. Subsequently three other vessels joined them, and the force on Tybee Island was re-enforced. Five vessels, one of them a frigate, said to be the Sabine now lay inside of the bar north of Tybee Island. They are 3 or 4 miles from Fort Pulaski, within range of whose guns they have not yet approached. The force on Tybee Island is reported to be large, but I am unable to state it. No demonstration of their purpose has yet been made further than the occupation of the island.


The preparation and arrangement of Fort Pulaski ordered on my first arrival have progressed slowly, but I do not think the passage of the river can be forced. Fort Jackson is now armed, and its defenses have been strengthened, and forms an interior barrier. The channel of the river has also been blocked up.

The force in the Savannah River is believed to be part of that from Port Royal Harbor.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.

DECEMBER 6-7,1861.– Expedition to Port Royal Perry and Beaufort, S. C.

Reports of Col. William E. Martin, C. S. Army, with preliminary correspondence.

HEADQUARTERS MOUNTED REGIMENT, Pocotaligo, November 25, 1861.

Capt. T. A. WASHINGTON, Aide-de-Camp, Coosawhatchie, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor of inclosing copies of the following papers:

A. General Ripley’s order date November 16.

B. Memorandum by myself.

C. Reports to General Ripley, November 19.

D. Letter to F. H. Harleston, aide-de-camp, November 22.

E. Extract from a letter of General Ripley, November 24.

I hope you will pardon the trouble of asking your attention to these papers. I am embarrassed about the duty devolved upon me, because I do not know whether my coadjutor, Captain Pope, appointed to the command jointly with myself, has abandoned the project; and whether he has or has not, I am at a loss to know whether General Lee would approve the execution of the only order practicable for cavalry-the operations on Port Royal Island and separate movement. If the matter had been confided to me solely I would have attempted that portion of it before this time. I feel bound to wait for the co-operation of Captain Pope a reasonable time. My doubts are whether I have a right to wait any longer. These doubts it is my anxious desire to have resolved by an expression of opinion from headquarters, and it is to solicit your assistance in obtaining it that I venture to invite your kind assistance.

In the exercise of the discretion with which I am intrusted I would not now ask advice if the matter were not complicated by the joint operation contemplated and now apparently impracticable. I am anxious to gratify the public expectation for action on Port Royal Island immediately. I think the objects of the expedition can be attained in safety as far as that island is concerned, and I would be gratified by permission to proceed in its execution. May I beg the favor of you, therefore, under the circumstances, to favor me with advice from General Lee, if you think it proper to request it.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. E. MARTIN, Colonel Mounted Regiment. {p.34}

[Inclosure A.]

HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL FORCES, DEPT. S. C., Tulafinny, November 16, 1861.

Col. WILLIAM E. MARTIN, Commanding Mounted Regiment:

COLONEL: You will proceed as quickly as possible to organize four or more parties, to be composed of volunteers from your command and such citizens as you can induce to give their services to the country, to proceed, in such manner as you may determine upon and direct, into that section of country which is now in possession of the enemy, to take such steps as may be fit and proper for the removal and escape of citizens of South Carolina or their slaves, and for the protection of the material property which may be in the vicinity, and to prevent its falling into the hands of the enemy. Should it be necessary, you are authorized to destroy all cotton which is in that district of country, to prevent its being made use of by the enemy, but where the owner of the property is present let him be consulted. On no account, however, let it fall into the hands of the enemy if your force can prevent it. Much discretion must be left to you in carrying out these orders, but first secure all property, next prevent the enemy from getting possession of cotton.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. S. RIPLEY, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

P. S.-Should you be unable from any circumstance to carry out this order in full, carry it out as far as possible.


I have seen the within order and approve of it. I suggested it to General Lee, because I consider the property now in possession of the enemy and because its destruction weakens the enemy.


[Inclosure B.]

NOVEMBER 16, 1861.

On the next day I was shown by Captain Pope orders from General Ripley assigning the captain to the command of two or more parties in the expedition and directing the movements to be made in conjunction with and simultaneous with mine.

[WM. E. MARTIN, Colonel Mounted Regiment.]

[Inclosure C.]

CAIN MARTIN, NEAR POCOTALIGO S. C., November 19, 1861.

Brigadier-General RIPLEY, Charleston, S. C.:

GENERAL: Referring to your orders for penetrating into the islands held by the enemy, I have the honor to report that, in consequence of Captain Pope’s intimate knowledge of the topography of these islands and the navigation for reaching them and his capabilities as an officer, I intrusted to him the details of the plan for reaching Saint Helena, while I determined, in conjunction with Major Oswald, to take charge of a strong column of cavalry for operations on Port Royal Island. Your orders directed the duties to be performed by volunteers from my command and such citizens as could be induced to give their aid. On {p.35} my return to camp, after an absence of twenty-eight hours (my visit to the city being partly to see my sick family and partly to make arrangements for the expedition) I found the first impediment in the way by the discovery of the whole plan being known and openly talked about among the planters; indeed, in several instances, under my own observation, they spoke of it in promiscuous assemblages as if it were an ordinary topic of conversation. Fearing the information would reach the enemy, I determined to act promptly. Captain Pope undertook to confer with the island planters and ascertain how many of them could be induced to co-operate with us. Here we have both experienced a great disappointment, as we have scarcely met with a man who was willing to lend his aid and the knowledge of navigation essential to the enterprise. The water transportation to Saint Helena would be in boats and flats by oars, occupying, under the most favorable circumstances of weather and tide, fully two hours. If cavalry were to be transported the flats would take horses with their riders, and I was unwilling, with my knowledge of the difficulty and danger of transporting cavalry in open water and in flats without aprons, to risk any horses and men but those belonging to Captain Tripp’s company, in which the troopers and horses are accustomed to such mode of transportation. I regret to be obliged to inform you that with two or three exceptions this company refused to volunteer. Having no infantry, I was thus left to the volunteers from my command. I have purposely avoided calling on them until the expedition was ripe for execution, but I have no doubt of being able to get the requisite number. As it was deemed expedient by you and Captain Pope, and I fully concurred in the opinion, that the movement should be simultaneous, I have not deemed it advisable to make the descent upon Port Royal until the remaining portion of the expedition was ready, especially as that island is still and is likely to continue accessible to us, the enemy not being in sight of it and not having drawn cotton and provisions from it up to this time. I have been obliged to make this full narration to inform you fully of the causes which have led to a suspension of our proceedings for the present.

This will be handed to you by Captain Pope, who will explain matters more fully. In the mean time I hope the circumstances will justify in your estimation the suspension we deem necessary. As soon as we are prepared to be successful we will use every exertion to carry out your orders in their spirit and letter.

I have the honor to be, general, yours, most respectfully

WM. E. MARTIN, Colonel Mounted Regiment.

[Inclosure D.]

CAMP NEAR POCOTALIGO, November 22, 1861.

Capt. F. H. HARLESTON, Aide-de-Camp, Charleston, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: On the 19th instant I submitted to General Ripley a detailed report of the causes which retarded the execution of his order of [the] 16th, relative to an expedition to the islands in possession of the enemy. In that report I stated that Captain Pope, who was assigned to the command of one or more parties by General Ripley, had gone to headquarters to confer with the general relative to the further prosecution of the scheme, and I gave my reasons for awaiting the issue of their conference. I refer you to the communication for a full explanation.


I have heard nothing since from Captain Pope, and I do not know whether he is still prosecuting his plans or has returned to his command at Stono, nor where to address him. I feel very anxious to discharge the obligation imposed upon me by the order, and I am at a loss whether I should wait longer upon Captain Pope. Under these circumstances may I ask the favor of you to mention the subject to the general, and to confer with Captain Pope, if he is in Charleston, and ask him to let me have his views or inform me whether he has gone to Stono? I am disposed to execute the scheme as to Port Royal Island and without waiting longer, and I would be most happy to be relieved from the suspense at present.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. E. MARTIN, Colonel Mounted Regiment.

[Inclosure E.]

[Extract from a letter from General Ripley in reply.]

NOVEMBER 24, 1861.


As regards the execution of the order relative to operations on Port Royal you are to use your own discretion.



HEADQUARTERS MOUNTED REGIMENT, Pocotaligo, S. C., December 5, 1861-3 p.m.

GENERAL: I wrote to Captain Elliott yesterday that you desired his presence with mine at your headquarters to know the details of the expedition to Port Royal Island. I have just learned that after the receipt of the letter Captain Elliott went over with 25 men and has partly executed his mission, and had not returned when last heard from. I send this by a special messenger, to inquire if you will approve of my starting immediately with a detachment of 30 or 40 men to support Captain Elliott and complete the work. If you will favor me with a reply by telegraph it will expedite my departure.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. E. MARTIN, Colonel Mounted Regiment.

Major-General LEE, Coosawhatchie, S. C.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTED REGIMENT, Pocotaligo, S. C., December 9, 1861.

GENERAL: At 9 p.m. 5th instant, I received a telegram from you, authorizing me to proceed to Port Royal Island to complete the burning of the cotton commenced by Capt. Stephen Elliott. As it was advisable to cross the ferry about dark, I started next day at 12 m., sent forward scouts to Beaufort to report to me at the ferry. They did so, and the information from the town was brought (down to sundown) that there was no enemy on the island.

At 6 p.m. I crossed the ferry with 10 men, under a lieutenant, with two guides-Capt. O. Barnwell and Dr. Hasell-leaving the remainder {p.37} of the detachment of about 50 men to follow me,under the command of Major Oswald, of my regiment. It was my intention to enter the town and meet Major Oswald 2 miles this side and commence the burning back towards the ferry. I had provided an additional mode of egress from the island in case of pursuit by crossing with flats to Page’s Point, on the main-land. In this I was aided by Captain Maffit, Colonel Jones, and Major Sams. I will mention for your information, in passing, that 11 men can be crossed at the regular ferry with their horses in fifteen minutes with the flat in use.

I proceeded until within three-quarters of a mile from Beaufort. When at the distance of about thirty yards we received the fire of about thirty muskets, as I suppose, of the enemy. The order to halt from the enemy, with oaths and curses, was followed up instantly by their discharge. I am obliged, with much pain, to say that the whole detachment and the guides retreated instantly, with the exception of one man. I saw but one discharge from our retreating party, and that seemed to be in the air. The exception to which I refer was a private [of] Captain Bostick’s company, the Allendale Mounted Guard. At the discharge his horse dashed forward and he checked him about ten paces in advance of me. He then fired one barrel of his gun and snapped the other three times. I then heard him complaining of the retreat of our detachment, adding, “Their guns (the pickets’) are all discharged, and we could have captured them all if the men had not run away.” As he is one of my soldiers I must do him the justice of mentioning his name, although he is my son-Private Vincent F. Martin. The retreat of the detachment was so nearly simultaneous with the flashing of the guns, that the men informed me that they did not hear my orders to them to halt, which I gave, intending to form an advance. I recalled Private Martin after one or two minutes, and we rode down the way our men had retreated to the distance of seventy-five yards, or thereabouts, and, one of us on either side of the road, we listened for half an hour for sounds in both directions. We heard no sounds except the discharge of sixty or seventy guns in the town or outskirts about half an hour after the firing on us.

I then rode on with the soldier above mentioned in a walk all the way to the ferry in momentary expectation of meeting first the advance guard and then the main body, but was disappointed, and when I reached the ferry the whole detachment was on the opposite side.

Major Oswald, in his report, informs me of the following:

About 5 miles from the ferry we met one of the advance detachment at full speed crying out, “The colonel is killed,” and he rushed on past the men. The major ordered his column to advance to revenge their colonel, but they did not move. Others came at the same speed from the direction of Beaufort, also stating the death of the colonel and that there was a wounded man behind. Major Oswald then again ordered his men to advance to succor this wounded man. This man came up immediately, but did not halt from his speed, although ordered to do so by Major Oswald. He turned out to be Capt. O. Barnwell, who was wounded in the arm-a flesh wound-badly. With him all Major Oswald’s detachment, except about 20, retreated. The officers collected around Major Oswald, and he inquired if they were willing to go on, but met with no encouragement. He then called for volunteers, but received but one, Private Edward Bostick, of the Allendale Mounted Guard, who replied he would follow him to the death to revenge the colonel. Major Oswald then, finding he could accomplish nothing ordered a retreat, which he conducted in good order, crossing the ferry, where I ascertained they were.


Major Oswald’s conduct was all I knew it would be in a brave and judicious officer. He mentions in his report that Capt. W. G. Green, of the Salkehatchie Guerrillas, was cool and collected, and was willing to advance, but that in his (the captain’s) judgment it was not advisable.

I did not recross the ferry, but remained on the other side with Private Martin, and ordered them to recross. This they did at 12 midnight with the utmost alacrity, cheering me with the utmost enthusiasm. From this moment I am spared the pain of recording anything more to their discredit. I conducted the column to a plantation on the road to Beaufort, and bivouacked until daylight about 2 miles from the ferry.

Early in the morning I moved the column to within 4 miles of Beaufort, when I called for volunteers to go into the town. I wanted but 8, but nearly all the detachment volunteered. I ought to have added that at the ferry, my guides having left me, I sent over for volunteers to Captain Barnwell’s and Captain Smith’s Company, but received only one-a Mr. Givens. The detachment of volunteers passed round the head of Saltwater Creek to within 2 miles of Beaufort, and within the lines of the enemy’s pickets, and exchanged shots with them. They were commanded by Captain Smart, of the Allendale Mounted Guard, an officer whose conduct has won my respect by the manner in which he discharged the duty assigned to him. Privates Edward Bostick, V. F. Martin, B. T. Lawton, J. E. Bailey, and J. A. Owens, of his company; Sergt, Maj. Marion Green, and Charles Jones and Shepherd, of Green’s company, and the guide, J. C. Givens, above named, constituted his party.

Mr. Givens’ and Mr. Shepherd’s services as guides were meritorious and valuable to me until I left the island.

On the return of my pickets from the enemy’s lines I divided the column into two detachments, and taking charge of one, and assigning the other to Major Oswald, we proceeded respectively to the waters around the island where the plantations lie and burned all the cotton, except where the quantity was too inconsiderable to destroy the building or where the owners were engaged in removing it. I have reason to suppose but little cotton remains on the island. Where the cotton was in the dwelling-houses, or its destruction involved the loss of valuable buildings, it was thrown out and rendered valueless.

The two detachments united at a rendezvous near the ferry, and crossed at 10 p.m. on [the] 7th instant, the men having been almost incessantly in the saddle for thirty-four hours, with but two meals, which they carried in their haversacks.

I have no casualties to men or horses in my command to report and, regretting the necessity of so lengthy a communication, I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. E. MARTIN, Colonel Mounted Regiment.

Major-General LEE, Coosawhatchie, S. C.

P. S.-I omitted to state, on my arrival within half a mile of the ferry, on my way to cross over from this side, I concealed my men in a douse thicket and allowed no negroes to pass; that when I bivouacked on the plantation beyond the ferry I guarded every negro house and the country around, and that at all times, after the pickets fired on us, I took every negro who was passing into custody, and that all opportunity of conveying intelligence of our movements was cut off.


DECEMBER 17, 1861.– Evacuation of Rockville, S. C., by Confederate forces.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. R. S. Ripley, C. S. Army.
No. 2.–Col. J. L. Branch, Rifle Regiment.
No. 3.–Capt. T. G. Budd, quartermaster Rifle Regiment.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. R. S. Ripley, C. S. Army.


CAPTAIN: I have the honor to inclose herewith the report of Colonel Branch and accompanying papers [Nos. 2 and 3] relating to [the] retreat from Rockville. I also inclose copy of the orders given to Colonel Branch from these headquarters when he occupied John’s Island. I should have forwarded these papers earlier, but that I deemed, considering the organization of the troops, that a report on the subject could not very materially benefit the service.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. S. RIPLEY, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Coosawhatchie, S. C.



HDQRS. PROV. FORCES, SEC’D MIL. DIST., Charleston, S. C., November 25, 1861.

I. Colonel Branch’s regiment of rifles, South Carolina militia, will take post on John’s and Wadmalaw Islands as soon as possible. One battalion of the regiment will land at John’s Island Ferry, and leaving one company at that point in charge of the ferry and boats, which will accompany the command, will proceed to the interior of the island. The other battalion, with the headquarters, will proceed to Rockville, and take post in observation at that point.

II. The regiment will move with as little baggage as possible, and on no account will the strict regulation allowance of transportation be exceeded.

III. The different commands and detachments will be kept in light marching order, and move from point to point, as may be directed by the colonel or commanding officer, the object being to familiarize the officers and troops with the locality, as well as to give protection to the inhabitants.

IV. Colonel Branch is authorized to employ such guides as may be necessary, and if possible, until cavalry can be furnished him, to mount a small force of his command to keep up his communications.

V. The regiment will take fifteen days’ rations of small stores, but the principal part of the subsistence will be purchased in the vicinity.

VI. After having made a thorough reconnaissance of the island, Colonel Branch will report to these headquarters upon the strength of the position and the disposition of his command. He will meantime {p.40} keep himself in communication with the post near Church Flats, and be ready, if necessary, to support it by any means in his power.


By order of Brigadier-General Ripley:

F. H. HARLESTON, Aide-de-Camp.


No. 2.

Report of Col. John L. Branch, Rifle Regiment.

HEADQUARTERS REGIMENT OF RIFLES, Camp Evans, December 22, 1861.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following statement of facts and reasons which governed me in the removal of this command from its late encampment near Rockville:

On Tuesday, the 17th instant, about 4.30 p.m., it was reported to me that four of the enemy’s vessels had crossed the bar or were in sight, and firing shells. I at once prepared to make observations for myself, and saw the vessels, one considerably in advance of the others, coming up the Edisto River. I ordered the regimental line to be formed without knapsacks and marched out of camp, supposing that a fire of shells would at once be opened upon it. This was not done, however, and the advanced steamer continued up the river, while the others stopped near the entrance of the Bohicket Creek (about one and a half miles from Rockville) into the Edisto.

On this river and the several bold creeks connected therewith are many places where troops could be landed, and by a forced march to our rear gain possession of the only two bridges (Church and Bugby) connecting Wadmalaw with John’s Island, and thereby cut off my entire command, 292 rifles. Having no means of ascertaining whether or not such would be the action of the enemy-five of my mounted officers being absent-I ordered the regiment to fall back to this point as a better position for defense. It is needless to say that had no demonstration been made to cut us off from John’s Island, no retreat, save beyond the range of [the] enemy’s shells, would have been ordered, unless a very heavy force had been landed at Rockville.

The commissary’s report will show the losses sustained in his department, and the report of the quartermaster, whose activity and energy in the duties of his office deserve the highest commendation, will set forth-the condition of the transportation and account in some measure for those losses.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

JOHN L. BRANCH, Colonel Regiment of Rifles.

LEO. D. WALKER, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of Routh Carolina.


No. 3.

Report of Capt. T. G. Budd, Quartermaster Rifle Regiment.

HEADQUARTERS RIFLE REGIMENT, Camp Evans, S. C., December 23, 1861.

DEAR SIR: I beg leave to report in as concise form as possible the {p.41} circumstances interesting my department at the retreat from the vicinity of Rockville on the evening of the 17th instant:

You will bear in mind the lapse of time from the first alarm to the appearance of four of the enemy’s ships did not exceed twenty minutes. At the first intimation of an attack I had the teams promptly harnessed. The ammunition wagon first moved off, next followed the surgeon’s wagon with medical stores. Two wagons were sent to the commissary store-house and loaded with the most valuable and necessary provisions. One spring cart was loaded with various articles out of my store-rooms, and the four remaining wagons, with the other spring cart, were loaded with knapsacks and blankets, in accordance with your orders. On these wagons were placed other articles of a private character-lion to my express orders to the contrary, as it was impossible to supervise in person the loading of each. All the wagons were then taken in charge by the regiment and retreated to Bogle Place, about four and a half miles distant. The first three of them unloaded were returned to camp and again dispatched with tents. Two other wagons returned and were also dispatched with tents and commissary stores.

At this period our scouts reported the enemy as having landed on the wharf at Rockville, and you instructed me to turn back the other wagons, which were returning to camp for the purpose of saving the remainder. At my request Quartermaster-Sergeant Green visited a neighboring plantation for the purpose of obtaining additional transportation. He secured one team, on which was placed the property of the field and staff, or so much of it as was saved.

You are aware of the repeated applications I have made to the brigade quartermaster for transportation sufficient to move the regiment, and the loss realized by the retreat was due to the small capacity and limited number of wagons I could control. The commissary stores lost, consisting of about thirteen days’ rations of grist, sugar, and bread, were too bulky for rapid movement, owing to the size of the packages (hogsheads and tierces), even had I the necessary wagons.

I will also call your attention to the anxiety I had expressed to you that large wall-tents should be furnished for the storing of commissary and quartermaster’s stores. These had been refused at headquarters after my repeated applications for them, and after my having brought to the notice of the brigade quartermaster (with a request that he would read my remarks at headquarters) that if they were not sent my responsibility for the loss occasioned by having the stores in advance of the regiment ceased. Great delay was occasioned by the inferiority of the team harness, as they continually broke, and also from many of the mules given me in exchange for the horses which had been taken for artillery service in the city, [which] were wild and unbroken. Eight of them would not draw or lead, and on the retreat broke loose from the wagons to which they were hitched; 2 have since been recovered and 6 are still in the woods.

I am satisfied that had the proper transportation been furnished together with other appliances actually necessary to the regiment, all the quartermaster’s and commissary stores, as well as other property, would have been saved. You are well aware I have often complained to you of the want of those articles essential to the perfect organization of my department, and the difficulty I experienced in getting my orders filled or a response to my applications.

My assistants, Quartermaster-Sergeant Green and Private Adam, rendered good service in making the loss light as possible under the {p.42} adverse circumstances attending the retreat, and I feel indebted to each of them for their active co-operation.

In conclusion, I may add the loss realized is much less than at first anticipated.

I am, dear sir, your respectful and obedient servant,

T. G. BUDD, Quartermaster First Regiment Rifles.

Col. JOHN L. BRANCH, Commanding.


DECEMBER 17, 1861.–Skirmish on Chisolm’s Island, S. C.

Report of Brig. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PORT ROYAL, Beaufort, S. C., December 18, 1861.

SIR: In pursuance of my directions Lieutenant Porter, Eighth Michigan Regiment, took a party last evening across the Coosaw River, and surprised a picket on Chisolm’s Island. I found an intelligent negro as guide. The party started at 9.30 o’clock, crossed the Coosaw, got in the rear of the picket, attacked it, and took the whole party of 6 prisoners. Two were wounded. They belonged to the Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel [James] Jones commanding, and their names are J. P. Longford, L. M. Longford, B. Mathis, John Mates, M. W. Jennings (wounded), and Corporal J. Y. Longford (wounded).

I have not been able to elicit much information from them. They state, however, that theirs is the only regiment stationed at Garden’s Corner, and that there are no pieces of artillery there. They have been in the Confederate service about four months; have received no pay. They stated that the common people had been led into the war by the leaders; that they volunteered to prevent being drafted. They (the prisoners) believe the whole difficulty grows out of a misunderstanding. Their leaders, however, were very determined.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. L. H. PELOUZE, Assistant Adjutant-General, Port Royal, S. C.


DECEMBER 20, 1861.–Sinking of the Stone Fleet at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, S. C.


No. 1.–General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army.
No. 2.–Maj. Thomas M. Wagner, S. C. Artillery.

No. 1.

Report of General Robert E. Lee, C. & Army.


SIR: It has been reported to me by General Ripley that the enemy brought his stone fleet to the entrance of Charleston Harbor to-day, and {p.43} sunk between thirteen and seventeen vessels in the main ship channel. The North Channel and Maffit’s Channel are still open. This achievement, so unworthy any nation, is the abortive expression of the malice and revenge of a people which it wishes to perpetuate by rendering more memorable a day hateful in their calendar. It is also indicative of their despair of ever capturing a city they design to ruin, for they can never expect to possess what they labor so hard to reduce to a condition not to be enjoyed. I think, therefore, it is certain that an attack on the city of Charleston is not contemplated, and we must endeavor to be prepared against assaults elsewhere on the Southern coast.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.


No. 2.

Report of Maj. Thomas M. Wagner, S. C. Artillery.


SIR: In obedience to instructions, I have the honor to submit the following report of the sinking of the stone fleet at the entrance of Charleston Harbor:

On the afternoon of December 18 a large increase to the blockading squadron was observed. The majority of vessels appeared to be old whaling and trading vessels. On the 19th, the weather being bad, not much progress was made in their preparations for sinking. A few of the vessels were stripped. By dawn on the morning of the 20th great activity was observed; fifteen vessels were placed in line more or less direct across the main ship channel, about 4 miles south-southeast of Fort Sumter and 3 miles east-southeast of the light on Morris Island. By evening all had been stripped, dismasted, and sunk. From the observations made the vessels appeared to have been placed in a single irregular line, with intervals of 100 feet, making a distance of about 3,500 feet in extent from shoal to shoal, and completely occupying the channel. The vessels commenced to settle immediately, and at the end of a week but little was to be seen of any of their hulls. They have now entirely disappeared. Large portions of the wrecks have from time to time come ashore. The position of the blockading squadron has, however, prevented any accurate survey being made.

On January 20 another fleet came to anchor off the port. They took up their position in a line extending from the entrance of the north channel southwardly to the main ship channel. The vessels were mostly of a smaller class than those of December. They were fourteen in number-barks and brigs. They were stripped and towed northwardly to their positions, which was on the south edge of the shoal known as the Rattle Snake, and opposite the entrance of the Maffit Channel, with the exception of one vessel, which was placed on the eastern edge of the shoal about two and a half miles east of the other vessels and between the Shoal and the Long Island Beach.

The line extended from north to south, and, by measurement, six miles and a half east-northeast of Fort Sumter. The place has been {p.44} carefully noted on the chart of the harbor at Fort Sumter. The first four vessels to the north of the line were sunk on the western end of the Rattle Snake in shoal water, the balance in 4 or 5 fathoms water, and in the track of vessels entering Charleston Harbor by Maffit’s Channel.

The operations on both occasions were superintended by six armed steamers and a sailing frigate.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOMAS M. WAGNER, Major, S. C. Artillery, Commanding Fort Sumter.

Capt. LEO. D. WALKER, Assistant Adjutant-General.


JANUARY 1, 1862.– Engagement at Port Royal Ferry, Coosaw River, S. C.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. Army, with congratulatory ordain.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, U. S. Army.
No. 3.–Col. William M. Fenton, Eighth Michigan Infantry.
No. 4.–Lieut. Col. James L. Fraser, Forty-seventh New York Infantry.
No. 5.–Col. James H. Perry, Forty-eighth New York Infantry.
No. 6.–Maj. David Morrison, Seventy-ninth New York Infantry.
No. 7.–Lieut. William St. George Elliott, Seventy-ninth New York Infantry.
No. 5.–Col. B. C. Christ, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Infantry.
No. 9.–Lieut. Col. Thomas S. Brenholts, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Infantry.
No. 10.–Col. Daniel Leasure, One hundredth Pennsylvania Infantry.
No. 11.–Lieut. William S. Cogswell, Fifth Connecticut Infantry, Signal Office.
No. 12.–Lieut. Henry S. Tafft, Fifteenth Massachusetts Infantry, Signal Office.
No. 13.–Letter from Maj. Albert J. Myer, Signal Officer, U. S. Army.
No. 14.–Return of casualties in Union forces.
No. 15.–Congratulatory orders from Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, U. S. Army.
No. 16.–Brig. Gen. John C. Pemberton, C. S. Army.
No. 17.–Brig. Gen. Daniel S. Donelson, C. S. Army.
No. 15.–Col. James Jones, Fourteenth South Carolina Infantry.
No. 19.–Lieut. Col. Dixon Barnes, Twelfth South Carolina Infantry.
No. 20.–Maj. Cadwalader Jones, Twelfth South Carolina Infantry.
No. 21.–Col. William E. Martin, Mounted Regiment.
No. 22.–Return of casualties in Confederate forces.

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. Army, with congratulatory orders.


SIR: As the Vanderbilt leaves to-morrow morning, I deem it proper to inclose to you a letter of instructions to General Stevens, commanding second brigade of this division, of December 30.

The simple object of this dash was to destroy the batteries which the enemy appeared to have erected on the Coosaw River for the obstruction of the navigation and the passage of that stream, and also to punish him for the insult in firing upon the steamer Mayflower on her recent passage through that stream for the purpose of sounding the depth of {p.45} the channel. The affair succeeded perfectly and the enemy were driven out of their batteries, the batteries demolished, and property found there brought away or destroyed with little or no loss of life on our side. After the object of the movement was executed General Stevens, agreeably to his instructions returned to Port Royal Island.* As soon as his report reaches me it will be duly forwarded.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. & A., Washington, D. C.

* See also Sherman to McClellan, January 2, 1862, in “Correspondence, etc.,” p. 214.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., December 30, 1861.

GENERAL: Agreeably to the conversation already had with you, it is designed to cross a force over the Coosaw River on the morning of the 1st, and seize upon the enemy’s batteries at the ferry and other points on that river. According to our understanding, you will be able to land from 1 500 to 2,000 men suddenly from the means of transportation at your disposal. These men can probably be landed above the Brick-yard at a convenient place for making a dash at the ferry fort. A small force should also cross at Seabrook at the proper time, or certainly attempt to do so. Commodore DuPont will furnish some gunboats and gun-launches, to be commanded by Capt. C. R. P. Rodgers, U. S. Navy, with whom you must consult and co-operate. Two of these gunboats will probably take up a position near you and above the Brick-yard. The other two will probably enter Whale Branch at the proper time, and advance towards the ferry. The time for crossing the troops above the Brick-yard is prompt daylight, when the gunboats there will be prepared to cover your storming party.

The gunboats at Whale Branch I would recommend to enter the branch as soon as it is sufficiently light to see, and proceed up the stream, and when approaching Seabrook the force you will have at that point should then attempt to cross under their fire and seize upon and destroy whatever may be found there. A sufficient force I recommend to move straight upon the fort from the first-mentioned landing and seize it by storm or escalade, whilst probably a larger force should maintain a covering position on its right, but not so extended as to prevent the fire of the gunboats raking any of the enemy’s force coming from Garden’s Corner without hitting our own men.

When the fort is fully in possession of our men, and not till then a signal agreed upon beforehand should make the fact unmistakably known to all the gunboats, when those boats I would recommend, if possible, should speedily close in towards the fort and effectually cover it whilst our men are removing or destroying the guns and other property.

It is unnecessary to say that a corps of pioneers, &c., should be ready to destroy, burn, &c.

The above are only calculated as hints in the management of the affair, but, after all, the success must depend mainly upon the judgment of yourself and able coadjutors, who must necessarily be governed in a great measure by circumstances. It must be understood, however, general, that the object of this dash is simply the destruction of the enemy’s {p.46} batteries, and no advance must be made beyond what is necessary to effect that object. It is unnecessary to assure you that a deviation from this injunction would at the present time harm us more than the advantage of destroying their batteries.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Brigadier-General STEVENS, Commanding at Beaufort, S. C.



SIR: I have the honor to forward herewith the report of Brigadier-General Stevens of the affair at Port Royal Ferry on the 1st instant, and referred to in my communication of the 2d. It having been reported to me that the enemy had erected batteries at Port Royal Ferry and at the landing opposite Seabrook, which report having been confirmed by General Stevens’ pickets, and especially by the reports of officers who had long been watching the progress of these works that seven guns of heavy caliber had been mounted in the former and probably some in the latter, and which seemed to be still more strongly confirmed from the fact of large numbers of the enemy being habitually seen in that vicinity, the object of this movement was to storm these works by a small portion of our troops and bring away or destroy the cannon and other property. Hence my instructions to General Stevens, a copy of which has already been forwarded. In consequence of the presumed nature of the works and their armament, their position relative to the points of landing of the storming parties, I applied to Flag-Officer DuPont for a few gunboats to assist in the operation, which he cheerfully furnished, and placed under the command of Commander C. R. P. Rodgers.

The idea was to carry the works, of whatever nature they were found to be, by storm. In consequence of the difficulty of maneuvering gunboats in so narrow and tortuous a river as the Coosaw under the fire of forts, these boats, whilst covering the rear of our storming party, were to have remained in reserve until the works at the ferry were in possession of the stormers, and were then to close in from both directions and cover the works from the assaults of the enemy whilst the storming party were carrying off or destroying the artillery and other property.

This plan appears to have been well carried out. Although we were somewhat disappointed in the amount of artillery found in the forts and the state of progress the Confederates had yet made with their batteries, the maneuver will be found from General Stevens’ report to have met with complete success, and, still more, to have proved that our inexperienced troops will behave well in critical situations, to which they are very soon to be doubly exposed. The fine co-operation of the naval forces under that able and indefatigable officer Commander C. R. P. Rodgers is deserving of all praise, and I am also happy to have the opportunity to add the important service and the zeal and intelligence of the signal officers connected with the expedition, as stated by General Stevens.

General Stevens, to whom the command of this expedition on the part of the land forces was intrusted, is too well known to the country for {p.47} his extensive official acquirements, his indomitable zeal and energy to even attempt enlarging upon them here. The prompt and complete execution of his orders and its clever and happy result are all that need be mentioned.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. & Army, Washington, D. C.



HEADQUARTERS E. C., Hilton Read, S. C., January 7, 1862.

The general commanding desires to express his gratification at the good conduct exhibited by the troops under command of Brigadier-General Stevens when engaged on the 1st instant in capturing and destroying the enemy’s batteries on the Coosaw River.

The conduct of this affair confirms him in the conviction that our troops, when ordered to march ahead, will know no obstacle, and will promptly and in good order penetrate wherever ordered.

The thanks of the commanding general are specially due to Brigadier-General Stevens for the energy and good judgment evinced in the preparation and prosecution of this affair.

To Flag-Officer DuPont, commanding blockading squadron, and to Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, commanding the naval portion of this expedition, and the officers and men under his command, the thanks of the country and the Army are likewise due. The energy, alacrity, and efficiency which supported the land forces on this occasion, though nothing more than what could have been expected from that distinguished branch of the service will ever be gratefully remembered.

By order of Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman:

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain Fifteenth infantry, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. Isaac I. &evens, U. & Army.


SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the commanding general, the complete success of the joint expedition of which the land forces were placed under my command, and the return of the several regiments to their respective encampments. The object of the joint expedition was to seize and destroy the enemy’s batteries on the main opposite Port Royal Island, bring away the guns and other property, but not to engage the enemy except in the accomplishment of this object, and not to advance into the interior.

To effect it Commodore DuPont furnished five gunboats, under the command of Capt. C. R. P. Rodgers, U. S. Navy, to operate with the land forces, which consisted of my own brigade and the Forty-seventh and Forty-eight New York Regiments of General Viele’s brigade. The plan {p.48} was for three of the gunboats to operate from Coosaw River and two from Broad River, both entering the Port Royal channel, and moving the former towards the ferry and the latter towards Seabrook. A force was at early dawn to effect a landing at some convenient point on the right, move rapidly towards the fort, whilst simultaneously should operate from the ferry and from Seabrook.

On the 31st instant, leaving two companies of the Roundhead [One hundredth Pennsylvania] Regiment as a guard for the town and depot of Beaufort, and one company at the cross-roads, 3 miles from this place, to relieve the two companies of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers there on duty, I advanced the remaining eight companies of the Roundhead Regiment to the advanced posts on the island. I withdrew, at the same time, seven companies of the Seventy-ninth New fork (Highlanders) from these advanced posts for the operation on our right. At Seabrook two companies of the Highlanders and two companies of the Roundheads, under Captain Elliott, of the Highlanders, were to cross the river, laud on the main, destroy the enemy’s works, and bring away his guns and other property. At the ferry one company of Highlanders and four companies of the Roundheads were to observe the enemy and cross over should circumstances favor it. At the point running down from the ferry opposite to the Brick-yard Ransom’s two guns of Hamilton’s battery were placed to cover the advance of the land party and to act according to circumstances. The entire remaining force, consisting of seven companies of Highlanders, Major Morrison; the Eighth Michigan, Colonel Fenton; Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers Colonel Christ the Forty-seventh New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Fraser, and the Forty-eighth New York, Colonel Perry, were destined to form the land party, to operate against the enemy’s left.

Ever since my occupation of this island I had taken great pains to collect every boat and flat that could be found, and in consequence had already at Seabrook and the ferry transportation enough to cross the two bodies of troops in position there. These boats I caused to be prepared for their work. I sent up all the boats and flats I had at Beaufort and could find at other points on the nights of the 3Oth-3lst, to a secure and good landing on the creek which flows into the Coosaw at the Brickyard and well up the creek, so as to be screened from the observation of the enemy, and from this point I designed by one embarkation to cross to the main that portion of the party which belonged to my own brigade. At 12 m. of the 31st Captain Rodgers, in command of the naval portion of the expedition, arrived with the Ottawa and the Pembina, and towards night was joined by the Hale, the force destined to operate from the Coosaw, and we arranged the details of the joint operation, and especially agreed upon the signals which would enable us to act in concert in engaging the enemy. About dark Colonel Perry, Forty-eighth New York, and Lieutenant-Colonel Fraser, Forty-seventh New York, arrived from Hilton Head. They were ordered to follow the gunboats, effect a landing at the Adams house, and act in co-operation with the party which were to cross the river in flat-boats.

It was expected that the landing from the flat-boats would have been made at daylight, and that the gunboats, creeping up the Port Royal channel at night-fall of the 31st to within a short distance of the Brickyard, and passing through that channel at daylight, would appear in the Coosaw shortly afterwards, and thus aid in the advance of the land forces. These forces were, in crossing the river, to be accompanied by four launches, under the personal command of Captain Rodgers, each {p.49} launch having a 12-pounder gun, and when the landing was effected they were to move towards the ferry pari passu with the advance of the land forces. This plan was in substantial points carried out. Four companies, however, of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Brenholts, were moved directly from the town of Beaufort by means of flats collected in that vicinity on the 31st, and the flats collected in the Brick-yard Creek were found insufficient to embark the six companies of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania, which had therefore to wait till the boats were sent back.

In the night of the 31st and 1st I visited all the troops and positions on the island, and at 3.30 o’clock was with all the troops at the place of embarkation, which I superintended in person. At the first break of day we were under way, viz: seven companies of Highlanders, four companies of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania, and the entire Michigan regiment. This side of the Brick-yard met Captain Rodgers and his four launches, and immediately pushed for the opposite shore. Meanwhile the gunboat Ottawa had made her appearance. I landed at about 8 o’clock at a good landing place below the cotton-gin and some 3 miles below the Adams house, and immediately sent back boats to take off Colonel Christ’s command, with orders to land them at the Adams house. I found also that the Eighth Michigan was still waiting in the creek, having misunderstood my orders. I sent word to them to push at once to the Adams house, and turned off in the same direction all the flats which had not come up, and with five companies of the Highlanders, and the four companies of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania, consisting of about 500 men, and with two howitzers from the boats under the command of Lieutenant Irwin, U. S. Navy, I commenced my march. We moved rapidly and in good order, employing the Highlanders as skirmishers and the howitzers to drive off small parties of the enemy. We observed them at several points, but without noticing the few shots they fired at us we pushed to the Adams house, where we arrived after a very fatiguing march at about 11 o’clock.

It was some two and a half hours before I was able to resume the movement with the remaining forces. At 1.30 o’clock I formed my order of march, and avoiding the main road, but pushing across the open field, I marched for the fort. The Highlanders were in advance, preceded by two companies thrown out as skirmishers. The two howitzers of the Navy followed. The support were the regiments of Colonel Christ and Colonel Fenton, and the Forty-seventh and the Forty-eighth New York constituted the reserve under Colonel Perry. Now the signals came most beautifully and effectively into use. All the commands bore the flag which had been agreed upon, viz, a ground of white and blue. The signal officer, Lieutenant Tafft, was with the skirmishers, communicating constantly with his colleague, Lieutenant Cogswell, on board the Ottawa. The concert of action thus established was absolutely perfect. The skirmishers marched steadily on, followed at proper intervals by the entire command, moving in column of companies or divisions or by flank, according to the ground. The shells from the gunboats tore through the woods just in advance of the skirmishers. They had well passed the position taken by the enemy in the woods when he opened his battery upon our columns. I got my command into the position I desired before the troops ascertained that it was not the fire of the boats but the fire of an enemy. It was exceedingly well adapted to the ground and favored my getting information by means of skirmishers. Nor was it possible for the enemy, although in large force, to make a flank movement against me without my being able in {p.50} season to make my dispositions to repel it. The two regiments, the Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth New York, were formed in line on the right, and about at right angles to the remainder of the line. The Eighth Michigan and Fiftieth Pennsylvania were formed in line in the center, and the Highlanders in column of companies, with their skirmishers in position, constituted the left.

I now ordered Colonel Fenton to send forward skirmishers from his regiment, the Eighth Michigan to feel the enemy, and, if circumstances favored, to seize the battery. He first sent three companies to the front and left, under Lieutenant-Colonel Graves, and soon four companies to the front and right, under Major Watson, the flanks resting under cover of the woods, which extended to our right and ran down quite closely to our left. These companies advanced in most admirable order, pushed forward rapidly, plunged under a heavy fire of musketry into the woods at a double-quick, and engaged the enemy. The firing showed that he was in large force. I at once ordered Colonel Perry to push skirmishers from his right along the skirt of woods, and Colonel Christ, with one wing of his regiment, to move well to the front and left in column of companies and push skirmishers to the rear of the enemy’s position. My object in these several dispositions was to ascertain the force of the enemy, the particular character for the passage of troops of the wooded country in which the enemy lay concealed, and to carry out the plan which I had formed of interposing the bulk of my force between him and his battery, and thus compel the latter to surrender.

These orders were obeyed with great alacrity and without a moment’s delay. Both bodies moved forward and engaged the enemy. Colonel Christ’s movement was very opportune. It drove back the skirmishers on our left and enabled the skirmishers of Fenton and Perry to fall back and hive information of the condition of the field; for, be it remembered, our men had gained positions from which they could not be dislodged, and rendered certain the feasibility of my plan of attack. Indeed, the cheers at this moment from all portions of our line showed that our troops looked upon the day as theirs. The progress of our troops had been observed from the mast-heads of the gunboats, who threw shells over their heads into the ranks of the enemy. At this moment I received word that the skirmishers of the Highlanders, never once halting, had pushed on and entered the fort almost simultaneously with the force from the front under Colonel Leasure. The enemy’s fire had ceased for some fifteen minutes, and I gave orders for moving the whole command into the fort, where we arrived at about 4.30 o’clock. Here I met both Colonel Leasure, who was placed by me in command of the front and of the special movement from the ferry, and Captain Elliott, who commanded the crossing party at Seabrook, and learned of the complete success of the latter. The gunboats, the Seneca, Captain Ammen, and the Ellen, Captain Budd entered Whale Branch, as originally intended, and opened fire upon the battery opposite Seabrook. Captain Elliott crossed with his party and found a battery ready for guns, but no guns in position, and after destroying the works returned to Seabrook.

Captain Rodgers most kindly sent on shore a 12-pounder howitzer gun, under the command of Lieut. J. H. Upshur, and kept there one of the howitzers which had accompanied our march by land under Acting Master Louis Kempff. One of the wheels of the other howitzer had been broken a short time before reaching the fort. Night signals were also specially arranged to communicate with the gunboats.

Just before dark Lieutenant Lyons came in from the pickets, bringing {p.51} word that he had met a flag of truce, and that the officer tearing it asked for permission to take off their dead. The gunboats were about, firing a few shells into the woods where the skirmishers of the enemy had been observed. The firing was immediately stopped, and I sent Lieutenant Lyons back twice, granting a truce of one hour for that purpose, but he did not on either occasion find the flag. The gunboats were now brought into position on either side of the ferry and placed suitably to cover our operations, and I at once proceeded to make the proper dispositions for the night, established a strong picket force, with the entire Roundhead regiment as a reserve, and had the ferry properly prepared for the return of the troops.

My post and brigade quartermaster, Capt. William Lilley, in this business was most efficient, for he, entirely in the night, absolutely restored the old ferry, ropes, windlass and all, and with the assistance of two of my staff, Lieutenant Cottrell, Eighth Michigan, and Lieutenant Lyons, Fiftieth Pennsylvania, made arrangements for the most rapid and most orderly recrossing of the troops. The use of the ferry was required early in the morning for the passage of wagons and the 12-pounder and its carriage, which was the only one piece of ordnance found in the fort.

About 9 o’clock the work of crossing the troops commenced. The passage-way is about 550 feet wide. The whole force of 3,000 men, with their horses, was over at 12 o’clock. It was not less orderly than rapid. The enemy was in considerable force in the woods back of our position, watching our movements. The shell from the gunboats kept him very quiet At 12 o’clock I myself crossed with the last of the forces, having caused the buildings in the vicinity of the fort to be burned and the fort to be leveled sufficiently for all practical purposes.

I cannot close this report without congratulating the commanding general and the country on the good conduct of the troops under my command, none of whom, except the Highlanders, had ever been under fire before, and on the perfect success of the expedition, placed by him, so far as regards the land forces, in my hands. Looking to the marches by land and the movements by water, looking to the very considerable combination involved in the final concentration of troops, it is a little remarkable that every departure in detail from the original plan, and indeed every accident, seemed only to further it. We effected in flat-boats, manned by negroes alone and without the aid of a single employé, a landing on the enemy’s shore, having to cross in our boats a space of 3 miles. We moved to our point not along the main road, but across the fields and along paths shown us by negroes picked up upon the shore. We engaged the enemy on our own and not on his field. We gave him fair challenge of battle. Every regiment of my command was, through its skirmishers, brought into contact with him. He kept under cover, fell back from his position, and yielded the field to us. Our troops have confidence in themselves and faith in the bayonet.

This, in brief, is the history of the expedition and its morale, to be shown, I trust, more signally on future fields. Moreover this is the first occasion the system of signals invented by Major Myer has been tested in actual battle. I claim for the signal officers of my staff-Lieutenant Tafft and Lieutenant Cogswell-the merit of showing the code to be a perfect success, and myself the good fortune of commanding on the occasion.

Says Lieutenant Cogswell, who was on board the Ottawa:

Permit me, before closing, to call your attention to the able and efficient manner in which Lieutenant Tafft managed the signals on shore. During the whole march from {p.52} Adams’ Landing to the ferry he so managed it that only for a few minutes was he so situated that he could not instantly open communication, though in order to accomplish this he was frequently exposed to the direct fire of the enemy.

I must also express my warm acknowledgments and high appreciation of the services of the Navy. Captain Rodgers on all occasions responded to my requests. The working of the gunboats in the narrow channel of Port Royal and the handling of the guns was most masterly and most beautiful. The signaling was perfect throughout. The whole operation reflects the highest credit upon the Navy and upon the officers and men specially engaged in it. I repeat, my whole command, as well as myself, will mark with a white stone the day of this fraternal and patriotic cooperation. In saying that the troops under my command behaved with great coolness and constancy, I only say what every man observed. I will not particularize, except to say that the skirmishers of the Highlanders first met the enemy, and those of the Eighth Michigan came into the severest contact with him. This regiment has been and still is a great sufferer from sickness, but it showed that loyal steel from the frozen North has fire and power against the enemies of our country.

I must return my acknowledgments to the several members of my staff, to my assistant adjutant-general, Capt. Hazard Stevens, who is referred to in the highest terms in the accompanying reports; to Lieutenant Porter, Eighth Michigan Regiment, who, by means of the negroes, guided my force all the way from the first landing to the ferry (in this he was assisted by Lieutenant Taylor, Roundhead Regiment); to Lieutenant Lyons, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who organized the transportation on flat-boats, in which duty Lieutenant Cottrell, Eighth Michigan, rendered service; to Captain Fuller, assistant quartermaster, for valuable aid in his department and on my staff; and to Lieutenant Holbrook, who volunteered and served most acceptably as aide throughout. Dr. Kemble, the brigade surgeon, was very efficient. He examined in person, under fire, the ground occupied by our skirmishers, and personally superintended the bringing off of our wounded men. I am under very special obligations to my post and brigade quartermaster, Capt. William Lilley, who was indefatigable in preparing for the expedition and efficient in furthering it. He furnished the crews of negroes for the flats and removed the 12-pounder gun and carriage to Beaufort. At midnight he remounted it, took it across the ferry early in the morning, and brought it into Beaufort before night, taking along with him a wagon load of three-inch plank, and making eight bridges on the road. The large ferry-boat itself, with all its appurtenances, is now safely laid away at Beaufort in his charge, for use on future occasions.

The loss of my brigade is one killed, one missing, and nine wounded, as per surgeon’s report, herewith appended;* in addition to which 3 men were slightly wounded of the Forty-eighth Regiment. Among the wounded is Major Watson, of the Eighth Michigan Regiment, a most excellent officer, and who gallantly commanded in the late affair. The enemy’s loss must have been very considerable from our skirmishers alone, and still heavier from the shell practice of the Navy. We buried 3 of their men and have 1 of their wounded men in our hands.

A reconnoitering party I sent out to-day landed at the Adams house, examined the battle-field, and went to the ferry. They found and buried I of our missing men, known to have been wounded, and the only one killed, and encountered but one small scouting party of 6 mounted men of the enemy.


The negroes all report that there are no troops this side of Garden’s Corner. This party consisted of 20 men of the Eighth Michigan, under the command of Captain Ely.

From the observations made from the mast-heads of the gunboats and those made on the field, I estimate the force of the enemy at about 3,000 men, and from information obtained to-day they had 2,000 more within two hours’ march. The force which I moved from the Adams house was about 2,500 men, which, with the command of Leasure and of Elliott, made my whole force 3,000 men.

I append the sub-reports; and, in conclusion, I hope the general commanding may be gratified with our celebration of New Year’s Day.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient,

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding Land Forces.

Capt. L. H. PELOUZE, Assistant Adjutant-General Exped’y Corps, Port Royal, S. C.

* Embodied in No. 14.


No. 3.

Report of Col. William M. Fenton, Eighth Michigan Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH MICHIGAN REGIMENT, Main-land, Port Royal Ferry, January 1, 1862-8 p.m.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with your order, this regiment was safely landed at the Adams house, on main-land, having effected the crossing in flat-boats from Brick-yard Point, Port Royal Island, and took up the line of march towards the enemy’s battery at this place at 1 o’clock p.m. On our approach towards the ferry we were ordered to attack as skirmishers a masked battery which opened fire on us from the right. I immediately detached the first two and the tenth companies, and directed their march to the left and front of the battery. This was followed by four additional companies to the right and front. The fire of the battery with shells continued on our line until the skirmishers reached the right, when it was turned on them, and on their approach, right, left, and front, to within 50 to 100 yards of the enemy’s position, a fire of musketry was opened upon them. The force of the enemy as well as the battery was concealed to a considerable extent by trees, brush, and underwood, but appeared to consist of two mounted howitzers, supported by a regiment or more of infantry and some cavalry. The skirmishers were measurably protected in brush and furrows, and continued their fire upon the enemy, which was returned by volleys of musketry and shells from the battery. Our fire was well directed and seemed to be effective. One mounted officer, who appeared to be very active, was seen to fall from his horse, at which the troops on the enemy’s right were thrown into confusion. Their position seemed to be changing to the rear, and as our skirmishers were called off and the regiment formed in line the enemy’s fire ceased. The regiment was then marched to its position in line of battle in rear of the fort at this point. Lieutenant. Colonel Graves led on the left and Major Watson the right of skirmishers. The major, in leading on his line, received a severe flesh wound in the leg. I have to report that officers and men behaved with admirable bravery and coolness.


The loss of the enemy from the well-directed fire of our skirmishers cannot be less than 40. Our loss is 7 wounded, 2 missing.

I have the honor-to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. M. FENTON, Colonel Eighth Michigan Regiment.

Brigadier-General STEVENS.


No. 4.

Report of Lieut. Col. James L. Fraser, Forty-seventh New York Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS FORTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT N. Y. S. V., Hilton Head, January 3, 1862.

CAPTAIN: Pursuant to orders from Brigadier-General Viele, I embarked with my regiment on board the United States steamboat Boston on or about noon Tuesday, December 31, 1861, and was ordered by General Sherman to report to Brigadier-General Stevens at Beaufort, where we arrived at, say, 6 p.m., remaining on board off said place until, say, 7 a.m., the morning following, when we started for Port Royal Ferry, arriving some few miles this side, and landed by means of surf-boats. Upon landing of the right wing orders were received to march. Taking my position on the left of Colonel Perry, Forty-eighth New York, and under his orders we advanced, and arriving at the woods, was ordered by Colonel Perry to reconnoiter with my regiment, and give all information as regards the position of the enemy. Discovered a rifle-pit. The right flank company, being skirmishers, fired, and instantly routed the enemy, holding said pit, when orders came from Colonel Perry to return to the fort. During the night the regiment was detailed on picket and fatigue duty.

At, say, 11 a.m. on the morning of January 2, 1862, the regiment crossed Port Royal Ferry and marched to Beaufort, went on board the United States steamboat Boston, and remained off said place all night. Sailed for Hilton Head early in the morning of January 3. Landed by means of surf-boats, and returned to the camp in fine spirits, and am happy to inform you that none of my regiment were either wounded, killed, or taken prisoner.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

JAMES L. FRASER, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Forty-seventh Regiment N. Y. Vols.

Capt. HAZARD STEVENS, Assistant Adjutant-General, General Stevens’ Brigade.


No. 5.

Report of Col. James H. Perry, Forty-eighth New York infantry.

HEADQUARTERS FORTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT N. Y. VOLS., Hilton Head, S. C., January 3, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I beg leave respectfully to submit for the information of the general commanding the following report of the participation of my command in the affair at Port Royal Ferry on the 1st instant:

On account of some delay on the part of the Forty-seventh New York, {p.55} I detained my column at Adams’ plantation (the place of landing) until the latest moment, and finally commenced the march before the arrival of two companies of that regiment. I had advanced perhaps three-quarters of a mile, when I received an order from the general to bring forward my command with the greatest expedition. We immediately advanced at double-quick until we overtook the supporting column, when I received notice of the existence of a battery threatening our right flank, and was ordered to attack and capture it. In obedience to the order, I immediately deployed my column, and forming double line of battle advanced upon the position of the enemy, the Forty-eighth New York, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Barton, leading, supported by the Forty-seventh New York, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Fraser.

When my first line was fairly under fire at long range it was halted under shelter of the timber and protected by the inequalities of the ground, and I sent forward-two companies of skirmishers, with orders to ascertain the exact position of the battery, the best method of approaching it, the number of its guns, and with what force it was supported. The skirmishers were met by a sharp fire of artillery and musketry, but they went forward steadily and rapidly, and soon reported to me that a marsh covered the front of the enemy’s position, and that they had at least four guns, supported by a heavy force of infantry. I then advanced the Forty-seventh New York for the purpose of maneuvering upon the left flank and gaining the rear of the enemy before attacking in front. The Forty-seventh pressed through the timber, and had gained a position well on the left and rear, and their advance had exchanged a few shots with the enemy, when I received the general’s order to retire, the battery on the river having been taken and the object of the expedition accomplished. I drew off my men without loss. Three members of the Forty-eighth Regiment were slightly wounded, but not a man was disabled or rendered unfit for duty.

I am happy to add that the men and officers of my command behaved with great steadiness and resolution, obeying the word of command under fire as if they had been on drill.

Very respectfully,

J. H. PERRY, Colonel Forty-eighth Regiment New York Volunteers.


No. 6.

Report of Maj. David Morrison, Seventy-ninth New York infantry.


GENERAL: I have the honor to submit to you my report of the part taken by the Seventy-ninth (Highlanders) with the expedition on the 1st instant under your command:

Agreeably to orders received on the afternoon of the 31st ultimo, I moved seven companies of my regiment, consisting of the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th companies, to the creek leading to the Brick-yard, reaching that point at 5 o’clock p.m., where they bivouacked for the night. At 4 a.m. on the morning of the 1st instant I received orders to embark in boats, seven in number, furnished by Lieutenant Lyons. Having accomplished this satisfactorily, I proceeded down the creek leading to {p.56} the Brick-yard, and was there joined by five large man-of-war launches, manned by sailors and armed with howitzers, who conveyed us to the point directly opposite on the main-land, known as - Landing, where we arrived about 8 o’clock a.m. and disembarked.

By your orders I immediately advanced a party of skirmishers to scour the woods in the vicinity, which was done without opposition from the enemy. I then formed the battalion and advanced, sending forward two companies, the 4th and 5th, as skirmishers, and took the road leading to the Adams plantation. We were accompanied by a party of sailors, with two small brass howitzers, and arrived there about noon. This operation was under the immediate direction of Capt. Hazard Stevens, the assistant adjutant-general. After resting about half an hour I was ordered to take up the position in advance, leading to the enemy’s fort at Port Royal Ferry. I advanced about half a mile and halted until receiving further orders, which were given by Captain Stevens, viz, to send forward skirmishers and advance. I detailed for this purpose the 4th and 8th companies, who at once took up their position as such at about a quarter of a mile-in advance of the main body of the battalion. The order was then given to move, which was done in gallant style. The men were eager to tackle the enemy, and it was with difficulty I could restrain them from pushing forward. Having advanced about the distance of 1 mile the enemy opened fire upon us from a battery in the woods on our right flank, some of the shells falling in our midst, but happily without doing any injury, my men remarking that “their shells were warranted not to kill.”

I continued to advance, and took up a position within half a mile of the fort, and rested for some time until I received orders from you to advance and occupy the fort, which had already been taken possession of by my skirmishers, who exchanged a few shots with the retreating foe. I entered the fort and found it evacuated by the enemy, leaving behind them one cannon, spiked. I am happy to be able to report that the whole operation was conducted without loss.

In closing my report I deem it my duty to bring before your notice the exemplary and soldierly conduct of the Highlanders, every one acting as if on parade, and confident that their general would lead them to victory. Captain Stevens’ noble conduct excited our admiration, and their confidence and attachment to him are none the less than towards yourself.

Respectfully submitted by, general, your most obedient servant,

DAVID MORRISON, Major, Commanding Seventy-ninth Highlanders.



No. 7.

Report of Lieut. William St. G. Elliott, Seventy-ninth New York Infantry.

SEABROOK’S FERRY, January 2, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the body of troops assigned me for duty on January 1, instant, were in position along the bank of the river opposite Barnwell’s Island before daybreak, awaiting the arrival of the gunboats. About 8 o’clock I manned a boat and went down Whale Branch to meet the vessels on their way up the river, as I was {p.57} anxious to communicate with them in relation to a code of signals I had instructed two men in for the purpose of properly directing the gun-boats’ line of fire. I met them about 1 mile below, and went on board the Seneca and communicated my wishes to Captain Ammen, who very kindly gave me all the assistance in his power. I suggested that a few shell should be thrown into the enemy’s works opposite Seabrook’s Ferry and then a number back in the woods to the right and left. I had no idea at any time that there were more troops than one picket stationed at their works, but apprehended a concealed force in the woods to the right. At a given signal from me the troops, who until now lay concealed in the bushes, manned the flat-boats in the following order: 1st, 9th Company, and, 2d, 6th Company Highlanders; Company B and Company C, Roundheads. I led the way in a small boat. The tide, fortunately, was very high, and I could thus take the flats directly across 200 yards of marsh that intervened between the river and the enemy’s works. The companies landed in regular succession, except Company C, Roundhead regiment, which I did not think it necessary to land. We found the work, as we expected, abandoned, with evidences of a hasty retreat of but a small party of men. The works were nearly completed, and were intended for one large seacoast gun and a field battery. The magazine was rather out of proportion to the size of the works, being amply large enough for a fort of six heavy pieces. The works were admirably masked and pretty well constructed. I threw out a semicircular line of pickets, who reported small bodies of the enemy some distance in the interior. I gave orders for the entire destruction of the work and the felling of trees, while I started in my boat for Stewart’s plantation, formerly the headquarters of a rebel picket, and situated about half a mile from Port Royal Ferry. I made a successful landing, and searched for late papers and letters or other property of service to the Army. I found none of the former, and all of the latter is now in possession of Captain Stevens, assistant adjutant-general.

From this point I had a very good view of the batteries at Port Royal Ferry and I found them quite deserted. This must have been three hours before possession was taken of the place by the troops under Colonel Leasure. I should have immediately gone there had I known officially that another column was approaching from the right. I returned to my command, and finding the work of destruction about finished, with the exception of all the trees, and not having sufficient axes for the purpose, I withdrew the troops after some trouble, as the tide had fallen and the flats were floating in an adjacent creek, the troops consequently being obliged to march some distance through heavy mud. I relanded my command at Seabrook’s without further difficulty.

Truly and respectfully,

W. ST. G. ELLIOTT, Commanding Left Column.



No. 8.

Report of Col. B. C. Christ, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Infantry.

BEAUFORT, S. C., January 2, 1862.

SIR: I respectfully submit the following: According to Special Orders, No. -, I left our encampment at Beaufort at 5.30 o’clock p.m. December {p.58} 30, 1861, with four companies of my command, viz, C, E, F, and K, and proceeded along the shell road in the direction of Port Royal Ferry to the cross-roads, where I was joined by Companies D and H. We then proceeded along the shell road to the 6-mile post, where we bivouacked until 2.30 o’clock a.m. January 1, 1862, when I again took up my line of march, under the direction of a guide, to a point on Coosaw Creek. From this latter point I was ordered by the general commanding to a point called the Brick-yard, on the upper end of Port Royal Island, and as soon as boats were furnished me to push across Coosaw River and laud at the Adams house, where I arrived at 12.30 p.m., and immediately formed a junction with Companies A, B, G, and I, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Brenholts, who had reached this Point from Beaufort by boats. The whole regiment then took their position in the center of the brigade, and proceeded with it under heavy cannonading of the enemy over a narrow causeway and along a road leading to the fort at Port Royal Ferry. When within three-quarters of a mile of the fort I was ordered to move with the right wing of my command on the enemy’s right, with a view to support Colonel Fenton, of the Eighth Michigan, who was gallantly leading his command in the face of a battery on the enemy’s left. I accordingly moved forward, taking the precaution to throw out small skirmishing parties, the better to watch the movements of the enemy and to guard against surprise. After moving forward about 300 yards my advance was fired upon by the enemy from a wood on our left. I called in my skirmishers, and immediately put my command on a double-quick until within good musket range, when I discovered from 400 to 500 of the enemy forming in line of battle and evidently preparing to give us a warm reception. I, however, anticipated his movement, and before his line was completed mine was formed and ready for action. I immediately commenced firing, and I believe with telling effect, for at the third volley the enemy broke and beat a hasty retreat towards the woods.

I again rapidly pushed forward, with a view to cut off his retreat and prevent a junction with the main body, when I was arrested in my further progress by shells from our gunboats, which now came pouring in among them, making sad havoc in their already decimated ranks. After firing one more volley at their broken and disordered ranks we retired about 200 yards out of range of the gunboats, and were subsequently ordered to take a position near the fort, where we bivouacked for the night, and to-day, January 2, recrossed the Coosaw, and reached our encampment at 5 o’clock p.m.

Although the whole of my command were within range of the enemy’s cannon for a half hour and a portion of them within 100 yards of a detachment of his (the enemy’s) infantry, and for some time sustained a heavy fire, I have no killed to report and none wounded save M. Weidenhammer, of Company E, a slight wound on the right foot, and Ensign Herbert, wounded in the leg by a spent piece of shell.

I cannot close this report without expressing my decided approbation of the conduct of both officers and men of my command-to the officers for anticipating almost every order, thereby rendering my portion of the work comparatively easy, and to the men for their strict attention and prompt compliance with every command.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

B. C. CHRIST, Colonel, Commanding Fiftieth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Capt. HAZARD STEVENS, Assistant Adjutant-General.



No. 9.

Report of Lieut. Col. Thomas & Brenholts, Fiftieth Pennsylvania infantry.

BEAUFORT, S. C., January 3, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements and operations of that portion of your regiment which was placed under my command on the afternoon of December 31, 1861:

Soon after you had taken up your line of march I received an order through the assistant adjutant-general to form my command and march them to the wharf at Beaufort, where we were rapidly embarked in six flat-boats. In accordance with my instructions, I then reported for further orders to General Stevens, and, these being received, I pushed off with my command, consisting of Companies A, B, G, and I, under the guidance of Corporal Hurst, and after a long and laborious passage reached the Ottawa, where I conferred with Captain Rodgers, commanding the fleet, and after leaving with him several negroes acquainted with the channel we pushed on, making but slow progress, the tide setting swiftly against us, and finally reached the Brick-yard, where we were informed that the place of rendezvous was farther on, at a point which we reached, after the most arduous rowing about 2 o’clock on the morning of the 1st January, 1862. The Highlanders here embarking in accordance with the orders of the general commanding, who was himself on the ground, we followed them, and between the hours of 6 and 7 effected an unopposed landing on the enemy’s shore. Here, preceded by skirmishers from the Highlanders, by the boats’ crews with howitzers, and immediately by the Highland regiment, we took up our line of march for the ferry, seeing none of the enemy but a small party who were convoying a wagon, and from whom we received a few harmless shots, up to the time of our being joined by yourself while we were lying in the rear of the house known as Adams’.

In conclusion, I would express my entire satisfaction with the conduct of the officers and men under my command.

Very respectfully,

THOMAS S. BRENHOLTS, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Col. B. C. CHRIST.


No. 10.

Report of Col. Daniel Leasure, One hundredth Pennsylvania infantry.

FORT AT PORT ROYAL FERRY, January 1, 1862.

GENERAL: Pursuant to your orders I dispatched two companies of my command, viz, Company B, Captain Dawson, and Company C, Captain Cornelius, to report to Captain Elliott, of the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment (Highlanders), in command at Seabrook, on yesterday; last night at 8 o’clock Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong to a well-masked position south of the Stewart house, near Port Royal Ferry, with four companies, viz, Company A, Captain Templeton; Company G, Captain Brown; Company I, Captain Squiers, and Company M, Captain Campbell, where he remained perfectly concealed from the enemy until he received orders to move over the ferry. With Company D, Captain Hamilton, and Company K, Captain Van Gorder, I remained in reserve at the headquarters of Major Morrison, of the Seventy-ninth New York {p.60} Regiment, until 8 o’clock this morning, when I placed them under charge of Major Leckey, with instructions to remain till ordered forward, and detain all teams and carriages, as well as all spectators, at that point till I gave orders for them to be permitted to advance.

At 8.30 o’clock I joined Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong, and selected a point of observation at the fort, where with a strong glass I could observe the operations of the enemy in front and on either side alongshore. At that hour the enemy could be seen in force in and about the fort and for some distance in its rear. I counted about 200 men in the fort at that time, and the number to the rear I computed at four times that number, but there was evidently a force of cavalry secreted in the forest still farther to the rear, as I could observe mounted men in considerable numbers passing the interstices of the woods. At that time the enemy seemed unconscious of any attack impending, for my own force in front was effectually concealed, save the ordinary sentinels of the Seventy-ninth, which were posted as usual, and there was no evidence of any approach visible from the fort.

At 9 o’clock one of the enemy’s pickets came hastily in from the eastward, and immediately the forces in and about the fort fell into line, and the artillerists manned the guns, and gave them a direction to command the approach by water from the east. At 9.30 heavy firing on the west announced that the gunboats Seneca and Ellen were approaching from Broad River and shelling the batteries as they advanced. This seemed to disturb the occupants of the fort a good deal, and they changed the range of their guns to command the approach by water from that direction. In a few minutes (say twenty) the firing to the east announced the approach of the gunboats Pembina, Ottawa, and Hale, and a look in that direction revealed those boats, or at least two of them-the Ottawa and Pembina covering the landing of troops in small boats from a transport lying at anchor about 4 or 5 miles to the east of the ferry. At 10 to 10.30 o’clock the firing on the west was very heavy, and as the boats approached nearer and nearer and the shells began to explode in the woods along the shore and far back towards the interior the enemy’s infantry began to leave the trenches, and seek an open field to the east and rearward of the fort, where they lay down in the deep furrows amongst the weeds.

At this stage of affairs I ordered Lieutenant Marshall, commanding Company K, of the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment (who was for the time being with his command attached to my command), to send an orderly to the position occupied by one of his pickets alongshore east ward, to communicate, if possible, the position of the enemy’s infantry to the commanding officer of the nearest gunboat. In about half an hour the Hale steamed up and fired several shells with great precision into the field, and the enemy ran off in all directions inland, and I saw no more of them. Seeing the works apparently deserted, and fearing the low tide might beach the flat-boats, I sent some men into them, with instructions to place them well afloat at low tide. On seeing this some 20 or 30 artillerists in the fort ran out a field piece so as to command the boats, and, not wishing to precipitate matters or draw their fire unnecessarily, I recalled the men, and at this juncture the officer in command of the Pembina arrived, and reported to me that you were on the farther shore, with the troops accompanying you, as indeed I had observed for some time; and, further, that the gunboats would run up shortly and shell out the fort. I now instructed Coxswain Connor, who had been assigned to me by Captain Fuller to hold a party of watermen, 6 in number, from Company M, in readiness to put the boats into {p.61} the ferry at a moment’s notice. Shortly after the gunboats on both sides approached and began to throw shells into the fort. As soon as the gunboats began to approach the enemy withdrew one or two field pieces and hastily sent them up northward, and also attempted to remove a heavy siege gun; but they seemed to encounter some difficulty, and they abandoned it with much precipitation on the bursting of a shell from the Ottawa, which fell in close proximity.

I now observed your skirmishers of the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment approaching carefully along the coast about a mile eastward of the fort, and judging that a rapid concentration of the forces was your aim, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong to advance the first detachment, Company M, Captain Campbell, to the ferry, to be followed by Company D, Captain Hamilton, and Company K, Captain Van Gorder, under charge of Major Leckey, and I attended to getting off the boats as rapidly as possible to meet them. Through the efficient aid of Coxswain Connor, whom I take this opportunity of recommending to your favorable notice, the boats were at the ferry at the proper moment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong immediately embarked and crossed over with his detachment, and on reaching the fort he found it entirely abandoned by the enemy, and took possession of it, and sent Captain Campbell with a portion of his command to make a reconnaissance to the northward. Captain Campbell soon came upon the enemy in retreat, and received their fire without any damage, and returned it without knowing with what effect. The enemy, about 50 in number, continued to retreat, and a detachment of Captain Campbell’s company, while deploying in the order of skirmishers to the right, came upon about 40 of the enemy guarding the approach to a hospital. The enemy fired upon Captain Campbell’s men without effect, and on their returning the fire two of the enemy fell, as I afterwards learned, mortally wounded, and died instantly. Before this I had arrived with the rest of my command, and a portion of the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment had also arrived, and in a short time you also arrived with your entire force, and the day was won.

I am happy in being able to report favorably of my command, and also to recommend to your favor Lieutenant Marshall, in command of Company K, of the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment, for the time being attached to my command. His intimate knowledge of the locality and ready co-operation deserve, as they have received, my warmest thanks, which I very respectfully submit.

Your most obedient servant,

DANIEL LEASURE, Colonel Roundhead Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Brigade E. C.


No. 11.

Reports of Lieut. William & Cogswell, Fifth Connecticut Infantry, signal officer.

BEAUFORT, S. C., January 3, 1862.

GENERAL: Agreeably to your instructions, received on the 31st instant, I reported to Captain Rodgers, on board the Ottawa, for signal service. Communication was first opened with your command on the {p.62} main-land at Adams’ Landing about 11 o’clock in the morning of the 1st instant, and was carried on without interruption until our troops had all recrossed to Port Royal Island, on the morning of the 2d instant. By means of the signals the position of the enemy, your own movements and wishes, were promptly communicated to Captain Rodgers, enabling him to render you assistance, which otherwise would, I think, have been impossible. This is, as far as I am aware, the first time this system of signaling has been used in action. I flatter myself that it has proved successful, and trust that it will meet with your approval.

Permit me, before closing, to call your attention to the able and efficient manner in which Lieutenant Tafft managed the signals on shore. During the whole march from Adams’ Landing to the ferry he so managed it that only for a few minutes was he so situated that he could not instantly open communication, though in order to accomplish this he was frequently exposed to the direct fire of the enemy.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

WM. S. COGSWELL, Lieutenant in charge of Party attacked to Second Brigade.



BEAUFORT, S. C., January 4, 1862.

MAJOR: I hereby transmit the following report of signal operations:

During the first of last month General Stevens occupied Beaufort, and as soon as possible after our arrival stations were built and communication opened with headquarters on Hilton Head, since which time the line has been constantly employed in the transmission of messages.

On the 31st of last month I was notified by General Stevens of an expedition to surprise and take possession of a battery of the enemy, and received orders to report to Captain Rodgers, on board the gunboat Ottawa, for signal duty.

On the morning of the 1st instant I accompanied Captain Rodgers, who went with the launches to cover the landing of our forces.

After our troops had landed I returned to the Ottawa, and opened communication with the shore at Adams’ Landing (a point about a mile and a half from the first landing, but in order to reach it the troops had to make a circuit inland, and were hid from the shipping by thick woods) about 11 o’clock, from which time until all our forces had recrossed to Port Royal Island, on the morning of the 2d instant, communication was uninterrupted. The distance from Adams’ Landing to the ferry is about 2 miles (the ferry is where our troops remained overnight and crossed the next morning); the shore is swampy, and heavy woods come down nearly to the water, with occasional openings. In these woods the enemy were posted, and through them our forces had to fight their way to the battery at the ferry. By means of your signals Captain Rodgers was kept constantly informed of the position of the enemy and the disposition of our troops, and was thus enabled to direct his fire with precision and without fear of injuring our own men.

Nothing could be more perfect than the manner in which we were able to transmit communications; it exceeded my expectations entirely. During the whole march, which occupied some four hours I do not think there was more than ten minutes during which we could not transmit {p.63} messages instantly. Both General Stevens and Captain Rodgers were pleased to express their appreciation of the importance of your system of signals, commending it very highly. Without its assistance I do not think the fleet would have been able to have rendered the great service it did and our land forces would have met much greater resistance.

In conclusion, permit me to congratulate you upon the success of the expedition and the part your signals took in it.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. S. COGSWELL, Lieutenant, Acting Signal Officer Second Brigade E. C.



No. 12.

Reports of Lieut. Henry S. Tafft, Fifteenth Massachusetts Infantry, signal officer.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE E. C., Beaufort, S. C., January 3, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, agreeably to your instructions, I accompanied the expedition under your command to the mainland, and was present during the engagement with the enemy near Port Royal Ferry on the 1st instant; that during the whole time your requests to the commander of the gunboats were successfully transmitted by the system of signals invented by Major Myer. The firing from the gunboats was in this manner done in entire concert with you, and therefore proved the more effective, as the various positions of the enemy were thus made known to Captain Rodgers, commanding gunboats. My signal flag, carried by myself, was repeatedly fired upon when in presence of the enemy. Without egotism, I claim the honor for Lieutenant Cogswell (who was on gunboat Ottawa) and myself of being the first signal officers who have performed signal duty under fire upon the battle-field since the adoption of the system into the service of the United States; whether successfully or not I of course leave to your judgment.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY S. TAFFT, Lieutenant, Signal Officer.

Brigadier-General STEVENS Commanding Second Brigade.


HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE E. C., Beaufort, S. C., January 4, 1862.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that I was present and took part in the battle of Port Royal Ferry on the 1st instant, Lieut. William S. Cogswell being on board gunboat Ottawa, acting in concert with me.

General Stevens (commanding our troops) directed all the firing from the gunboats during the battle through the signal officers, naming different points where their shells should be thrown, when to cease firing, when to open fire, &c., thus enabling the gunboats to use their artillery {p.64} with as much precision as though they were upon the field, and consequently creating terrible slaughter among the enemy.

I had before the battle caused to be made some two dozen flags, blue and white [Blue/White] to be carried by our troops, to prevent any mistakes by firing upon each other, and also to assist the firing from the gunboats, which I believe was a great assistance, and effectually prevented any such unfortunate errors.

Lieutenant Cogswell and myself had also arranged a simple code for certain messages, which enabled us to work with surprising quickness, and by so doing added still more to the success of your system of signaling. I believe that an impromptu code can always be arranged by signal officers for use upon any important occasion of this kind, and when they know their ground, which will prove of immense service. I found in this manner that I could send a message from the battle-field to Lieutenant Cogswell between the discharges of artillery, when the smoke lifted, which could not otherwise have been done.

My flag was repeatedly fired upon, the enemy seeming to understand its use and importance. Their battery, which was concealed in the woods threw canister and shell directly across the field in which I was stationed, and, although they struck all around and near me, neither myself nor the man with me (Sergeant Ried) were hurt.

My feet were first upon the shore of the main-land of South Carolina, the signal flag the first to wave, and it was kept constantly flying during the whole engagement.

At 10 p.m. I returned to Beaufort with a dispatch for General Sherman, at Hilton Head, announcing our success, and Lieutenant Town immediately went back to the ferry to act in my place in case of necessity.

I believe that the very great assistance rendered by the use of your system of signals aided very materially in gaining a victory for us, and that fact I also think is fully impressed upon the mind of the general commanding, as well as upon the officer commanding the gunboats.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY S. TAFFT, First Lieut. Fifteenth Mass. Regt. Vols., Actg. Sig. Off. E. C.

Maj. ALBERT J. MYER, Commanding Signal Corps.


No. 13.

Letter from Maj. Albert J. Myer, Signal Officer, U. S. Army.

OFFICE OF THE SIGNAL OFFICER, A. P., Washington, D. C., January 14, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit to the general commanding the Army the inclosed letter of special mention from General Stevens, the official report of Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, commanding naval forces, in the recent action at Port Royal Ferry, and the official reports of Lieuts. Henry S. Tafft and William S. Cogswell, acting signal officers of the Army, engaged in that action.


The gallantry, good conduct, and services rendered by First Lieut. William S. Cogswell, Fifth Connecticut Volunteers, and First Lieut. Henry S. Tafft, Fifteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, acting signal officers, having been of a character which has elicited the official approbation and mention of the officers commanding both the land and the naval forces, I desire to bring their names to the especial notice of the general commanding the Army.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALBERT J. MYER, Signal Officer, Major, U. S. Army.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS, Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.


U. S. FLAG-SHIP WABASH, Port Royal Harbor, S. C., January 3, 1862.

SIR: ... Lieutenant Cogswell, a signal officer of the Army, was directed to report to me for duty, and furnished me with the means of constantly communicating with General Stevens with a facility and rapidity unknown to the naval service. I take this opportunity of recommending that the code of signals invented by Major Myer be at once introduced into the Navy.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. R. P. RODGERS, Commander.

Flag-Officer S. F. DUPONT, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.


HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE E. C., Beaufort, S. C., January 3, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I desire to express my great confidence in your code of signals from my actual experience on the field of battle, and to call your attention to the great skill and merit of the signal officers of my command, Lieutenant Tafft and Lieutenant Cogswell. In my official report of the affair at Port Royal Ferry on New Year’s Day I have stated that the signaling was a perfect success. It was indeed an extraordinary success. So far as I am advised, this is the first time it has been tested in actual battle.

It affords me the greater satisfaction to be able to give this testimonial from the circumstance that I had faith in your code from the beginning, as you will well remember, and lent my humble name in favor of your appointment to your present position.

Truly, your friend,

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Maj. ALBERT J. MYER, Signal Officer of the Army, Washington City.



No. 14.

Return of casualties in the Union forces at Port Royal Ferry, S. C., January 1, 1862.

[Compiled from records of Adjutant-General’s Office.]

Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.
8th Michigan216110
48th New York33
30th Pennsylvania22


No. 15.

Congratulatory order from Major-General McClellan, U. S. Army.


HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, A. G. O., Washington, November 14, 1861.

The Major-General Commanding announces to the Army with sincere pleasure, 1st, the brilliant reduction of the forts in Port Royal harbor, by the officers and sailors of our gallant fleet, under command of Flag-officer S. F. DuPont, the utter rout of the enemy, the capture of the town of Beaufort, and the landing of Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman’s army on the coast of South Carolina; 2d, the victory achieved by Brig. Gen. William Nelson at Pikeville, Ky., in which, after two days’ hard fighting, the rebels were completely defeated and put to flight; and, 3d, the daring attack made by Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant with an inferior force, on the rebels at Belmont, Mo., and the signal defeat of the latter, with a loss of all their artillery, baggage, and means of transportation.

The Major-General Commanding cannot too highly extol the steadiness, courage, and admirable conduct displayed by officers, sailors, and soldiers alike in these several engagements. He commends them to the imitation of the whole Army.

By command of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan:

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.


No. 16.

Report of Brig. Gen. John C. Pemberton, C. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH MILITARY DIST. S. C., Pocotaligo Station, S. C., January 10, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith official reports from Brig. Gen. D. S. Donelson, Provisional Army; Col. James Jones, Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers; Lieut. Col. D. Barnes Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, and Maj. C. Jones, Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, of their respective operations against the enemy in the affair on the Coosaw River on the 1st instant.


About 9.30 a.m. on that day, hearing heavy and rapid firing, I moved with as much dispatch as possible from my headquarters near Pocotaligo Station towards the direction whence it appeared to proceed. On reaching the camp of the Twelfth South Carolina Regiment, located where the Sheldon road and that from Page’s Point and Cunningham’s Bluff intersect the Port Royal road, I found that no positive information had been received as to the precise points whence the cannonading proceeded.

Towards 12 m. I received the first dispatch from Col. James Jones, commanding Fourteenth South Carolina Volunteers, stating that the enemy was landing in strong force at Chisolm’s Landing, and shortly after another informing me that there was an evident intention of landing a large force from Chisolm’s to Port Royal Ferry. I immediately directed Colonel Jones to have the siege howitzer and the long 12-pounder iron gun on siege carriage (the only two guns of greater caliber than 6-pounder field pieces which I had been able to place in position on the Coosaw River) in readiness to be removed from the intrenchments at the ferry should their safety be threatened by the enemy’s advance on our left. I will here remark that the 12-pounder referred to, being very heavy and not equipped for transportation, was unfortunately, but accidentally, overturned in a ditch in the act of removal. The heavy fire from the enemy’s gunboats rendered it impracticable to extricate it without the risk of too great a loss of life. It was therefore spiked and left. I also directed Colonel Jones to move towards the enemy at once, and to attack him the moment an opportunity should offer, and, if compelled to fall back, to do so fighting. In addition to his own regiment, Colonel Jones had under his command a section of Captain Leake’s Virginia battery, which on several occasions during the day was effectively employed against the enemy’s columns, under Captain Leake in pen son. Forty cavalry, under Major Oswald and Captain Evans, and four companies of the Twelfth South Carolina Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes commanding) Colonel Dunovant being in attendance at the session of the State Convention in Columbia), were moved forward with as much dispatch as possible. Colonel Barnes arrived in time to assist in opening the first fire on the enemy’s forces.

To the reports of these officers (Colonel Jones and Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes) I respectfully refer for details of the operations of their respective corps, though during the engagement Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes acted under the immediate orders of his superior.

A large portion of the Tennessee brigade, under Brigadier-General Donelson, and Thornton’s Virginia field battery were also ordered forward to the support of Colonel Jones. They did not, however, reach the field in time to take part in the action; though moved with the utmost promptitude, the brigade was disappointed in its desire to meet the enemy. I respectfully refer to General Donelson’s report, herewith.

During the day and succeeding night I was in frequent communication with Maj. C. Jones, commanding a detachment of three companies of his regiment (Twelfth South Carolina Volunteers) and a section of Leake’s battery, near Page’s Point, and in observation of Cunningham’s Bluff. The enemy, though expending a large number of shot and shell, did no further damage than to burn the wood work of a battery which I was about completing, but for which I had not been able to obtain guns. Major Jones’ report is respectfully forwarded herewith.

Although the enemy did not land in force at Page’s Point or Cunningham’s Bluff it was entirely practicable for him to have done so under cover of his gunboats at any time. This compelled me to hold in reserve {p.68} a sufficient force to meet him on the road in those directions; or, should he so select, on that to Mackay’s Point, where a landing was equally feasible, and would have taken my advanced troops in rear, should he succeed in forcing his way. For these reasons no other troops than those mentioned were advanced, though others were held in readiness at a moment’s notice.

Colonel Martin’s cavalry corps acted during the day principally as pickets and vedettes, the colonel himself rendering efficient service as my aide-de-camp when his other duties permitted.

Our troops evinced from first to last a laudable desire to meet the enemy whenever and wherever it could be done upon anything like equal terms. On every occasion of his attempt to advance beyond the cover of his gunboats he was driven back or his troops dispersed. At no time during his occupation of the river bank did he leave their protection, and finally, when withdrawing to the island, did so under a fire from his vessels almost as heavy as that under which he had landed.

I also transmit herewith reports of killed and wounded; many of the latter were slight, by far the larger portion of the casualties being from the shells of the fleet; yet, from all the information I have been able to obtain, I am convinced the enemy’s loss at least equaled our own.

My aide-de-camp, Lieut. J. H. Morrison, Provisional Army, was necessarily engaged during the day in office duties. I am much indebted to my volunteer aides-de-camp, Messrs. J. Huguenin and George Elliott.

To the officers whose reports are transmitted herewith I have to return my thanks, and through them to those under their immediate command. Also to Surgeon Turnipseed, Twelfth South Carolina Volunteers, for his untiring professional zeal, as well in the field as in the camp.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. C. PEMBERTON, Brigadier-General, Commanding Fourth Mil. Dist. S. C.

Capt. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.


No. 17.

Report of Brig. Gen. Daniel S. Donelson, C. S. Army.

BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, Pocotaligo, S. C., January 5, 1862.

GENERAL: I refer you to the inclosed report of Col. James Jones, of the Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, which I found at my quarters last night, of all that transpired in the engagement of the forces under his command with the enemy at Port Royal Ferry on the 1st instant.

I reached the encampment of Colonel Jones between the hours of 4 and 5 p.m. the 1st instant; proceeded about 200 yards, after a moment’s halt, to a point in the woods near the Kean’s Neck road. Here I halted my command, which consisted of eight companies of the Eighth Tennessee Regiment, the Sixteenth Tennessee Regiment not having come up, until I could make a personal reconnaissance by going into the field in which the Chaplin house was situated, with the view to taking position and to co-operate with the forces of Colonel Jones. I saw upon entering this field our troops falling back along the road leading from the Chaplin house perpendicularly to the Kean’s Neck road, near the {p.69} point I had stationed the Eighth Tennessee Regiment The troops of Colonel Jones, without halting, passed to his camp.

Here, after making the acquaintance of Colonel Jones, I ordered the whole force to halt. I found at once the enemy’s shells could do us much injury without any ability on our part to return the enemy’s fire; they, the enemy in the field, having previously retired, under cover of their gunboats, out of sight.

It being now near sundown, I ordered the entire command to fall back to a point out of the range of the enemy’s gunboats. During all this time, both at the camp of Colonel Jones and on the march to the rear to take position, there was a quick and constant firing by the enemy. No casualty happened, the shells falling to our right. They ceased firing just at dark.

I have omitted to say that before getting to Colonel Jones’ camp, Colonel Martin, commanding regiment of cavalry, rode up, introduced himself, and gave me the direction to lead my Eighth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers to the point occupied by them until he and myself could survey the open field through which Colonel Jones’ regiment was then retiring. We thus remained until they passed into the Kean’s Neck road, near the point of location of the Eighth Tennessee Regiment.

At this moment, in the preparation of this report, I received the inclosed official report of Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes, of the Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, who commanded a detachment of four companies of said regiment in the action with the enemy on the 1st instant at Port Royal Ferry.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I am, with high respect, your obedient servant,

D. S. DONELSON, Brigadier-General First Brigade, Fourth Mil. Dist. of S. C.

Brigadier-General PEMBERTON, Commanding Fourth Military District South Carolina.


No. 18.

Report of Col. James Jones, Fourteenth South Carolina Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH REGT. S. C. VOLS., Tomotley, S. C., January 4, 1862.

GENERAL: In obedience to instructions I have the honor to report the following occurrences of the 1st instant:

My camp was pitched on the road from Garden’s Corner to Port Royal Ferry, 1 mile from the latter place, and where a road diverges eastward at nearly a right angle with the Port Royal Ferry road leading into Kean’s Neck, and nearly parallel with and about a mile distant from Coosaw River. At the termination of the causeway of the ferry, on the northern bank of the Coosaw River, an earthwork was thrown up to prevent a crossing at that point, armed with two siege guns (a howitzer and 12-pounder gun), under the command of Lieutenant Webb, the 12-pounder being manned by an inexperienced detail from my regiment, and supported by a section of Captain Leake’s field battery.

Two of my companies were sent out on picket duty-one (Company B) commanded by Captain [A. P.] West, at Adams’ place, two and a half miles distant, on the Kean’s Neck road; and the other (Company {p.70} H), commanded by Captain [Ed.] Croft, at a church 2 miles farther on the same road, and near the bridge and causeway leading into Chisolm’s Island, with orders to guard the bridge and causeway above referred to, and with orders to send out pickets and scouts into Chisolm’s Island. Two other companies were at the ferry, to support the battery there, leaving but six companies at my camp.

About 7 o’clock on the morning of the 1st instant, Captain Croft communicated the intelligence to me that the enemy had landed in force on Chisolm’s Island. He estimated the number at two regiments, as he saw a long column advancing with two regimental stands of colors and two pieces of artillery. Soon after this (about 7.30 o’clock) Captain West dispatched a courier to me, with the information that the enemy had landed at Adams’ place and were advancing in strong force to the Kean’s Neck road. I ordered forward Lieutenant-Colonel [Samuel] McGowan, with three companies of my regiment, commanded by Captains [W. J.] Carter, [A.] Perrin, and [D. C.] Tomkins, and one gun of Captain Leake’s section, to support Captain West, whom he met at about one and a half miles, retiring in good order towards my camp, when he formed his line of battle. I withdrew my two companies from the earthwork at the ferry, and, assisted by Major [W. D.] Simpson, with the five companies commanded by Captains [W. L.] Wood, [J. N.] Brown, [R. S.] Owens, [H. H.] Harper, and [M. C.] Taggart, took post near Chaplin’s house, to intercept any column that might attempt to pass along the margin of the river to the ferry, and at the same time to be in supporting distance of Lieutenant-Colonel McGowan.

No attempt was made on the part of the enemy to advance in any direction-probably waiting for a sufficient tide to allow his gunboats to advance-until 12.30 p.m., when the gunboats began to move up slowly towards the ferry and to throw shells rapidly, when a message from Lieutenant-Colonel McGowan informed me that the enemy were advancing along the Kean’s Neck road.

Regarding the earthwork at the ferry now unimportant, as the enemy had effected a landing at another point, I ordered Captain Leake and Lieutenant Webb to withdraw their guns from that position, Captain Leake to bring his gun to Lieutenant-Colonel McGowan’s line, and I proceeded with my five companies also to his support.

Soon after I arrived at Lieutenant-Colonel McGowan’s line my other company (Captain Croft’s)-which had been posted at the church on the Kean’s Neck road, and, on account of the landing of the enemy at Adams’, could not return by that road-made a circuitous march by another road, in obedience to my instructions, and joined the regiment.

The whole regiment was then put in line of battle, the left resting on Captain Leake’s section of his battery, placed in the road, and the right extending towards the river as far as I deemed practicable. I had just got into position when Major Oswald, of Colonel Martin’s regiment, reported to me with 42 mounted men, and I directed him to take post upon my left. Almost at the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes, of the Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, reported with four companies of that regiment, and I directed him to return to Chaplin’s house (the position I had left) and to guard to the river bank.

The enemy, instead of advancing, as I supposed he would do, along the Kean’s Neck road, to attack my camp, and the only route by which he could bring up his artillery, left his artillery in his rear, and advanced close along the river bank and across the adjacent fields and woods, creeping along opposite his gunboats, five of which steamed slowly on, throwing shells in advance of and over his troops.


As soon as his column advancing by the margin of the river could be seen Captain Leake opened upon it, scattering it right and left and driving it out of view, down the slope, to the marsh; and when those advancing across the fields appeared before my right wing, I opened fire upon them with musketry, dispersing and driving them back to the river, under shelter of their gunboats.

When I became satisfied that the enemy would not advance by the Kean’s Neck road I changed my position to Chaplin’s house, near the ferry, in support of Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes’ command; but when I arrived with the head of my regiment at that point I saw that I was too late to accomplish any useful purpose. The enemy had reached the earthwork at the end of the causeway in large force, and were protected by the guns of three steamers in the river near the bulkheads of the ferry. I then withdrew the whole command to my camp, to wait for further orders from general headquarters.

On arriving at my camp I met you at the head of the Eighth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, and placed myself under your orders.

I cannot state with certainty the loss of the enemy, but I have reason to believe it was considerable in killed and wounded. Wherever we met him we invariably drove him from the field in confusion to the protection of his gunboats. We saw many dead upon the field and captured 2 prisoners, badly wounded, both of whom have since died.

I was not only satisfied, but highly gratified, with the conduct of all my officers and men during the engagement. Their coolness and enthusiasm were admirable.

I herewith transmit a complete list of the casualties* in my regiment. I also transmit two orders received during the engagement from the general commanding the Fourth Military District of South Carolina.**

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES JONES, Colonel, Commanding Fourteenth Regiment S. C. Vol.

Brig. Gen. D. S. DONELSON, Commanding First Brigade, Fourth Military District S. C.

* Embodied in No. 22,p. 75.

** Not found.


No. 19.

Report of Lieut. Col. Dixon Barnes, Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Infantry.

TOMOTLEY, S. C., January 5, 1862.

GENERAL: I transmit herewith the report of Lieut. Col. D. Barnes of the affair at Port Royal on the 1st instant.

I have no remarks to make on it except to correct the distance of my line from my camp at the time the lieutenant-colonel reported to me, which is probably immaterial; but the line was about 1 mile from my camp instead of half a mile, as stated by Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES JONES, Colonel, Commanding Fourteenth Regiment S. C. Vols.

General D. S. DONELSON, First Brigade, Fourth Military District South Carolina.




SIR: I submit the following report of the part performed in the recent affair at Port Royal Ferry by the detachment of the Twelfth Regiment, under my command:

Between 1 and 2 p.m. of the 1st instant I left Camp Pemberton, near Garden’s Corner, with Adjutant Talley and four companies of the Twelfth Regiment, to wit: Company A, Captain [W. H.] McCorkle; Company B, Captain [John L.] Miller; Company G, lieutenant [John M.] Moody; and Company I, Lieutenant [H. W.] Campbell, under orders from the brigadier-general commanding the Fourth Military District to proceed to join the Fourteenth Regiment in resisting the reported advance of the enemy from Chisolm’s Point, where it was said they had landed in force.

On reaching the camp of the Fourteenth Regiment, at the junction of the road leading to Kean’s Neck with the Port Royal Ferry road, I ascertained that the earthworks at the ferry had been abandoned, and that the Fourteenth Regiment, with some of the pieces, had advanced down the former road, leaving a small guard, with a howitzer, at the camp. I followed with my command, the direction being nearly parallel to the river and within easy range of the heavy guns of the enemy’s vessels; but we came up with Colonel Jones’ regiment about a half mile from their camp without having sustained any loss from the few shells which were fired. That regiment was then filing off from the road to the right, and upon reporting to Colonel Jones I was informed that the enemy were advancing on the right, and was ordered to countermarch to a gate-way some 300 yards to the rear, from which a road extended directly towards the river, and thus to gain a position to the right of that occupied by the Fourteenth Regiment. On reaching the gate-way indicated I discovered that the road to which I had been directed ran through the middle of an extensive cotton field, bounded on our right by the Port Royal Ferry road and on the left for some 200 yards by a wood of small pines, into which the Fourteenth Regiment had filed, and beyond that wood, on the left, by a rail fence, which separated the cotton field from other open lands. Directly in front of the gate-way, about a quarter of a mile distant, a ridge, whereon stood a dwelling and outbuildings (known as Chaplin’s), and which was partially covered with trees and undergrowth, extended from the Port Royal Ferry road, on the right, to a considerable distance beyond the fence referred to, on our left.

My detachment marched from the gate to the left, crossing the cotton field diagonally, so as to advance nearer to the position of the Fourteenth Regiment, and at the same time gain a point between its right and the river. This we did, and formed in line under cover of the fence, our right resting near the ridge. The Fourteenth Regiment was hidden from us by the intervening growth of pines, but to the front of our line the view was unobstructed for a considerable distance. Through this open area we soon saw the enemy advancing as skirmishers upon the right of the Fourteenth Regiment, apparently in ignorance of our position. That regiment opened fire, and immediately afterward I ordered my detachment to advance. They responded promptly, with a cheer, and, leaping the fence, we advanced at a run, firing upon the enemy. They returned the fire, wounding 2 of our men, and fled, screening themselves behind a point of woodland to our right. The firing from the Fourteenth Regiment also ceased; and it having been reported to me by a few men of Company B, posted on the ridge to our {p.73} right to observe the movements of the enemy in that direction, that they were moving down towards the ferry between our right and the river, I proceeded to deploy one company, and subsequently the remaining three, along the ridge at right angles to the line of our former position, and about 100 yards farther to the right. We had scarcely gained this ground before the enemy were seen advancing directly towards our new front, and shortly afterwards a body of them appeared towards our right, at a gate on the Port Royal Ferry road. The right of our line fired upon the body of men at the gate, who gave way and ran precipitately, and about the same time our left fired upon those near our front. These latter also disappeared among the thick growth of pine, and the fire of the enemy ceased entirely.

I now ordered the detachment forward into the wood which covered the eminence. We had, however, advanced but a few paces, when Colonel Jones rode up to our line, and I then saw the regiment of the latter and another regiment, which I afterwards learned was the Eighth Tennessee, advancing to our support, marching by a flank along the road through the cotton field in our rear. At this moment the enemy’s gunboats opened a heavy fire of shell, and the whole force was ordered to fall back. While returning through the field my detachment lost 1 killed and 2 wounded. This loss resulted from the enemy’s shells exclusively, their infantry making no further demonstration whatever.

Throughout the affair Adjutant [W. H.] Talley rendered me great assistance in the execution of the various movements, and did his duty in every respect in a manner entirely satisfactory to me.

Surgeon Turnipseed joined the command a short time before we first fired upon the enemy, and entered at once upon the discharge of the duties of his position. His services were valuable, especially in the removal of the wounded from the field while it was still under fire of the enemy.

The conduct of the whole command was good. They obeyed orders promptly, and exhibited enthusiasm when the prospect was presented of meeting the foe face to face upon a fair field of battle.

I forward herewith the report of Surgeon Turnipseed.*

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. BARNES, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Detachment Twelfth Regt. S. C. Vol.

Lieutenant READY, Adjutant Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

* Embodied in No. 22, p. 75.


No. 20.

Report of Maj. Cadwalader Jones, Twelfth South Carolina Infantry.

PAGE’S POINT, S. C., January -, 1862.

SIR: In obedience to your orders I proceeded from Camp Pemberton, at 10 o’clock on the 1st instant, to Page’s Point, and took command of the forces at this place. They consisted of three companies of the Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers (Colonel Dunovant), to wit: Captain [E. F.] Bookter’s, Captain H. C. Davis’ (Lieutenant [J. W.] Delleney commanding), and Captain T. F. Clyburn’s company; also {p.74} one section of Captain Leake’s Virginia artillery, Lieutenant Leake commanding.

I found the command well placed, under direction of E. F. Bookter, senior captain. On my arrival a heavy cannonading from two of the enemy’s gunboats, chiefly in the direction of the Island battery (not yet completed), was going on. I immediately sent a small detachment to this battery, which reported that the enemy had burned it and made their escape. Very soon another of the enemy’s gunboats came in sight from the direction of Cunningham’s Bluff and lay off Page’s Point. The three gunboats then commenced a heavy fire of shells in all directions-I supposed with a view of effecting a landing. I immediately moved the command under a considerable shelling, but without loss, to a point of safety about three-fourths of a mile from the boats, where I remained during the day. About 4 o’clock the enemy threw on shore some 20 men, under protection of their guns. They remained a short time and returned to their boats. At night I fell back to the springs, and at about 2 o’clock in the night I sent forward a detachment of 15 men, under command of Lieutenant Roseborough, and burned all the cotton and corn on the Point. This was effected in the face of the enemy, who lay in their gunboats off Page’s Point during the night.

In the morning I returned to my former position. The boats of the enemy were still off the Point, where they remained without attempting to land, but passing occasionally in the direction of Cunningham’s Bluff, until the afternoon, when they left. At the same time I observed the enemy leave Port Royal Ferry, as reported at the time.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CAD’R JONES, Major, Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

Brigadier-General PEMBERTON.


No. 21.

Reports of Col. William E. Martin, Mounted Regiment.


GENERAL: I avail myself of your suggestion to-day relative to the action of the 1st merely to report that a detachment of my regiment, under Maj. G. W. Oswald, reported to Colonel Jones early in the day, and participated in the engagement with their double-barreled guns and navy revolvers; that I was detained by General Pemberton at his headquarters, and it was in carrying orders for him that I had the pleasure of meeting you, and my local knowledge, which I have diligently acquired, enabled me to point out the way through the woods which you followed. Further, I have only to add that after the engagement I, with Colonel McGowan, rode at full speed to the causeway near the enemy’s position, ascertained the condition of the wounded, and with the same gentleman and Dr. Turnipseed and some soldiers returned and brought away the wounded in a wagon, the enemy shelling us while so engaged.

Respectfully submitted.

W. E. MARTIN, Colonel Mounted Regiment.

Brigadier-General DONELSON.




SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 1st instant I received orders from Brigadier-General Pemberton to send a detachment of forty cavalry to report to General Jones, near the ferry. The detachment was under Captain Evans, as commander of the company, and Major Oswald, of my regiment. The detachment continued to act as a reserve, though engaged occasionally with the enemy’s skirmishers, whom they assisted in driving back, the double-barreled gun and navy revolver having proved useful. General Pemberton directed me to remain at his headquarters.

At 3 p.m. he sent me to the scene of action to observe and report. On my way I overtook General Donelson with one of his regiments and led them to position by the general’s request. I had no other part in the affair except that soon after our regiments retired to the cover of the wood I proposed to Lieutenant-Colonel McGowan, of Jones’ regiment, to reconnoiter the field in search of our wounded. This we did, advancing on horseback at [full] speed to the spot in the causeway, where the shell exploded which did us the principal damage.

This was within 100 yards of the enemy’s position at Chaplin’s house. Having found the wounded, we returned with Dr. Turnipseed, of Dunovant’s regiment, and a few soldiers, and with a wagon we brought the wounded away under the shells of the enemy aimed at us and the wagon containing the wounded.

I have no casualties to report in my command.

Respectfully submitted.

WM. E. MARTIN, Colonel Mounted Regiment.

Lieut. J. H. MORRISON Assistant Adjutant-General, Fourth Military District S. C.


No. 22.

Return of casualties In the Confederate forces at Port Royal Ferry, S. C., January 1,1862.

Officers.Enlisted men.Officers.Enlisted men.
12th South Carolina.145
14th South Carolina1611927Lieut. J. A. Powers, killed.
Martin’s regiment No casualties.

JANUARY 16. 1862.– Naval descent upon Cedar Keys, Ph.

Report of Brig. Gen. J. H. Trapier, C. S. Army.


CAPTAIN: On the 16th instant the enemy, in a steamer armed with five guns, made a descent upon the harbor and village of Cedar Keys. {p.76} Having burned seven small vessels in the harbor, which were loading with cotton and turpentine (with the intention, information of which had doubtless been conveyed to the enemy, of running the blockade), and also the wharf of the Florida Railroad, which has its Gulf terminus at that point, and several flat cars belonging to the same road, he withdrew and went to sea. There was posted at this place a small force, consisting of a lieutenant and 22 men, belonging to the Fourth Regiment Florida Volunteers, placed there as a sort of police force, to protect the inhabitants of the Key (some 80 or 100 persons) against any disturbance from bands of marauders. The lieutenant and 14 privates were taken prisoners, but 4 of the latter were subsequently released for reasons set forth in one of the papers,* which I have the honor to forward herewith (as information) to the commanding general. The rest of the men made their escape. There were three old guns which had been in battery on one of the Keys of the group, but which had been condemned after inspection by Maj. J. G. Barnwell, inspector-general of this military department, as unserviceable. They were never removed, however, as not being worth the removal, neither the guns nor their carriages. These guns the enemy, nevertheless, is said to have spiked.

It is said that some of the inhabitants of the Key were required to sign an oath not to take up arms against the Government of the (so-called) United States during the present war.

I must not omit to mention a circumstance which reflects high credit upon Commander Emmons. Three negroes escaped from the Key and went out to his steamer; they were all ordered back forthwith.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. H. TRAPIER, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Coosawhatchie, S. C.

* Inclosed papers not of sufficient importance for publication.



CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt to-day of a letter from the general commanding, under date January 27, from Coosawhatchie. Referring to the late affair at Cedar Keys, the general says:

It seems that the commanding office; with almost his entire force, were taken prisoners in daylight by the crew of a man-of-war. I desire to know the circumstances attending the capture. Was any resistance made? If not, why did not the guard escape?

In reply to all which I have the honor respectfully to submit the following statement: No official report of the affair has reached me of course, the only commissioned officer of the guard having been taken prisoner. I learn, however, through sources entitled to credence that no resistance whatever was attempted, and for the reason that protest against it was made by a portion of the citizens of the Key upon the ground that it would be hopeless, and could only result, by drawing the fire of the war vessel, in a useless destruction of property and shedding of blood-perhaps the blood of women and children. The guard did attempt to escape and was captured in the act. They embarked on {p.77} board of a flat-boat, with no other means of propulsion than poles. When they had reached mid-channel, their poles being too short to reach the bottom, they were left at the mercy of the tide, by which they were swept out, and fell easy victims into the hands of the enemy.

If it is said that better and surer means of escape ought to have been furnished them in the event of an attack from an irresistible force, I answer that my letter-book contains an order, dated December 23, 1861, to the brigade quartermaster, to charter a steamer of 125 tons burden, for purposes of transportation between the Key and the main-land, and the records of this office show that this officer did his duty, and that the boat was chartered. Why she was not in place I know not. If it be asked why so small a force was left upon the Key, I answer that it was all that could be spared from more important points, and that even this was in contravention, to some extent, of the instructions (by telegraph) from the commanding general. By these instructions I was directed to order all the Florida troops to Fernandina. In compliance with them, given when an attack was hourly expected at the latter point, I ordered the two companies then stationed at Cedar Keys to Fernandina.

In a few days after their removal, and when it had become obvious that Fernandina was not then to be the object of attack, I received a paper from Cedar Keys, signed by a number of its inhabitants, setting forth their fears that certain persons who had been arrested there as traitors, and released afterwards for want of sufficient testimony to convict, would, prompted by motives of revenge, now that the troops were withdrawn, avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded to wreak their vengeance upon their accusers, and requesting, therefore, that a guard of 20 or 30 men might be sent for their protection, I took the responsibility of promptly complying with the petition.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

J. H. TRAPIER, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Coosawhatchie, S. C.


JANUARY 22-25, 1862.–Expedition to Edisto Island, S. C.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Nathan G. Evans, C. S. Army.
No. 2.–Gen. P. F. Stevens, Holcombe Legion, C. S. Army.
No. 3.–Instructions from General Evans to Colonel Steven&

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Nathan G. Ryan., C. S. Army.


CAPTAIN-I have the honor to report that the expedition under Col. p. F. Stevens, Holcombe Legion, has succeeded in capturing about 50 negroes on Edisto Island, several of whom are the negroes that attacked my pickets at Watt’s Cut. I think after a due investigation, should any of the negroes be convicted, they should be hanged as soon as possible {p.78} at some public place as an example. The negroes have evidently been incited to insurrection by the enemy. I have now as prisoners several negroes, who say they can identify the men who attacked the pickets. I will keep all the negroes till the investigation is through, and would earnestly request instructions from the general commanding. The negro fellows not implicated directly I propose to iron heavily and work them under guard on the causeway now being made at Church Flats. Colonel Stevens will probably arrive to-day with the remainder of the negroes.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. G. EVANS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Charleston, S. C.


No. 2.

Report of Col. P. F. Stevens, Holcombe Legion, C. S. Army.


CAPTAIN: Inclosed I have the honor to submit the report of Col. P. F. Stevens, Holcombe Legion, commanding the expedition to Edisto Island. The negro men captured I have now under guard at this place. The women and children I have sent to the workhouse in Charleston. As five of the negroes have confessed themselves as being the party that attacked my pickets on Jehossee Island, I would respectfully ask instructions as to their disposition, as it is unsafe to return them to their owners unless they be obligated to submit them to a trial for their lives, and in case of acquittal to be removed from this district.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. G. EVANS, Brigadier-General.

Capt. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Coosawhatchie, S. C.


HEADQUARTERS HOLCOMBE LEGION, Camp Walsh, January 27, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report:

Pursuant to orders from the general commanding, at 6.30 a.m. on Wednesday, the 22d instant, I proceeded with a detachment to cross the Dawho on an expedition to Edisto Island. My force was 120 infantry and 65 cavalry, composed of detachments from Captain Blair’s company (attached to the Legion), Company A and Company C of the infantry, and Company A and Company B of the cavalry. Major Palmer was in command of the cavalry, while I took the more immediate charge of the infantry. The Rev. Mr. Baynard accompanied me as guide.

After considerable delay at the inconvenient ferry near Mr. Grimball’s (three-quarters of a mile long) and at the bridge over Watt’s Cut between Jehossee Island and Edisto, I left the cut about 3.30 p.m. and began my march on Edisto. About a mile from Watt’s Cut we passed {p.79} Dr. William Bailey’s place-Old Dominion; found some potatoes; corn-house burnt, together with two or three other outbuildings; 1 horse and 1 mule shot, supposed to have been killed by the pickets on Saturday in a field near by; 1 horse reported wounded. The detachment of cavalry thrown in advance examined the next plantation to the southeast of the road and reported no provisions, but the ruins of the corn-house still smoking. About 3 miles from the cut, just at the crossing of the Edisto Ferry road, at Mr. William Whaley’s place, found 4 negroes-Joe and his wife-belonging to Mr. Whaley, and in charge of the place; Bill, belonging to W. G. Baynard, these all old and infirm, and Peter, belonging to Henry Seabrook. Peter’s manner being very insubordinate, and his holding one hand in his pocket exciting suspicion, he was seized, searched, and tied on the discovery of a sharp knife in the pocket where he had kept his hand. Old Joe, on interrogation, confessed to having heard of the attack of Saturday, and said he could lead us to the rendezvous of the attacking party. Mounting some 30 infantry behind as many cavalry, I proceeded with this force, added to the cavalry, to the point-Miss Mary Seabrook’s-under guidance of Joe, but no trace of the negroes could be discovered. The dwelling-house had been very little used by the negroes, and their own houses deserted for a length of time. Returning to Whaley’s, I spent the night there. At Mr. Whaley’s we found some 400 bushels of corn and a few pigs.

On the 23d sent Peter, under guard, to the pickets at Watt’s Cut with 1 horse and saddle; took 1 mule and cart and moved down the main road towards Mr. Townsend’s. One detachment of cavalry covered my front, while another visited the places on either side of the road. The detachment on the south and east of the road soon found a party of negroes, some 10 in number, whom I ordered to be taken into custody, and, through a fortunate misunderstanding of the order, they were sent immediately back to Watt’s Cut; I therefore cannot report their names or place of capture. Moving slowly until past the Episcopal Church, my advanced party captured Paul, belonging to the estate of James Clark; Penny, his wife, and Victoria, his child, belonging to Mr. Henry Bailey, and on his place. One mule and cart were taken from this place. Under guidance of Paul I directed my march towards Point of Pines, in which locality he said a number of negroes were assembled.

Arrived at Mr. Edward Whaley’s place, a number of negroes were taken in the house and yard. They had assembled here from all points. While securing these several others were taken in the adjoining roads and fields, some in buggies, some on horseback, and some in carts. Leaving a guard over the negroes taken, I moved on, under guidance of Paul, to Mr. Hopkinson’s place, while a small party, under Messrs. Elliott and Curry (I omitted to state that at Jehossee these gentlemen reported to me by order of the general commanding), proceeded to Mr. Berwick Legaré’s place.

By this time the alarm had been given, and the negroes were on the move for the lower part of the island; the number captured was therefore less than it would otherwise have been. A number were seen by Messrs. Elliott and Curry making their escape. Crossing a long footbridge from Hopkinson’s to Mr. Edward Seabrook’s, several negroes were taken at the latter place. Our party was there joined by Major Palmer, who, with his detachment, had passed through a number of plantations, among others those of Mr. Evans Eddings, Mr. Lastree, and one belonging to the estate of Berwick Legaré. At these places he had either captured or pursued negroes, and our hands were now {p.80} quite full of prisoners. The infantry being in rear, as not able to move with the celerity of the cavalry, compelled to move rapidly in order to be ahead of the alarm which was now spreading, I could not stop to take notes as to the names of the negroes or their owners.

The alarm must have been communicated in some way to the gunboat, which was now seen approaching Mr. Seabrooke’s place. Leaving a picket there I proceeded to assemble the command, which was scattered over the three places last mentioned, and covering the march of the captured negroes, I moved back to Edward Whaley’s, where I left the negroes under guard, and taking the infantry moved rapidly back to Seabrook’s to resist a landing, which seemed imminent. On the march two shells were thrown at the Seabrook house, but by the time my party came up the boat had retired. Night closing in, I quartered the infantry at Mr. Seabrook’s and carried the cavalry to Whaley’s.

I regret to state that at the Legaré and Seabrook places 3 negroes were either shot or drowned and a fourth wounded; 2 women and 1 man ran into the water, and, refusing or failing to come out, were fired upon and disappeared beneath the water.

Early on the 24th I dispatched the captured negroes under guard, with orders to the lieutenant that they were to be reported to the general commanding. I then proceeded with my force to the neighborhood of Mr. Townsend’s. Stopping at Major Murray’s, I endeavored, with a field glass, to examine Eddingsville, but could discover no signs of any persons in the village.

In the mean time Major Palmer, who had gone to Townsend’s, returned with 5 negroes, and reported, on their statement, that the enemy were landing in our rear at Point of Pines. As I had heard one or two shells fired in that direction, I presumed they had thrown these to cover the landing, and thinking it prudent to secure my retreat in case the party should be greatly superior to my own, I dispatched the cavalry to cover the road by which the enemy was to approach, while I endeavored to pass it. Having passed this road, and the cavalry reporting no enemy landed, I concluded that, as I had visited nearly the entire island, my command greatly fatigued, provisions scarce, and my return so far begun, I had better continue my march home. The infantry reached Mr. Aiken’s summer house about 4 o’clock, after a march of some 15 miles, or thereabouts. Spending the night on Jehossee, I returned to camp about 4 o’clock on Saturday.

The result of the expedition was the capture of some 80 negroes, men, women, and children. I brought off 9 mules, 10 horses, 5 colts, 8 carts, 1 two-horse wagon, 2 carriages, and 1 buggy. The mules and carts I thought might do for public service, and the same for the horses. The colts were bought by some of the men. The carriages were used in transporting the sick and the children. The buggy was bought by a Mr. Price, who accompanied the expedition. The colts and some of the horses not being available for public service, the parties capturing them are desirous of purchasing at reasonable prices. The mules will make good teams for army transportation.

From my observation and the report of my men I think there is very little provision on the island, and only a small portion of that can be removed.

I burned about 300 or 400 bushels of corn and a little cotton, as follows: Mr. Lastree’s, about 200 bushels of corn; Mr. Berwick Legaré’s near Eddings’,, about 100 bushels of corn; Mrs. Martha M. Whaley’s, {p.81} about 125 bushels of corn; Mr. W. G. Baynard’s, small quantity of cotton and hay.

The upper portion of the island is completely deserted, and this expedition has, I think, driven off the island nearly all the able-bodied negroes, according to the information gathered. I think the negroes are congregated in large numbers on Botany Bay, in the vicinity of the fort. They have destroyed the bridges connecting Botany Bay and Eddingsville with the main island. Should it be desirable, I recommend that a force of 300 men be sent to Botany Bay, provided with the means of repairing the bridge which separates it from Edisto, and under instructions to make a surprise at night, when the gunboats cannot use their artillery. By this means I think nearly the entire force of negroes, numbering, according to accounts, some thousand, may be captured. From the confessions of some of the negroes taken, I think several of the party were concerned in the attack made on our pickets on Saturday last.

By permission of the general commanding I have this morning dispatched a foraging party to obtain provisions from Mr. William Whaley’s place.

The stock taken in the expedition is now in the hands of my quartermaster, subject to the order of the general commanding.

In conclusion, I beg leave to mention particularly the energy, activity, and efficiency of Major Palmer, to whose exertions I think the success of the expedition greatly due.

I also mention with pleasure the patient and cheerful endurance of all my men, who, and cold, rain, and a lack of provisions, were ready and prompt in every call made upon them.

Very respectfully,

P. F. STEVENS, Colonel Holcombe Legion.

Capt. W. H. ROGERS, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


No. 3.

Instructions from General Evans to Colonel Stevens.


COLONEL: I received a report last night that the negroes on Edisto Island attacked at 12 m. yesterday our pickets at the summer house. I wish to capture the party and check this insurrection. The negroes have evidently been armed by the enemy, who are no doubt lurking in the rear. I send you an order to go to-morrow with 100 infantry and a company of cavalry to attack the party. Captain Miller has been instructed to furnish every assistance, and will probably have the flats in position for you. You had better send your regimental quartermaster to fix the bridge over the cut. Should you not be able to cross the cavalry, you can dismount a portion and leave the balance as a guard. Send word to your pickets at Bennett’s Point to keep a sharp lookout and to send word to Captain Perrin. The battery at Pineberry will receive orders to fire into any craft that should attempt to cut you off. I wish you to take four days’ rations, and to advance with caution as far on the island as possible, making a thorough reconnaissance, and find out {p.82} the position of the enemy. Should you find him in strength and position as would warrant a successful attack, you will attack and drive him at least under cover of his guns.

Captain Miller reports that there is a considerable quantity of potatoes and some corn on the island. You will destroy all you possibly can with your party. All negroes taken will be brought over to the main-land to be sent to jail. Should any attempt to escape, they will be shot. On your return make a written report of your operations.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. G. EVANS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Col. P. F. STEVENS, Commanding Holcombe Legion.



HEADQUARTERS SECOND MIL. DIST. S. C., Charleston, January 21, 1862.

I. An expedition to act against the enemy in North Edisto will proceed to Seabrook’s Island without delay.

Captain Ives, engineer, C. S. Army, will have charge of the attack, being informed of the desires of the brigadier-general commanding, and his directions will be obeyed accordingly.

Capt. Alfred Rhett, S. C. artillery, will have charge of the firing party, and will receive instructions to open fire from Captain Ives. Col. Clement H. Stevens, volunteer aide-de-camp, will detail from the unattached troops in camp near the junction of Wappoo and Stono Rivers such infantry force as is requisite for support.

II. Lieut. H. K. Stevens, C. S. Navy, is detailed as ordnance officer, and will report and communicate with Captains Ives and Rhett.

III. The commander of the different parties will report to Captain Ives for duty on engineer service until in action, and receive instructions from tat officer in the absence of other orders, the duty having been performed.

By order of Brigadier-General Ripley:

LEO. D. WALKER, Assistant Adjutant-General.


JANUARY 26-28, 1862.– Reconnaissance to Wilmington Narrows, Ga., and naval engagement.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS, Hilton Head, S. C., January 29, 1862.

CAPTAIN: In pursuance of the instructions of the general commanding, dated the 21st and 25th instant, I proceeded on the morning of the {p.83} 26th, with the transports carrying my command, in company with the gunboats, to Warsaw Sound, Ga., where we arrived and anchored about 2 o’clock the same day. The naval portion of the expedition, commanded by Capt. Charles H. Davis, U. S. Navy, was composed of the gunboats Ottawa, Capt. T. H. Stevens; the Seneca, Captain Ammen; the Isaac H. Smith, Captain Nicholson; the Potomska, Captain Watmough; the Ellen, Captain Budd; the Western World, Captain Gregory, and two armed launches, with their crews, from the Wabash, under the command of Capt. C. R. P. Rodgers, U. S. Navy.

It was arranged between Captain Davis and myself that two companies of troops should be placed on board the gunboats, and that the latter should proceed to reconnoiter the passage known on our maps as Wilmington Narrows. Accordingly the next morning, the troops having been taken on board, the gunboats proceeded up the Narrows, leaving the transports at anchor in the sound. I accompanied Captain Davis, in the Ottawa. No obstruction to our progress was met with, or any signs of an enemy discovered, before reaching a position in the Narrows between the plantations marked on our sketches as Scriven’s and Gibson’s. At this point the passage forks, and it was discovered that the one leading to the right was obstructed by a double line of piling of heavy timber, near which we anchored.

Soon after anchoring I went on shore with Captain Rodgers, of the Navy, to examine the lower of the three plantations, taking with us, to cover the landing, the two large launches, each carrying a boat howitzer, and to serve as skirmishers after landing 20 men from the troops were taken, to act in connection with the launches’ crews, which were armed with rifles. The place was found to be utterly deserted, with no evidence of its having been occupied for weeks and perhaps months. All the movable property of every description had been carried off. No signs of life were visible. Soon after our return on board, however, a party of some 5 or 6 men were seen from one of the gunboats, who were dispersed by a shot from the vessel.

The following morning, the 28th, I started in a small boat with Lieutenant Barnes, of the Wabash, temporarily with the launches, to examine the Narrows above the piles. Lieutenant Barnes had been over the same ground the evening before, with the black pilot Isaac, to a point which the latter represented as within a short distance of the entrance into Saint Augustine Creek. We proceeded a little farther only, as we came to fast land, where it was probable that pickets would be stationed, and, as we confidently believed, close to the junction of the two creeks. The banks up to this point were of soft mud, rendering it impracticable to land, and overgrown with high grass, which made it difficult to see the surrounding country. We took carefully the bearings of the different reaches of the creek, and, as often as we could see them, of surrounding objects. The soundings nowhere showed a less depth of water than 20 feet, and the width is sufficient for any of the gunboats. The piling above referred to was therefore the only obstacle to the passage of the gunboats so far as we penetrated, and this it is no doubt practicable to remove.

Just as we were preparing to return we perceived the rebel gunboats, five in number, coming down from Savannah, and soon after reaching our vessels the enemy appeared to be within the Savannah River. Our gunboats at once opened fire, as did those under the command of Capt. John Rodgers, on the other side of the Savannah River. The leading rebel boat, bearing a flag-officer’s pennant, was soon apparently quite disabled, and, turning back, made her way slowly to Savannah in company with {p.84} one of the others. The remaining three proceeded on to Fort Pulaski. All were represented to have had barges in tow. In the afternoon, while Captain Rodgers and myself were on shore at the plantation of Scriven and Gibson, the three rebel boats last referred to returned up the river, and the firing recommenced, but the boats got past apparently without serious damage, and reached Savannah. This firing, though no part of the plan, was very instructive in connection with any project for cutting off Fort Pulaski by batteries on Wilmington Island or by gunboats lying at or below the obstructions. It showed conclusively to my mind that steamers might run the gauntlet, not without danger, but without any serious risk, even under so heavy and well-directed a fire as that delivered by our gunboats. The position from which to cut off communication between the fort and Savannah by way of the river must therefore be sought higher up.

The plat of the courses of the stream would indicate that it empties directly into the Savannah River, and not into Saint Augustine Creek, as had been supposed, and other circumstances would seem to confirm this conclusion, though contrary to some of the evidence obtained. However this may be, there is no doubt that the stream we followed gradually approaches the river, from which it can be separated only by a narrow strip of marsh at the point reached by us in the boat. A position might, therefore, be taken up by the gunboats, after removing the obstructions, from which the river might be commanded, and it is quite possible that the headland alluded to as just above the point reached by us would permit the establishment of a battery which would command both the Saint Augustine Creek and the Savannah River.

Wilmington Island, as a simple military position, is, in my judgment of no importance whatever, and any troops landed there could be of no real service. But should it be decided to cut off all communication by the Savannah River, either by gunboats stationed above or by the establishment of the battery alluded to, or by both, then the occupation of the island becomes a matter of high importance, as in this way only can the line of communication with our base be kept open. Should it therefore be decided to intercept the river communication in this way, or to use the passage in any ulterior movements on Savannah, I would recommend the occupation of the island in force; otherwise not. The portion of the island above Gibson’s is marshy for one and a half to two miles back from the bank of the creek, and therefore no battery could, I think, be established by the enemy at any point above Gibson’s which could seriously annoy our gunboats. The portion of the island below the plantation is also marshy.

Having made the reconnaissance as above detailed, the gunboats returned to Warsaw Sound, and after consultation with Captain Davis, whose orders required him to return and report, I thought it best to return with him and report in person. I accordingly arrived here in the Ottawa just before sunset this evening, leaving the transports and the three other gunboats at anchor in the sound. I should have stated our nearest approach to Fort Pulaski was within long range-say 2 miles-while the distance from the fort to our anchorage near the obstruction was much greater and entirely beyond range.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. L. H. PELOUZE, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. Exped’y Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.



No. 2.

Report of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army.

SAVANNAH, GA., January 29, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report, for the information of the Secretary of War, that five [?] days since it was discovered that the enemy were at work removing the obstructions placed in Wall’s Cut. This cut is the pass between Danfuskie River and Wright River, in South Carolina, and forms part of the inland communication between Savannah River and Port Royal Harbor. This communication traverses an extensive marsh, is crooked, shallow, and difficult of navigation, and though it was apparent that unless protected by batteries any artificial obstructions may be removed, yet as the marsh is too soft and impassable to admit the construction of a battery, it was the only obstacle that could be opposed to its navigation. The obstruction consisted of the hull of a large schooner, sunk in the narrowest and shoalest part of the cut, with rows of piles driven across on each side. A similar obstruction was placed in Wilmington Narrows, a small creek west of the Savannah, connecting Wilmington River and Saint Augustine Creek. Day before yesterday seven of the enemy’s gunboats were discovered at Wall’s Cut and six in Wilmington Narrows. They had reached the obstructions in each stream, and were apparently endeavoring to work through. Flag-Officer Tatnall, with his gunboats, descended the Savannah River and boldly engaged them, but the range and caliber of their guns were so superior to his, that after an hour’s trial he had to haul off, as he found that while their shot and shell were falling around him, his shot fell short of them. His boats were, however, unharmed. Their position was such as to disturb the passage of the Savannah, and the boat plying between the city and Fort Pulaski received three shots through her upper works. If the enemy succeed in removing the obstacles in Wall’s Cut and Wilmington Narrows, there is nothing to prevent their reaching the Savannah River, and we have nothing afloat that can contend against them. The communication between Savannah and Fort Pulaski will then be cut off. The latter is supplied with four months’ provisions, and we must endeavor to defend the city. To-day I have caused to be sunk in Wilmington Narrows the floating dock of this city. I hope this passage at least will be effectually obstructed.

I am, &c.,

R. E. LEE, General, Commanding.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.


FEBRUARY 6, 1862.– Reconnaissance to Wright River, S. C.

Report of Maj. Oliver T. Beard, Forty-eighth New York Infantry.

HILTON HEAD, S. C., February 6, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that the reconnaissance ordered by you of Wright River, its tributary creeks, and the land adjacent {p.86} thereto, together with the new fortifications and raft in the Savannah River, has been made.

Accompanying this report and necessarily forming a part thereof are maps of the section of country embraced in the reconnaissance.*

The soundings or depths of water as shown in these maps were made with a great deal of care and noted at the particular part of the rivers where made, so that there might be no error as to the particular location of any soundings. They were always made rather under than over the mark, but especial care was taken to have them precise and so note them.

It will be perceived that the course of Wright River is not precisely as laid down in the charts in the engineers’ hands. The courses as they are here laid down are made up from notes at each turn and bend of the river, being guided solely by a pocket compass. I think that in this manner I have been enabled to show very nearly the true course of the river and its tributaries much more accurately than they are laid down in other maps. There are many more trees on Hog Marsh Island than are laid down on the accompanying map, but all those not so laid down are palmetto, and those on that island grow out of the marsh, their base being surrounded by water during high tides. The trees shown on this island are scrub pines, and are found in clumps on small dry spots scattered about through the marsh. These dry spots vary in diameter from 20 to 100 feet, no one spot being found larger than the maximum mentioned. The island cannot be used for military purposes.

The woods laid down north of Wright River are noted as taken from three points of observation-1st, from the top of a large and high rice-barn on the bank of the Savannah River; 2d, from the several points of Wright River and its upper tributaries, where soundings were made; and, 3d, from Red Bank, on New River. These observations showed the heavy timber, which in that vicinity always grows on dry ground, to continue in an irregular line, unbroken except by plantations from Red Bank, on New River, to the Union causeway near Lunbridge’s plantation. There are a large number of cotton plantations embraced in this region, especially in that portion of it nearest New River. Leaving this, the character of the soil gradually changes, until from being a sandy clay at Red Bank it becomes at Lunbridge’s a porous, black, light loam, which is the only kind of soil used for the culture of rice.

The rice plantations which are noted east of the Union causeway are of this character. An examination of the soil here shows that it looks very much like the debris of decayed trees and roots; very much of it is indeed nothing else. All this land is below the level of high tides, dikes thrown about the various fields preventing overflow. All these fields are very much cut up with ditches and canals; so much so as to be impassable by either cavalry, artillery, or infantry in face of an enemy. The ditches are useless except as so many barriers, but all the canals might be used as rifle-pits, and all the dikes for the same purpose, or to plant artillery behind, the soil being dry enough for this purpose. Though these plantations are surrounded on the front and rear by swamps, the canals entering them from bordering rivers or creeks afford easy access to the dry ground on them.

There are about 15,000 bushels of rice on the plantations which I visited. The negroes have mostly all been moved up the country. The new rebel earthworks on an island in the Savannah River is completed. Two guns were mounted on Sunday last, the third was in the shears, while a {p.87} steamer was lying alongside the island with two more guns evidently intended to be landed. All the persons seen at work here were negroes. The raft which is near this point I found to be between 600 and 800 feet long and from 20 to 30 feet wide, extending across the channel at this part of the river. Portions of the raft have been daubed with some substance, probably tar or pitch. On the entire raft there is perhaps as much as six or eight cords of what is commonly called cord-wood. This has become scattered about the raft in all directions, until now there are scarcely two sticks together in any one point. Four piles have been driven near the eastern end of the raft. I could see none on the western.

The pile-driver which was reported as being in the vicinity of the raft for about two weeks was doubtless at work driving piles at the Fort Jackson wharf, as I could plainly see that new piles have been recently driven there. The map of the raft and fort will show my idea, but I am firmly convinced that this raft was never designed to be used for any purpose at any point below the north end of Elba Island. I am also of the opinion that it is not intended to be moved from the present position except in case of an attack upon Fort Jackson. It is a harmless thing and very poorly gotten up.

I think that an addition has been made to the southerly end of Fort Jackson as noted by the line A B C, on map No. 2. This seems to be a wall, I think, of square logs, the ends buried in the ground, and fitting very nicely together. The face A C has eight openings in it, and the face C B has sixteen openings and a door; these, I think, are for rifle purposes.

The barbette guns on the fort have been covered over with logs and dirt. In the rebel camp below Fort Jackson I should judge there are about 700 persons. No other camps could be seen between that and Augustine Creek, nor above the fort toward Savannah, nor are there any camps on the Carolina side between the causeway and Wright River, on the Savannah, except 12 men about one-half mile up the causeway.

The rebel camp near New River does not probably contain over 200 persons, as there were not fires for over that number.

On New River, at Box’s, a bluff makes in, running about one-half mile on the river and thence extending back, according to the report of a negro on the place, to Bluffton. This is the only dry ground met on the right bank of New River, as far as I was enabled to observe.

On the left bank of the river, the first dry firm ground is met at Red Bank, extending along the river about 14 miles; a swamp borders this on the north, and this is followed by another bank of dry land, extending about three-fourths of a mile along the river. No more firm ground is met for 5 miles up the river. At Red Bank there is a beautiful open plain of about 600 acres; this is skirted by a wood, which continues until the swamp is again met, about 1 3/4 miles from the open plain. There are, however, some upland cotton plantations in this area.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

O. T. BEARD, Major, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding Expeditionary Corps.

* Not found.


FEBRUARY 10, 1862.– Skirmish on Barnwell’s Island, S. C.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Capt. Gordon Z. Dimock, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Infantry.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, U. S. Army.


SIR: I have to report for the information of the commanding general that a party of the enemy landed on Barnwell’s Island last night and made an attack on our pickets. Lieutenant Foot, in command of the pickets, held his ground till re-enforced by Captain Dimock with a portion of his command from Seabrook, when the whole force pushed forward and drove the enemy to his boats. It was a very handsome affair, exceedingly creditable to all engaged, and gives convincing proof that the command is wide awake and ready for emergencies.

I will particularly call the attention of the commanding general to the good conduct of Captain Dimock and Lieutenant Foot, Fiftieth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, on the occasion.

A copy of Captain Dimock’s report is herewith inclosed.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. L. H. PELOUZE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General E. C., Hilton Head, S. C.


No. 2.

Report of Capt. Gordon Z. Dimock, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Infantry.

SEABROOK, February 11, 1862.

Last night about 10 o’clock I was started by the report of several guns on Barnwell’s Island. I took a row-boat full of Company D and went over, leaving word for my command to follow-part immediately and part should there be more firing. Went on a double-quick to causeway. Saw men on the farther end of the causeway in the underbrush and the glistening of several bayonets. As we came they retired more into the shade. Lieutenant Foot, with 3 men, advanced on the causeway to reconnoiter, followed by 10 or 15 more, who advanced in parties of 3, at intervals of one or two rods, with directions, if fired upon, to fire and lie down on the sides of the causeway to load. As they approached the farther end of the causeway they saw 3 or 4 men, and fired upon them. They continued to advance, while I brought up the main force in parties of 9 and 10, so placed in the shade as to cover the retreat of the skirmishers and check the advance of the rebels. Having passed beyond the trees and underbrush at the farther end of the causeway, I left a small force there and took a double-quick to the next causeway. As we passed the negro houses one negro exclaimed, “Great many rebels down there, sir.” As we approached the next causeway skirmishers were again thrown out, led by Lieutenant Foot. Passing cautiously {p.89} through the bushes at this end of the causeway, they proceeded across the causeway until they were approaching the farther end. They were ordered to halt by a voice behind the bushes. At the second command he stepped out and fired. The shot was promptly returned, and my whole command started forward on a double-quick. Two men were seen running to the left of Little Bull Island, and several were heard to run forward and to the right. We then proceeded cautiously through the hedge at the farther end of the causeway into the open field, and deployed skirmishers right and left to the hedges, while a party took a double-quick for the next causeway. Sentinels were placed at each end of the second causeway, and the third causeway crossed in the same cautious manner. When we got through the bushes to the shore of Broad River it was evident that two boats had just left the beach, and their wake was visible on the surface of the still water. One very large wake was seen, very rough in its center, and the sound of wheels turning in the water could be heard beyond Mackay’s Point, Company B was left in detachments at the Trescott house, first causeway, and negro houses.

The pickets heard a noise in the field beyond the marsh to the left of the road before the firing, and the negroes’ dogs, which are usually very noisy at the least stir, were not heard to bark. We examined the field to the left of the road, and could find numerous tracks in the soft mud between the cotton rows. The tracks of a bare foot were also seen, supposed to be the track of a negro guide. Tracks in the field south of the negro houses were observed going both east and west, presumed to have been made by the rebel party having turned out into the field to avoid the negro houses and the dogs.

When the attacking party appeared on the farther end of the first causeway they were halted by the picket three times. At the third command they discharged a whole volley at the pickets. The pickets fired their pieces, and continued to load and fire whenever a rebel could be seen.

Fires were seen on the main-land in the field west of the fort, as if there might be a small encampment there. It might be fire in the woods.

Nothing else of interest occurred.


G. Z. DIMOCK, Captain, Commanding at Seabrook.



FEBRUARY 11, 1862.– Occupation of Edisto Island, S. C., by the Union forces.

Report of Col. Henry Moore, Forty-seventh New York Infantry.

HDQRS., FORTY-SEVENTH REGT. N. Y. S. V. TROOPS, Edisto Island, S. C., February 15, 1862.

SIR: Pursuant to Army Regulations, page 104, paragraph 716, I take the earliest opportunity to inform you, both by letter and by chart, of the occupation of this island by the force under my command.

Pursuant to Special Orders, No. 69, I was ordered by General T. W. Sherman, of the expeditionary corps, to proceed to this point, on North Edisto River, and establish this post. After some reconnoitering I finally located myself at this place, known as Point of Pines, only 25 miles from Charleston. The enemy are all around us. By the aid of light-draught gunboats, which I am expecting daily from Port Royal, to keep them at bay, if troops sufficient, say at the most 10,000, could {p.90} be forwarded here, in less than three days we could be in Charleston. I consider this point the great key to Charleston, and trust this point will meet with your immediate consideration, as time may be everything to us in the premises.

I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

HENRY MOORE, Colonel, Commanding Post.

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.


FEBRUARY 15, 1862.– Action at Venus Point, Ga.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Thoman W. Sherman, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Brig Gen. Egbert L. Viele, U. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., February 17, 1862.

SIR: A rebel steamer, the Ida, ran by our battery on the Savannah River on the 14th instant for Fort Pulaski. The guns had not been worked nor the ranges obtained. On the next day she attempted to return, and four of Tatnall’s gunboats came down from Savannah to cover her. They were all sent back to their places of departure, and one of them seriously crippled.

I inclose herewith the copy of General Viele’s report on the subject.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

The ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY, Washington, D. C.


No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. Egbert L. Viele, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Savannah River, February 16, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the batteries on Venus Point were attacked at 3 o’clock p.m. on yesterday by four rebel gunboats with a view of effecting a passage from Fort Pulaski for the rebel steamer then at that place. After an engagement of one hour the rebels were driven off, the flag steamer being disabled and taken in tow, and the steamer that attempted the passage of the river returning to Fort Pulaski. The guns were manned by the Third Rhode Island {p.91} detachment, under Captain Gould, and effectively worked. There was no loss on our side.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EGBERT L. VIELE, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. L. H. PELOUZE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


FEBRUARY 23-26, 1862.– Reconnaissance up Bull River and Schooner Channel, S. C.

Report of Brig. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, U. S. Army.


SIR: I have to report, for the information of the commanding general, that in pursuance to instructions from these headquarters Captain Ely, Eighth Regiment Michigan Volunteers, and commanding on Ladies and Saint Helena Islands, with 22 men of his own company and that of Lieutenant Doyle, and accompanied by Lieutenants Doyle, Badger, and Brown, all of the Eighth Michigan Regiment, left Ladies Island on the morning of Sunday, February 23, to make an examination of Bull River and the enemy’s force in that vicinity. The party employed three rowboats. The services of a negro belonging to Robert Barnwell, who had lately come down the river, were secured as guide. From Coosaw Island another negro, named Cyas, was obtained, who subsequently proved of great service from the intimate knowledge he possessed of the country under examination.

Captain Ely reports substantially as follows: After leaving Ladies’ Island at Brick-yard Point, and passing down the Coosaw to the mouth of Bull River, a distance of 9 miles, he ascended the stream to Schooner Channel. He then proceeded up Schooner Channel until he came to the mouth of the creek which passes by Willmar’s Island. There he landed, placed his men under cover of the woods, and with a small party passed over the island and found it entirely uninhabited. Starting at nightfall he passed up the creek to near within 80 rods of its intersection with North Wimbee River, which is about 12 miles from the mouth of Bull River. Here he left the bulk of his party, and in his own boat, with only 3 men, passed into and up the North Wimbee branch to the landing at Barnwell’s plantation, a mile distant. This landing is on the right bank. This point was entirely unguarded. He landed, examined the shore for some distance, and visited Robert Barnwell’s plantation. There he found an old plantation negro, who came to Robert Barnwell’s from Pocotaligo by way of Garden’s Corner on the 22d instant, and who reported that he saw but few troops at the latter place, probably not a hundred all told; that the greater part of the troops had been withdrawn to Pocotaligo, and that the boats at the bridge near Garden’s Corner were guarded by 2 men. These boats were row-boats and flats, at least fifty in number (some negroes estimated the number as high as one hundred). Captain Ely also met another negro, who had come down from Walterborough the same day with a loaded team. From him he learned that the nearest picket, composed of 6 men, was 1 1/2 miles distant, at the fork of the roads connecting respectively with Garden’s Corner and Combahee Ferry. He likewise said he had seen no soldiers between that point and the ferry.

With this information Captain Ely brought his whole party together {p.92} at the Robert Barnwell Landing, placed them under cover, and with his 3 men and a negro guide started for the Combahee Ferry. He kept in the woods, passed within 40 or 50 rods of the pickets at the cross-roads, and pushed about 1 mile beyond there, where the country became so densely wooded and was so intersected by streams and marshes that Captain Ely was unable to proceed farther. He learned, however, that the principal force of the enemy, estimated at possibly 300 men, is stationed at Combahee Church, about 2 miles from the ferry, on the Garden’s Corner road, and that to the left of the ferry there are two pieces of artillery, placed behind an earthwork and covered with pine brush.

On his return he proceeded to Bush Church, examined the country in its vicinity, and, favored by the woods in its immediate vicinity, passed entirely around it. At Bush Church he found only about 30 men, quartered in the church itself. They stationed pickets a quarter of a mile down toward the Chisolm Landing, on the Coosaw, and about the same distance up the road toward Port Royal Ferry. Their headquarters are some 1 1/2 miles in rear of the Adams Landing, and the force there is about the same as at Combahee Church.

Captain Ely also examined the country between Stuart’s plantation and Bush Church. It consists of open woods and fields, and furnishes the best route to Bush Church from the river. At Stuart’s troops should be landed to operate against Bush Church. The distance is only 1 mile. Edward Barnwell has a plantation a mile below Stuart’s. All these plantations are on the right bank of the river. From Robert Barnwell’s place a causeway leads to Bush Church. A wide gap has been made in it, through which boats can pass, and which compelled Captain Ely to make a long detour up the river to reach the latter place. Boats can go above Robert Barnwell’s to Potter’s.

Captain Ely could easily have surprised and captured the pickets at Bush Church, and both he and his command felt some inclination to attempt it. His instructions were, however, to get information, and he found no difficulty in controlling his command.

In the morning, before the break of day, Captain Ely returned to his men and boats, crossed back to the channel from whence he came undiscovered by any of the enemy, and returning came in sight of Field’s Point, where he discovered a few men at work apparently repairing the fort, and on the left bank of the Combahee River were extensive rice fields on fire, which in the evening were visible at a long distance.

The enemy’s force, as far as Captain Ely could learn, is in that direction very small at the present time. Many of the picket stations have been taken up lately. The Combahee Ferry is made passable by flats, so that teams pass over as on a bridge. Captain Ely reached Brickyard Point on the morning of February 26, and was therefore absent two days and three nights.

The reconnaissance of Captain Ely does him great credit, and has resulted both in verifying and adding to the information already obtained. I have instructed him to continue his reconnaissances, looking particularly to the Ashepoo River. The above account is nearly in his own words, and I have adopted the above form in order to incorporate with the details of his written report details which I have gathered from him on a personal conference.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient,

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. L. H. PELOUZE, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Exped’y Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.


MARCH 3, 1862.– Evacuation of Amelia Island, Fla., by the Confederate forces.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. James H. Trapier, C. S. Army.
No. 2.–Col. Edward Hopkins, Fourth Florida Infantry.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. James H. Trapier, C. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL FORCE, Tallahassee, Fla., March 28, 1862.

MAJOR:: Inconsequence of the mess of Col. Edward Hopkins, Fourth Regiment Florida Volunteers, the officer in command of the post at Amelia Island at the time of its evacuation by our troops, I have had no official report from him. I have the honor, however, to submit for the information of the commanding general the following narrative of the events attending that operation, which, derived from sources entitled to credence, may be regarded as altogether authentic:

On the evening of February 23 I received by telegraph orders from General R. E. Lee, then commanding the military department in which Middle and East Florida are embraced, dated February 19, to withdraw from the islands, securing the artillery, &c. This order was extended forthwith, at the hands of a special messenger, to the officer commanding the post at Amelia and Talbot Islands and to Col. Charles H. McBlair, Provisional Army, commanding the batteries, with instructions to dismantle the batteries with all possible expedition and caution, and then to withdraw the troops and abandon the post.

On the fourth day after this order was received at Amelia Island the enemy made his appearance simultaneously in the inland passage between Cumberland Island and the main-land (having come in at Saint Andrew’s Sound) and off the main entrance into Cumberland Sound, the principal approach from the sea to the town of Fernandina. At this time there had been dismounted, and in great part removed from the island, all the guns that bore upon this approach. These were the most effective batteries, and without them it was deemed by the officers in council that it would be fruitless to attempt the defense of the place. The order was accordingly given for the troops to retire from the island, which they did in good order and without the loss of a single man. The garrison from the adjacent island (Talbot) was withdrawn with equal success.

Of heavy ordnance upon these islands there were, including a battery of field pieces, 33 guns. Of these, 18 were saved, thus showing a loss of but 15 guns, a fact which, in view of our very limited means of transportation and the extreme difficulty of removing heavy ordnance, or, indeed, ordnance of any description, over sand hills, reflects, in my judgment, high credit upon the officers to whom was assigned this arduous duty; and besides the guns, there were saved also all the powder and most of the shot and shell, some of the carriages, implements, &c. When it is remembered that all this was accomplished in four days and nights, under the most adverse circumstances, no other conclusion can be formed than that the utmost energy, industry, and vigor were exhibited by both officers and men.

Five of the guns were, however, I regret to add, subsequently lost. {p.94} They had been placed at Saint John’s Bluff, on the Saint John’s River, with the purpose of putting them in battery there for the defense of that river. The enemy’s prompt movements in that direction rendered it impossible to remove them, as it was my intention to have done, in pursuance of the orders from headquarters, dated March 1, 1862, which required that all the troops in this military department, except such as might be necessary for the defense of the Apalachicola River, should be ordered to report to General A. S. Johnston.

From the above it appears that our entire loss in and consequent upon the evacuation of Amelia Island is 20 guns and some stores of the quartermaster and commissary departments, though no considerable amount of either. The capture under false pretenses of Lieutenant-Colonel Holland and 5 men and his subsequent restoration has been already reported in my letter of the 19th instant.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. H. TRAPIER, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Maj. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Pocotaligo, S. C.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT S. C. AND GA., Pocotaligo, S. C., April 6, 1862.

This report is respectfully referred to War Department. Although East and Middle Florida has been constituted a separate department, reports and returns continue to be made to these headquarters.

J. C. PEMBERTON, Major-General, Commanding.


No. 2.

Report of Col. Edward Hopkins, Fourth Florida Infantry.


SIR: Your order to evacuate the island of Amelia was received on Tuesday, February 25. In accordance with that order I consulted fully with Colonel McBlair, commander of the batteries, as to the best method of effecting the important duty specially assigned him. I furnished him such details of men as were deemed necessary, and, in short, all things which our position would admit of.

On Saturday, March 1, I ordered Capt. J. M. Martin, Marion Artillery, to place his battery 2 miles beyond the railroad bridge, on the mainland, leaving a strong guard to protect the same, and to return with the rest of his command to the island, which he did, and rendered me important service to the end. I also directed Captain Owens, commanding Marion Dragoons, to take his horses to the position assigned the artillery and return (the necessary guard excepted) to the island. This dismounted corps, under its efficient commander, was useful to me throughout.

I had previously caused the citizens of Fernandina to be notified that ample transportation would be furnished all who desired to leave the city; that orders had been issued for that purpose. Finding that the citizens paid no attention to this notice, I issued, on Saturday, March 1 a written notice, to wit, that on Sunday, March 2, at 10 a.m., a special {p.95} train would leave the city expressly for the transportation of all women and children desirous of leaving. But little heed seemed to have been given to the second admonition.

No demonstration beyond the usual blockade was made by the enemy until Sunday, March 2, about 9 a.m. A bark, bearing French colors, appeared in the offing and hoisted signals for a pilot, whereupon Lieut. Col. D. P. Holland went out to her with a white flag, taking with him 6 soldiers of the Fourth Florida Regiment. She proved to be a Federal vessel, and they were captured by the perfidious craft and taken off. I have the happiness to state that they have since been released and are again at their post.

About 10 o’clock the same day several ships hove in sight, bore down near the bar, and anchored. It became evident that an attack would be made on Monday, the 3d. Our position was critical. As the enemy had full view of my quarters, it was necessary that the usual camp quiet should prevail.

It was not until 6.30 p.m. that I issued the order to break camp and transport everything to the railroad depot. This was effected by 2 o’clock next morning.

At an early hour in the night I received a dispatch from Colonel Styles, saying that from nineteen to twenty-one of the enemy’s gunboats were in Saint Andrew’s Sound, of which fact Colonel McBlair was duly notified. In consequence of this information he very properly placed his command en route for the city, where it arrived about 1.30 o’clock in the morning.

At 1 o’clock on Monday morning I repaired to town, and at 2.30 a.m. ordered all the troops (three companies of the Fourth Regiment Florida Volunteers excepted) to take up the line of march to the main-land. These three companies I retained for the protection of the citizens and for the more speedy removal of our equipage. No trains were permitted to go beyond 2 miles from the railroad bridge. The rush for succor and aid was perplexing. Duty on one side and commiseration for the sufferers rendered my position very distressing.

At 12 m. I was informed that four of the enemy’s gunboats had come around the north end of Cumberland Island and entered the sound.

At 1 o’clock it was reported to me that they were moving across, whereupon I ordered the companies to file across the bridge, and at 2 p.m., in company with Colonel McBlair, I left Fernandina. It was now that all trains should have been removed to a place of safety, and no difficultly would have occurred. The three companies behaved well. There was no confusion; not the slightest. The train fired into was not injured.

On Tuesday at 4 a.m., I ordered Second Lieutenant Deakle, of Company C, Fourth Regiment, to burn the trestle-work on the side next the main-land, which he accomplished, under fire of the enemy’s gunboats, without loss. You are aware, sir, my orders restricted me entirely to my immediate command, Colonel McBlair having full charge of the batteries.

In conclusion, I will add that nothing was lost belonging to my command. My ill-health prevented an earlier report, as well as one more full and complete.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. HOPKINS, Colonel, Commanding Fourth Regiment Florida Volunteers

R. H. ANDERSON, Major and Adjutant Adjutant-General.


MARCH 4. 1862.– Occupation of Amelia Island, Fla., by the Union forces.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army.


GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that the combined navy and army expedition is in possession of Fernandina and the military defenses on Amelia Island, and also of the batteries on the south end of Cumberland Island.

Our occupation was a bloodless one, the rebels having evacuated on the first suspicion of our approach all the strong defenses on which they had lavished so much time and labor, removing, so far as time permitted, guns, stores, and troops. They, however, left behind no less than fourteen guns, all of large caliber.

The town is nearly deserted of inhabitants, many of whom left reluctantly, in obedience to the orders of the rebel authorities.

So far as I can gather from the conflicting statements of the citizens left behind, the rebel force here has exceeded 5,000 men. A detailed report will be submitted hereafter.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN Commanding Expeditionary Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED’Y CORPS, Fernandina, Fla., March 13, 1862.

GENERAL: Your letters of the 10th and 12th instant were received this evening, through Mr. Boutelle, U. S. Coast Survey, and I hasten to reply by the steamer Ben De Ford, which leaves early to-morrow morning. The Saint John’s expedition is still absent, and I have received no official information in regard to it since the 11th, at which time the vessels had not succeeded in passing the bar of that river. I learn, however, through contrabands and others who have come in, that the enemy has deserted everything as high up as Jacksonville, and has burned a portion of that town; that there are no troops nearer than Baldwin, and but few there, the Mississippi regiment having been sent to Tennessee and most of the Florida troops to Tallahassee. I infer, therefore, that the capture of Saint Augustine will not require a formidable demonstration, but that the place will surrender on the approach of the gunboats. Should there be any indications of resistance there, which I do not expect, I will add to the land force already sent. As you will have learned by one of my late letters, it is doubtful whether the place is garrisoned even. The ordnance captured here amounts to sixteen pieces in all, two having been found in a battery beyond the railroad bridge, which had not, however, been mounted. The battery was nearly completed. No powder of any moment was left behind. Three large sling-carts were left in good condition and a fourth partly burned. We shall need the ammunition and other stores estimated for by Lieutenant Tardy. I shall retain the whole force now here until the result of the expedition now absent is accomplished, or until I hear further from you. I believe, from present information, that at least {p.97} one regiment and the battery may be sent back soon, if you desire it, still retaining an adequate garrison at this point.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding Exped’y Corps, Hdqrs. Hilton Head, S. C.


General Wright will be instructed to put the place in as good a state of defense as his means will permit, so that it can be held by a regiment or less. He is also instructed to have a detailed estimate made for the thorough completion of Fort Clinch, and submit the same at as early a day as practicable.



MARCH 7-11, 1862.– Reconnaissance up the Savannah River and to Elba Island.

Report of Lieut. Col. John H. Jackson, Third New Hampshire Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD REGIMENT N. H. VOLS., Port Royal, S. C., March 13, 1862.

I have the honor to report that in compliance with instructions received from Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman, March 7, I left this camp at 6 p.m. on that date, and proceeded to Seabrook with 20 officers and 371 men, with Surgeon Moulton and 4 hospital attendants. I arrived at Seabrook at 8 p.m., and found there six boats, two of them of small size. I made every effort to obtain more boats, and after waiting an hour Captain Dunbar arrived from Hilton Head with four boats, making ten boats with which to transfer my command to Daufuskie Island. The boats were crowded full, and I was compelled to leave behind Company A, with 2 officers, and a part of Company F, with 1 officer, a total of 91 men and 3 officers. Just as we were about to leave Seabrook, Captain Dunbar was taken sick, and I placed the whole charge of the boats and boatmen with Lieutenant Cornelius, of Company D, who discharged his duties in a prompt and efficient manner during the whole time of our absence. We left Seabrook at 10 p.m., some of the boats leaking badly. When I arrived opposite Buckingham’s Ferry, and several times before reaching there, I was fired on by rebel pickets. I found we had lost our way, and having no countersign, were being fired on by our own pickets as well as by the rebels. I thought it advisable to land and wait till daylight, it then being very dark. Quite a number of shots were fired at us, none hitting either the men or boats.

It was 2 in the morning when I landed, two of the boats not coming up till daylight, having lost their way during the night. At daylight I started again, having procured a guide-Private Alonzo Borden, Company I, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers. At 7.30 a.m. we came up with the two boats we had missed during the night, and at 9 a.m. {p.98} I landed on Daufuskie, marched 5 miles, to General Viele’s quarters, and reported to him at 12 o’clock. After landing I sent the boats to Engineer’s Wharf, at the upper end of the island. General Viele ordered me to encamp and wait further orders. During the evening Companies A and F arrived from Seabrook on the Mayflower, she coming from Hilton Head with commissary stores, and having taken them on board when passing Seabrook.

The next morning (Sunday, the 9th) I was ordered to embark and proceed to Savannah River, with my entire command, on a reconnaissance. I proceeded to Savannah River and some distance up the river without seeing any signs of rebel pickets. I then returned and landed at the battery opposite Jones’ Island, letting the men leave the boats a short time to rest them. While there a rebel steamer came out of San Augustine Creek in sight of our batteries and steamed up the river towards Savannah. Our batteries opened on them, making some good line shots though they did not appear to strike the steamer, but they quickened her speed. After resting a short time I crossed to Jones’ Island. As the boats were heavily laden and the tide low I could not pass down Mud River. I therefore landed the men and sent the boats around to the opposite side of the island to join me there. From there I again embarked, and returned to Daufuskie.

The next morning (Monday, 10th) I received orders from General Viele to take one day’s rations and with all my command make a reconnaissance of Elba Island, which I proceeded to do, accompanied by Major Gardiner, of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, and Captain Liebenau, of General Viele’s staff. We left the landing known as the Engineer’s Wharf at 9.45 a.m. in small boats, which were taken in tow by the steamer Mayflower to the point of Jones’ Island (on Mud River) known as Sears’ Landing, arriving there at 12 o’clock. From thence we proceeded in our boats, heavily laden as they were, against wind and tide, through Mud River, across the Savannah River, to a point on Elba Island opposite to and below the mouth of Mud River, where I landed, accompanied by Major Bedel, of the Third New Hampshire Volunteers, Major Gardner, and Captain Liebenau. I at once saw the impracticability of landing my whole force, as the tall reeds and grass on the lower portion of the island had been burned, thus leaving us a fair mark for any of the enemy’s steamers, should any of them (attracted by the large force under my command in small boats crossing the Savannah in daylight) have thought best to come down and attack us. I left the force there under the command of Captain Plimpton, with instructions to officers in command of the several different boats to allow no man to land, but each officer and soldier to remain seated in the boats, covered by the shores of the island, and instructing the officers in charge, as soon as any black heavy smoke became visible beyond them, to pull directly for Mud River, so as to be under the cover of the guns from our batteries and those of the Western World; to leave a small boat for us, or if this was not practicable, to take all the boats, leaving us on the island.

After these instructions I divided our small force landed, by giving Major Bedel 6 men, and instructions to proceed across to the opposite side of the island, scattering his men, and thence to the upper end, while with Major Gardiner, Captain Liebenau, and 6 men I proceeded on our course on this side, expecting to join Major Bedel at the upper end of the island. We separated to start upon our several courses at 1.45 p.m., and after traveling two hours and a quarter and crossing {p.99} several small streams we came to the point of land, the extreme end of the island, looking towards the mouth of Wright River. On a point of land above the month of said river we saw a large store-house, or factory, with the windows closed, and no signs of any picket, although 2 men were seen, apparently unarmed.

From this point we proceeded directly across the island to the opposite side. Here we found the ruins of two houses, with one high brick chimney standing. From this point we could look directly up a stream across which there seemed to be a bridge, with heavy, strong abutments, as if intended for guns to be placed upon. Upon these abutments men could be distinctly seen at work, but what they were doing or if guns were in position at this place we were unable to see, as the afternoon sun shone directly against us and, shining upon the water, impaired our view. Near the bridge, on the side towards us, were three steamers lying at anchor (these were black) and one white steamer under way inside of the bridge. On the right-hand side were two vessels, schooner-rigged. It was impossible to tell whether they were steamers or sailing vessels. I then proceeded to the above-mentioned chimney, from which point I plainly saw houses, appearing to be store-houses, apparently filled with men, some of whom were distinctly seen lounging in the windows, but could see no signs of a battery. While resting ourselves, we saw a sail-boat well filled with men-some sailors and some soldiers, about 20 in all-leave one of the steamers and shape their course for this point. We at once proceeded to return to our boats. After a fatiguing tramp of one hour and a half one of the corporals who accompanied us saw a sail passing down the river. He reported the fact to me. We then ascertained that it was a boat from the steamer Western World, with Captain Gregory and Surgeon Moulton, of the New Hampshire Third, who were in search of us alongshore, thinking from our protracted absence we had lost our way. The captain immediately took us on board, and we proceeded to join the forces of my command, lying in boats at the lower end of the island.

On arriving there we found Major Bedel returned with the men of his command and 4 of those of mine. He reports that after crossing the island and proceeding up the southerly side opposite Saint Augustine Creek, on the upper point of which he discovered a picket of 5 men, they were within range, but his instructions were not to fire upon any pickets, but to keep themselves hidden. After traveling an hour and a half he found a stream, which it was impossible to cross. He followed the course of the stream inland until he reached the head of the stream, where he lost his way, owing to the thickness and height of the rushes, when, finding evening approaching, he returned to the boats. Upon my joining the forces in the boats, we proceeded to camp, where we arrived at 8 o’clock p.m.

The next morning (Tuesday, 11) I received orders from General Viele to prepare to return to Hilton Head, with the understanding that the Mayflower was to bring the troops and tow the boats. Between 3 and 4 o’clock p.m., and after the men had been standing in the rain some time, we were notified that we must return in our boats, and as it was impossible to get all the men in the boats, I sent the boats around to the point (Egg Point), where we first landed on the island, and marched the men down there. It was dark when we arrived there, and the tide running out and a strong head wind blowing, I found it impossible to get home that night. I then took two companies across the river to Lawton’s plantation, on Hilton Head Island, and sent the boats back to join {p.100} the other boats. I left Major Bedel with the remaining four companies, with instructions to return to Hilton Head as soon as practicable. The next morning early Major Bedel landed with two companies at Lawton’s plantation. The remaining two companies went to Seabrook in the boats, and marched from there to this camp yesterday noon. Between 9 and 10 o’clock a.m. I left the plantation with the four companies there and arrived here in camp at 1 p.m. Every man that left the camp with me has returned. Five men are sick and in their quarters, and 1 was sent to the hospital on our return. The remainder of the men are in good health and spirits.

With great respect, this report is respectfully submitted.

JOHN H. JACKSON, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Third New Hampshire Vols.



MARCH 12, 1862.–Occupation of Jacksonville, Fla., by the Union forces.

Report of Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED’Y CORPS, Fernandina, Fla., March 15, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that I have just learned from my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Hubbell, who accompanied the expedition to the Saint John’s River, that the batteries at the month of the river and at Saint John’s Bluff were abandoned on the approach of the gunboats, and that Jacksonville was evacuated by the rebels before our forces reached the town. Jacksonville was occupied by six companies of the Fourth New Hampshire on the 12th instant. Seven saw-mills, 4,000,000 feet of lumber, a large hotel, four or five private dwellings, the railroad depot, and the gunboat in process of construction and nearly ready for launching were burned by the rebels on their evacuation of the place.

A portion of the gunboats, having with them one company of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, went to Saint Augustine, which the rebel forces had deserted on the first appearance of the expedition on the Florida coast. The inhabitants of the town are represented to have hailed with joy the arrival of our forces and their relief from the oppressive rule of the rebel authorities. At Jacksonville many of the inhabitants are still remaining, though considerable numbers had gone when our troops landed.

I shall endeavor to visit Jacksonville, and perhaps Saint Augustine, to-morrow, after which I will report more in detail.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. L. H. PELOUZE, Act. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. E. C., Hilton Head, S. C.


MARCH 20-24, 1862.– Operations near Bluffton, S. C., including affairs at Buckingham and Hunting Island.


No. 1.–Lieut. Col. John H. Jackson, Third New Hampshire Infantry.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Drayton, C. S. Army.
No. 3.–Maj. John B. Willcoxon. Phillips Legion.
No. 4.–Capt. Carlos Tracy, volunteer aide-de-camp.
No. 5.–Miscellaneous orders and correspondence.

No. 1.

Report of Lieut. Col. John H. Jackson, Third New Hampshire Infantry.


SIR: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with Special Orders, No. 67, March 18, 1862, I proceeded on the 19th, with 24 officers and-enlisted men, on a reconnaissance in force on May River, running between the islands of Bull and Savage and the main-land. Accompanying the battalion from my regiment was a detachment from the Third Rhode Island Volunteers, with a 12-pounder howitzer, under the command of Lieutenant Morrow, who conducted himself in a manner deserving my thanks, and materially assisted me in all my movements during the five days I was gone.

I left my camp at this place at 2 p.m., and arrived at Seabrook at 3.30 p.m., and had all but one company embarked at 4 o’clock, filling what boats I had, fifteen in number, one leaking so badly I had to leave it behind. The field piece 1 embarked in a scow we found at Seabrook and towed it with one of our large boats. Soon after leaving the wharf it began to grow dark and to rain, and the wind blew hard, so as to endanger the safety of our field piece, the scow being low in the water. After an hour and a half’s rowing, I thought best to land a short time until the weather became somewhat calmer, and landed at Dr. Frank Pope’s plantation, on Hilton Head Island. The men found shelter in the buildings, and at 2.30 o’clock in the morning of Thursday, the 20th, we again embarked, and about daybreak landed on a hard beach at Dr. James Kirk’s plantation, on the main-land, and 1 mile from Bluffton.

I had previously sent two companies under command of Captain Randlett to the White house, on Ephraim Baynard’s plantation, opposite the lower end of Pinckney Island, to drive in or capture the picket stationed there. Immediately after landing, the command remaining with me, I threw out Captain Plimpton’s company as skirmishers in the direction of the above plantation, to assist Captain Randlett, and to ascertain what other pickets there were near there, and, if possible, to capture them.

Immediately after landing we could see cavalry pickets in the woods skirting the plantation. I immediately had the field piece brought up and fired three shells into the wood, scattering the enemy. As I had not made preparation to advance far into the interior, I drew off my command, and dropped down to Colonel Seabrook’s wharf and plantation, on Bull Island, opposite the main-land. After landing that portion of my command I proceeded to Baynard’s plantation, and found that 4 rebel pickets had been captured. Captain Plimpton’s company, {p.102} under command of Lieutenant Ela, had cut off their retreat, and being hemmed in on all sides, they surrendered without resistance.

On arriving, I disarmed them of their rifles and long knives, with which they were armed, and carried them across to Buckingham’s Ferry, Hilton Head Island, and delivered them over to an officer of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanding the picket there stationed, and requested him to send them to headquarters, which he did. With my command I then proceeded to Bull Island. That afternoon I was notified that there was a strong force on the main-land, and having made up my mind to visit Bluffton, I sent to headquarters for another piece of artillery, which I received Friday afternoon.

Friday morning, having got some information that led me to believe there was a picket on Savage Islands, on the side towards the main-land, I determined to reconnoiter those islands thoroughly. I embarked my command and landed them on Savage Islands, thoroughly examined them, but found no pickets. On the main-land opposite, the cavalry pickets were visible narrowly watching our movements, apparently expecting us to land on the main-land above Bluffton. At 1.30 o’clock, I started on my return to Bull Island. In the morning, before starting, I was notified by our picket that the enemy had that morning burned all the buildings (about fifteen in number) on Kirk’s plantation, where we landed yesterday. On our passage to Savage Islands we were frequently fired on by the rebel pickets. On our return they again fired on us, and when opposite Kirk’s I ordered my men to return the fire, which they did, firing as each boat came abreast the plantation. After passing beyond rifle range we could see a cluster of the horsemen apparently gathered around some wounded or killed companion, as they dismounted. Most of our shots reached the shore, but whether we succeeded in hitting the enemy or not I could not ascertain.

That night I received another piece of artillery from headquarters, with men to man it. Next morning, after putting one of the guns in a position to command the landing at Kirk’s, I embarked the men and landed at the same place as on Thursday, the 20th, driving in the pickets. I then threw out two companies as skirmishers, and after advancing a short distance into the wood sent forward two companies more to support them, under command of Captain Plimpton, acting major. Lieutenant Morrow having got his field piece in position, I left a few men, with an officer, to assist him, and advanced the remainder of my force towards Bluffton. In advancing I found cross-roads, where I left detachments to prevent the enemy getting into our rear.

We arrived at Bluffton at 12 o’clock, driving the pickets through the town and a short distance [beyond], but finding it impossible to cut them off abandoned the pursuit. I found the town entirely deserted, with the exception of 3 old negroes, who informed me there had been no artillery there, and there was no evidence of any or of any earthworks there or some distance up the river. The nearest approach to artillery was an old dismounted iron gun on the bluff near the church and on the bank of the river. I examined the town thoroughly, to be sure there were none of the rebels secreted. I found none, and neither arms nor ammunition. The town had been apparently only occupied as a headquarters for pickets during the past three months.

One of the rebel pickets, in endeavoring to escape, could not get his horse to start for some reason or other. He was in sight of our advance, but at long-range distance, and after endeavoring for a few minutes to urge his horse into a run and being unsuccessful, left his horse and blankets and ran for the woods, which he reached without further harm {p.105} from us. The horse was a good one, and, with a mule taken from Bull Island, I have turned over to Colonel Reynolds, Government agent at this place, and have his receipt for them. After a thorough examination of the town I drew in my command, and retired rapidly and in good order without any attack from any quarter, and returned in the boats to Bull Island.

The officers and men behaved like good soldiers, moving steadily and quietly to and from the town; remained in ranks while in the town (with the exception of such squads as were ordered to examine the various houses), and in every way conducted themselves in a meritorious manner.

I visited the islands near Bull Island, finding a number of cattle, sheep, and hogs, and evidences that the enemy obtained some of their fresh provisions from these islands. As we were short of rations, I had a few of the cattle killed and properly distributed among my command.

On Monday, at 3 p.m., I returned to Hilton Head. All the boats, with the exception of three, are at Seabrook in good order. These three leaked badly from the start, and I had them sent to the wharf at Hilton Head for repairs. All my command have returned in good health and without one accident.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

JOHN H. JACKSON, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Third New Hampshire Vols.

Col. ENOCH Q. FELLOWS, Third New Hampshire Volunteers, Commanding Post.


No. 2.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Drayton, C. S. Army.


CAPTAIN: Major Willcoxon, commanding cavalry of Phillips Legion at Bluffton, reported to me yesterday afternoon [at] 3 p.m. that he had been driven back from Bluffton about 3 miles, and the enemy-could not say how many-[were] a mile and a half in his front, at Mr. James Pope’s gate. I immediately sent forward to ascertain the facts, following on myself shortly after. The enemy were in the position stated by Major Willcoxon, but fell back again upon Bluffton and retired thence about 9 p.m.

I have moved troops forward and will take such position with others as I hope will enable me to cut off or drive back into the river any of the invaders, should they venture as far up the public road as they did yesterday. The enemy came up to Red Bluff yesterday in a steamer and shelled the woods in the vicinity. I have no further official account than this.

Captain Ives informed me that he was ready to supply me with torpedoes, but had no powder. I have made a requisition upon General Ripley for 1,200 pounds of blasting powder, the better qualities being so scarce.

The telegram of the major-general commanding has been received, and I will accordingly apply to General Lawton for the two regiments from Georgia, which will enable me to move forward and act in concert with {p.104} the other regiments of my command, who are known to each other and are well drilled.

The whole command has been very much fatigued by their forced march of the other night-2Oth instant.

Major Willcoxon reports that the enemy landed at Hunting Island in ten barges.

Respectfully, yours,

THOS. F. DRAYTON, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Pocotaligo, S. C.



SIR: I beg to submit to the consideration of the major-general commanding the accompanying papers in regard to the enemy’s landing in the vicinity of Bluffton on the 20th and 22d instant.

No 1 report of Major Willcoxon, Phillips Legion, Georgia Volunteers, at Bluffton, of the landing on the 20th instant, together with No. 2, additional report of above, stating loss of 4 pickets; No. 3, copies of dispatches from Major Willcoxon concerning landing on 22d instant; No. 4, report of Major Willcoxon in reference to landing of enemy on 22d instant; No. 5, report of Capt. Carlos Tracy, volunteer aide-de-camp, of the landing, &c., on 22d instant.

The examination of witnesses was made by Captain Tracy in the presence of Major Willcoxon without any contradiction by that officer of the testimony given by the officers and men eye-witnesses of the facts and circumstances stated.

Major Willcoxon no longer occupies a separate command and I trust that under a new and severer discipline no such confused reports of the position and numbers of the enemy will again be forwarded like those which have so lately ended in harassing marches and disappointment to the troops.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

THOS. F. DRAYTON, Brigadier-General.

Capt. J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Pocotaligo, S. C.


No. 3.

Reports of Maj. John B. Willcoxon, Phillips Legion.

BLUFFTON, S. C., March 20, 1862.

DEAR SIR: This morning at day the enemy landed a regiment at Buckingham and one at Hunting Island, with a battery of artillery. As we approached Hunting Island to attack the enemy they opened their artillery on us, so that we could not approach them nearer than the gate. The enemy that landed at Buckingham advanced to the church. There our skirmishers met, and after a few shots on either side the enemy retired through the woods towards Hunting Island. The enemy has made no advance as yet from Hunting Island. We are fearful that we lost 4 pickets (as they have not yet returned), belonging to Captain Daniels’ company. I have scouts watching the movements of the enemy. {p.105} Our wagons left here this morning with our baggage for the fork of the South May River road or Colonel Jones’ camp.

Yours, respectfully,

JNO. B. WILLCOXON, Major, Commanding at Bluffton.

General DRAYTON.



SIR: In answer to the communication to you from brigade headquarters, dated March 23, asking for my official report of yesterday’s engagement with the enemy, &c., I report as follows:

About 11 a.m. the pickets stationed at Hunting Island reported that ten or twelve boats or barges had landed (four at Hunting Island and six or eight above), and that each of said boats contained 50 to 100 men, and that they were advancing on Bluffton in two columns, one column by the gate and one around by the beach or bluff. About the same time or soon thereafter, another picket reported that four boats had landed at Baynard’s negro quarters. I then dispatched Captains Du Bignon’s and Rich’s companies, consisting of some 20 men each (the others of said companies on picket and sent to relieve the same), to meet the enemy on Hunting Island road, at the same time dispatching Packet’s company to the Seabrook Church to support the picket.

Captains Du Bignon’s and Rich’s companies were soon engaged by the enemy, and not having force sufficient to check his advance, I, after sharp firing for a short time, ordered them to fall back, at the same time, seeing that Pucket’s company was about being cut off, ordered it to fall back by Fording Island road. I then fell back to Pope’s lane, and, dismounting, advanced to meet the enemy, who was now in town and still advancing on us; and seeing that our horses were much exposed and we liable to be cut off from our horses, I ordered my men to mount, and then retreated to the end of Mr. Crowell’s lane, at which point our horses could be sheltered under cover of the wood, and we having the benefit of attacking the enemy in his advance through an open field.

Lieutenant Milhollin and a few men, having been left in the rear to watch and report the advance of the enemy, reported that he had fallen back. Lieutenant Milhollin was then ordered to follow them up and report their movement-and after returning late in the evening reported no enemy in or about Bluffton.

During the skirmish the enemy wounded two of our horses, one of which has since died and the other rendered unfit for duty, and during the time captured a horse belonging to one of the recruits of Captain Rich’s company; the said recruit not being with the company, he having no arms.

Mr. Farr’s store-house and dwelling-house broken open; also the post-office and dwelling on the same lot; but do not know anything about what was taken out, not knowing what was in either house; no public stores being [were] lost. Some 50 or 60 bushels of corn were left in town, but no damage other than stated heard of. This morning at day Lieutenant Milhollin, with 20 men, was sent out and reconnoitered to Hunting Island, but found no enemy.

Respectfully submitted.

JNO. B. WILLCOXON, Major, Commanding Cavalry Phillips Legion.

Lieut. Col. S. JONES, Jr., Commanding Legion




You are hereby notified that four pickets belonging to the Green Rifles, lately under my command at Bluffton, are missing, and I am fearful they were captured by the enemy on the morning of the 20th instant.

Yours, respectfully,

JNO. B. WILLCOXON, Major, Commanding Cavalry Phillips Legion.

Lieut. Col. S. JONES, Jr.



SIR: In answer to the request of Brigadier-General Drayton, as per note of J. I. Middleton, aide-de-camp, 23d instant, I report the following:

About daylight on the morning of the 20th instant the pickets from Hunting Islands and Buckingham reported the enemy landing at those two points, as verbally reported. I then ordered Captain Du Bignon’s company to Hunting Island, the officer in command of which dispatched a courier to inform me that one regiment and one piece of artillery had landed. The courier reported one regiment and one battery. The officer of the pickets, after relieving them, reported to me (cannot state at what hour) that about one regiment had landed at Buckingham. I then made my written report from that of those two officers.

Respectfully submitted.

JNO. B. WILLCOXON, Major, Commanding Cavalry Phillips Legion.

HENRY A. YOUNG, Assistant Adjutant-General.


No. 4.

Report of Capt. Carlos Tracy, Volunteer aide-de-camp.


SIR: In compliance with instructions from Brigadier-General Drayton delivered at New River Bridge about 8 p.m. yesterday, that I should proceed to Major Willcoxon, commanding in the vicinity of Bluffton, and acquaint myself as accurately as I could with the facts of the reported landing and advance of the enemy on that day into and from the village of Bluffton, I proceeded towards that place, and found Major Willcoxon, with his command, 2 miles this side of Bluffton. I learned from Major Willcoxon that the enemy-reported shortly before by his scouts to him and by him to the major-general commanding as having retired from Bluffton-had returned. I inquired if this fact had been reported to Brigadier-General Drayton, but found it had not been because, as Major Willcoxon stated, he had not the countersign, and besides did not know if the report was true.

I got Major Willcoxon to call before me the men of his command {p.107} who could give me information of the movements of the enemy since the afternoon of the 21st instant. A commissioned and a non-commissioned officer and several privates were examined by me in the presence of Major Willcoxon. I learned from these that on the afternoon of the 21st eight boats had returned from the direction of Box’s (eight had been reported at Box’s on that morning), and that two steamers (scouts could not say if they were gunboats) had come up to one of the islands near the Hunting Islands with four small boats with some men in them in tow; that the enemy that night had burned a small house at or near Buckingham Point; that on the morning of the 22d eleven small boats proceeded up towards the Hunting Islands. Eight of these kept the opposite shore, passed the Hunting Islands, and were not seen afterwards. They probably landed at or near the edge of Bluffton. Three landed at the Hunting Islands. The vedettes rapidly retired to Bluffton from the Hunting Islands and the enemy entered the village. Soon after that some of our men were fired upon without knowing that the enemy was coming. One man, who was near, said about 100 of the enemy had been seen by him advancing by the bluff. Another said he had seen about 12 men at the back of the village, and that there were others, how many he could not say; that our men rapidly retired; that the enemy advanced at the double quick until they reached the edge of the village on this side, and last fired upon us, as Major Willcoxon stated, from a grist-mill, which is said to be about the last house this end of the village and about three-quarters of a mile from the farther end of Pope’s lane; that the enemy, after firing upon us, retired at the double-quick from this end of the village, and were not seen, as far as I could learn, from this time, which must have been about 9.20 a.m. At that hour they had entered the village; that a detachment of 20 men, under Lieutenant Milhollin, had late in the evening entered the village, found no damage done, except to the contents of two stores, said to have had in them liquor and tobacco, and conversed with a negro man, who had some of their property in his charge, who stated, on delivering up these articles safely, that he had never seen any Yankees. The negro lived at this end of the village; that this detachment had commenced scouting towards the Hunting Islands (it was then dark), when a sergeant and two men saw a man lying in the road with his head towards them; that he was snapped at by the sergeant and a man, when he turned across the road and another man then joined him from the bushes and laid himself down alongside of him. Our men then fired and retired. One of them declared (this was reported of him; he was on picket at the investigation) that he saw two more of the enemy come up to the men lying in the road, and that one gun was fired by the enemy. The sergeant evidently did not believe that a gun had been fired or that two others had joined those in the road.

No further scouting was done up to the time of my arrival at Major Willcoxon’s camp.

Being satisfied that if these objects in the road were men they were drunken stragglers of the enemy, I advised Major Willcoxon to send an intelligent officer and 20 or more men to reach Bluffton by daylight and rapidly scout towards the Hunting Islands, and stated that I thought by so doing he could capture such drunken stragglers of the enemy as had not gone off in their boats. I had no doubt the sober men of the expedition had left the evening before. Major Willcoxon said he had already determined to send out such a party in the morning. I learned who was to lead the party, and got him to say that he would report to me in person at New River Bridge this morning.


I returned to New River Bridge, where I was to report to you, last night at 2 a.m.

This morning Lieutenant Milhollin, who led the scouting party, reported to me that he made the scout as expected; that no enemy was on the main-land anywhere near Bluffton, and that he had ascertained from satisfactory evidence that the objects seen and fired at by the sergeants and the two men last night, and on which was based the supposition that the enemy had returned to Bluffton, were branches of trees.


CARLOS TRACY, Aide-de-Camp.

HENRY E. YOUNG, Assistant adjutant-General.

P. S.-Major Willcoxon stated that he supposed the force of the enemy to be from 300 to 400 men.


No. 5.

Miscellaneous orders and correspondence.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., March 20, 1862.

Brig. Gen. MAXCY GREGG, Commanding Fourth Military District, Jericho, S. C.:

GENERAL: The general commanding the department directs that you will hold the Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Jones, prepared and ready to move at a moment’s notice. He also directs that the regiment should be lightly equipped and not encumbered by equipage, &c. You will, if possible, hold them in readiness, with three days’ rations in their knapsacks.

By order of Major-General Pemberton:

J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., March 20, 1862.


The major-general commanding the department directs that you move forward Colonel Jones’ five companies near Tomotley, to the works on Bee Creek. They will proceed from Pocotaligo Station to Coosawhatchie by railroad. Transportation will be furnished immediately at Coosawhatchie. They will leave the cars and proceed by road to Bee Creek. Captain Thornton’s light battery of artillery, Virginia volunteers, has been ordered to Grahamville, S. C. Replace Colonel Jones’ five companies by a corresponding number from Colonel Dunovant’s Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

By order of Major-General Pemberton:

[J. R. WADDY,] Assistant Adjutant-General.



HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., March 20, 1862.

Brig. Gen. MAXCY GREGG, Commanding Fourth Military District:

GENERAL: If the Tennessee regiment has moved you need not move Colonel Jones’ regiment, but hold it in readiness in case it is wanted, and relieve the pickets by cavalry and such other troops as may be most convenient, if you are required to move Colonel Jones. If said regiment should be moved the general will endeavor to move it by rail.

The general leaves in a few moments for Hardeeville, S. C. Communicate by telegraph.

I am, general, very respectfully,

J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., March 20, 1862.

Brigadier-General DONELSON, Commanding Fifth Military District, Stony Creek, S. C.:

GENERAL: The major-general commanding department directs that all the Tennessee troops, except the ones at the heavy guns on the Coosawhatchie River, advance at once by the public road towards New River Bridge. Those advancing from Grahamville, if forced to fall back will do so by the same road on which they advanced to the intrenchments on the Honey Hill road.

By order of Major-General Pemberton:

[J. R. WADDY,] Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., March 20, 1862.

Brigadier-General GREGG, Commanding Fourth Military District, Jericho, S. C.:

GENERAL: I am directed by the major-general commanding the department to countermand the order just issued in reference to movements of troops in your district. Captain Thornton will be advised accordingly.

By order of Major-General Pemberton:

[J. R. WADDY,] Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS.. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Hardeeville, S. C., March 20, 1862-8.45 p.m.

Brigadier-General DONELSON, Commanding Fifth Military District of South Carolina:

GENERAL: I wish you to move forward to the head of the Fording Island road, leading from Buckingham Ferry, with Captain Latham’s battery. One company will be left at the heavy guns on Coosawhatchie River. Colonel Jones is ordered to move five companies to the intrenchment near Bee Creek. You will not, however, await his arrival, but {p.110} move at once. The five companies of your brigade now at Camp Pemberton will proceed to Grahamville and occupy the camp now established. No tents will be taken except those from Camp Pemberton. Leave the one company at Coosawhatchie, as also those in Grahamville. I wish you to move as speedily as possible. If the companies have arrived from Camp Pemberton you can take them with you also.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. C. PEMBERTON, Major-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Hardeeville, S. C., March 21, 1862.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS F. DRAYTON, Commanding Sixth Military District of South Carolina:

GENERAL: I consider that there is a sufficient number of troops now in hand and near Bluffton to capture or drive the enemy from his position at Hunting Island. This you will endeavor to do, if not already done, on the receipt of this communication. In consequence of the representations of a courier (dispatched to me by telegraph) and subsequent statements by Major Willcoxon, Georgia volunteers, I have been induced to order forward many more troops than enough to accomplish this object, and I desire you to carry out my orders, though this should not reach you until after daylight.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

[J. C. PEMBERTON,] Major-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Hardeeville, S. C., March 21, 1862.

Brigadier-General DONELSON, Comdg. Fifth Mil. Dist. S. C., Head of Fording Island Road:

GENERAL: The general commanding directs that as soon as your men are rested you return with your command to the positions previously designated for your brigade.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

- -, Captain and Ordnance Officer.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., March 22, 1862.

Col. R. G. M. DUNOVANT, Twelfth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Stony Creek, S. C.:

COLONEL: The major-general commanding the department directs that you move the eight companies of your regiment now stationed near Stony Creek immediately to Pocotaligo Station, where they will take the cars and proceed to Grahamville Station, S. C.; from thence you will proceed as speedily as possible to Grahamville by public road. You will equip your men with arms, ammunition, and three days’ provision {p.111} in their haversacks. The enemy are reported advancing from Bluffton S. C.

By order of Major-General Pemberton:

R. W. MEMMINGER, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., March 22, 1862.

Brig. Gen. MAXCY GREGG, Commanding Fourth Military District:

GENERAL: As information has again been received of the landing of the enemy at Bluffton, the major-general commanding directs that you hold your command in readiness to move, if necessary. Colonel Dunovant’s regiment will move by railroad.

I am, general, very respectfully,

J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., March 22, 1862.

Brigadier-General DONELSON, Commanding Fifth Military District:

GENERAL: As information has been again received of the landing of the enemy at Bluffton, the major-general commanding directs that you hold your command in readiness to move, if required, at once.

I am, general, very respectfully,

J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


MARCH 23, 1862.– Affair at Smyrna, Ph.

Report of Col. W. S. Dilworth, commanding forces of the Department of East and Middle Florida.

HDQRS. PROVISIONAL FORCES, DEPT. E. AND M. FLA., Tallahassee, Fla., April 4, 1862.

MAJOR: I have to report a most successful skirmish, which took place at Smyrna on [the] 23d ultimo-Capt. D. B. Bird, Third Regiment Florida Volunteers, C. S. [Army, commanding post, the skirmishers commanded by Captain Strain , Third Regiment, and Lieutenant Chambers, of Captain Owens’ independent troop of cavalry.

The enemy landed, or attempted to land, from gunboats Penguin and Henry Andrew in launches when our men fired into them. The enemy retreated to the opposite she of the river and abandoned their launches, live in number.

Captain Bird reports 7 killed, 3 prisoners, and about 30 wounded. Among the killed were Captain Mather, of the Henry Andrew, and Lieutenant Budd, of the Penguin. A runaway negro also was captured, who had piloted the enemy into the inlet to Smyrna, and who was to be hanged.


This skirmish I regard as quite a success; not a man on our side killed or wounded.

Smyrna is the place where arms, &c., for [the] Confederate States have been landed, and the enemy were seeking to capture them. The enemy are preparing to advance from Jacksonville to Baldwin to cut them off there.

I have the honor to subscribe myself, respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. S. DILWORTH, Colonel, Commanding.

Maj. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Pocotaligo, S. C.


MARCH 28, 1862.– Reconnaissance near the Mouth of Saint Augustine Creek, Ga.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Egbert L. Viele, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Maj. Oliver T. Beard, Forty-eighth New York Infantry.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Egbert L. Viele, U. S. Army.

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S. C., March 30, 1862.

GENERAL: I inclose a report from Major Beard. This is the third report on the iron-clad vessels. In case the vessels of the Navy are withdrawn, I can suggest no other plan than supplying their place with schooners armed with rifled guns and howitzers, and occupied by an infantry force-one in Mud River, one in Wright River, one at mouth of New River, and one in Cooper River. No batteries on land can possibly be erected to accomplish the results that would be obtained by these floating batteries.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EGBERT L. VIELE, Brigadier-General.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN Commanding Expeditionary Corps.


No. 2.

Report of Maj. Oliver T. Beard, Forty-eighth New York Infantry.

BATTERY HAMILTON, GA., March 28, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that I this day made a reconnaissance of the land about the mouth of Saint Augustine Creek. The best view was obtained from the summit of the upper Coast Survey station, on Elba Island. I send you a sketch of observations. The only rebel pickets about the mouth of Saint Augustine are stationed at the points indicated. In case of an attempt to cut them off their only chance of escape would be by swimming the bayou.


The rebels clearly visit Elba Island, coming low down. The following is an exact copy of a document found on the island: “The Glynn Guards have been in gunshot of you, you damned scoundrels, and examined your quarters. We invite you ashore; we have no navy.” I give it for what it is worth. The rebels have no fort erected at the head of Wilmington Narrows. A large black square object is to be seen in the river opposite Fort Jackson. It looks like a floating battery. Anchored in the stream, below the fort, there is a steamer with two large schooners one on either side. I think they are both armed, and intended to be towed into action in that shape, as the schooners would in a measure protect the machinery of the steamer.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

O. T. BEARD, Major, Commanding.

Capt. J. H. LIEBENAU, Assistant Adjutant-General.


MARCH 29, 1862.– Affair on Edisto Island, B. C.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Nathan G. Evans, C. S. Army, commanding Third Military District of South Carolina.
No. 2.–Col. P. F. Stevens, Holcombe Legion.
No. 3.–Maj. F. G. Palmer, Holcombe Legion.
No. 4.–Lieut. James Salvo, Washington Light Artillery.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Nathan G. Evans, C. S. Army, commanding Third Military District of South Carolina.


CAPTAIN: About two weeks since it was reported to me that the enemy had advanced from Edisto Island and had occupied Little Edisto Island, with the probable intention of effecting a crossing at the Edisto Ferry or at Pineberry. I sent a reconnoitering party, consisting of Henry Seabrook, Edward W. Seabrook, Joseph S. Whaley, Joseph Seabrook, and Dr. Hanahan, privates in the Marion Artillery, who willingly undertook to ascertain the position and strength of the enemy.

After three days’ work Edward Seabrook reported to me that the enemy had a grand guard of four companies stationed on the northern extremity of Edisto and Little Edisto Islands. This position of the enemy was also reported to me by Col. P. F. Stevens, commanding the Holcombe Legion, after a conference with whom I determined to attack the enemy, and directed Colonel Stevens to make the necessary arrangements and that the expedition would be under his immediate command. On Thursday morning, 27th instant, Colonel Stevens reported that the arrangements for crossing the river, &c., were ready.

On the morning of the 28th instant I gave Colonel Stevens the written {p.114} instructions (a copy of which is herewith transmitted, marked A). About dark the entire force-the infantry of the Holcombe Legion (343); cavalry, dismounted (75); the Enfield Battalion (230); and the reserve (four companies), Lieutenant-Colonel Moore’s battalion-crossed the Dawho River on a bridge of flats at Pineberry. The section of the Washington Artillery and cavalry detachment, mounted, crossed in a flat at Aiken’s Mill before sunset, and the force assembled at Governor Aiken’s winter residence on Jehossee Island.

After duly organizing his command, Colonel Stevens, leaving the four companies of Lieutenant-Colonel Moore’s battalion as a reserve at Aiken’s residence, marched his command to Edisto Island about 3 a.m.

On the morning of the 29th instant, crossing Watt’s Cut, he proceeded to a place known as the Old Dominion, where the first pickets of the enemy were met, who were immediately attacked, killing one and mortally wounding another (since dead).

Agreeably to my instructions, he divided his command into three columns, one with orders to charge the bridge over the Little Edisto River and capture the company stationed on Little Edisto Island, one in direction of Baynard’s, to prevent being cut off, as well as to prevent re-enforcements coming from the main body of the enemy, and another to attack the company at Mr. Whaley’s place. These dispositions were faithfully and gallantly executed by Colonel Stevens, who had admirably effected all his arrangements before the movement commenced. I also placed a reserve of four companies of Colonel Moore’s battalion at Pineberry, on the main-land, to guard the bridge of flats, as well as to be ready to support the attacking force if required.

About sunrise I crossed over the Edisto River and took my position on Jehossee Island, to be convenient to throw over more troops and to take command should the necessity occur. About 7 a.m. Colonel Stevens sent me a dispatch that he had progressed as far as Mr. Whaley’s place, and had driven the enemy to their artillery, and would await farther instructions.

Thinking the enemy were in too large a force to be met by his divided command, I immediately ordered him to effect his retreat, and sent forward four companies of the reserve to cover his crossing over Watt’s Cut. The retreat was conducted in good order, and the majority of his command had arrived at Pineberry by 9 a.m. On account of the non-arrival of the flats sent for his use, Major Palmer and his command were retarded, and did not arrive until near 11 a.m.

In closing my report I would call the attention of the general commanding to the dauntless conduct of Major Palmer and his command. Crossing the bridge over the Little Edisto River, in obedience to his instructions he burned the bridge in his rear and vigorously charged the enemy, determined to conquer or die in the defense of his country.

To Col. P. F. Stevens I am greatly indebted for the skill and gallantry with which he conducted the expedition, to which is due its entire success.

For individual instances of gallantry and devotion to our cause I beg leave to refer to the accompanying reports.

To my personal staff great credit is due. Capts. Ralph Elliott and W. Seabrook and Mr. Samuel Cary were engaged during the night in transmitting, under great difficulty, my orders. Asst. Surg. James Evans was on Jehossee Island, prepared to render every assistance to the wounded. The guides (Edward W. Seabrook, Henry Seabrook, Joseph Seabrook, Joseph S. Whaley, and Dr. Hanahan, of the Marion Artillery) {p.115} conducted the several columns and rendered valuable assistance by their thorough knowledge of the country.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. G. EVANS, Brigadier General, Commanding Third Military Dist., S. C.

Capt. J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Pocotaligo, S. C.

[Inclosure A.]


COLONEL: Proceed to-night to Edisto Island with the infantry force of your Legion, the Enfield Battalion, a section of the Washington Artillery, and a small detachment of cavalry, and attack the companies of the enemy said to be on Little Edisto Island at the Old Dominion, and also at the places of Messrs. Bailey and Whaley. You will attack these companies vigorously, charge the force on Little Edisto, destroying the bridge over the Little Edisto River after your passage, and drive the enemy off the island. You will place a reserve at Aiken’s Mill, with orders to join you at the shortest notice. Another reserve will be held to assist you at Pineberry. You will use every precaution not to be cut off. For this purpose send a strong picket in the direction of Baynard’s. Send also word to the pickets at Bear Island to inform you of the approach of any vessel coming up the South Edisto. Should you capture any prisoners, you will hurry them off to the reserve at Pineberry. Should you deem it practicable to pursue the enemy beyond Whaley’s, at the forks of the roads, you will immediately advise me at Pineberry, stating the condition and position of the enemy. Should you encounter a superior force in numbers too great to engage, you will effect your retreat in good order to Aiken’s Mill or to Pineberry, either way you should deem advisable and the most safe.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. G. EVANS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Col. P. F. STEVENS, Commanding Expedition.


No. 2.

Report of Col. P. F. Stevens, Holcombe Legion.


CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, pursuant to orders from Brig. Gen. N. G. Evans, commanding, I last night moved from Jehossee, about 3 a.m., on an expedition to Edisto Island, with the following force, viz: The Enfield Battalion, 230 strong, Maj. P. Nelson, commanding; a detachment of cavalry, Holcombe Legion, dismounted, 75 men; Companies B and F, Holcombe Legion, 81 men; Companies A, C, D, E, G, and H, or rather portions of each, 261 men, commanded by Majors Palmer and Garlington.

Major Nelson, throwing out skirmishers from Captain Blair’s company {p.116} (A) of his battalion, crossed Watt’s Cut first, supported by Lieutenant-Colonel Shingler, with whose command I was principally in position. Moving forward without opposition until near Old Dominion, the enemy’s picket there first challenged, when an interchange of shots took place between them and our advance. Moving on past Old Dominion, if I remember aright, a second interchange of shots took place between our advance and the enemy, when I discovered that the head of the column had taken the wrong direction for Bailey’s house, which I had determined to attack with this portion of my force.

After the delay thus caused, our guide having placed the advance on the correct road, the march was continued to Bailey’s without interruption. On reaching that place it was found deserted. The alarm of the picket and the delay incident to missing the way probably gave the enemy time to escape, as one of the prisoners, subsequently taken, stated that there was a company at that point and two companies at Baynard’s. Moving on from Bailey’s to Whaley’s, on reaching the main road we were fired on from the woods on the road-side, but fortunately without any loss on our side. The enemy retiring from the woods, we moved on until near Whaley’s, when, several discharges of artillery being heard at that point and the roll of the enemy’s drums being also heard from two points beyond Whaley’s, I deemed it prudent to retire, as my retreat over the long causeway would have been very disastrous in the face of artillery.

Returning to the cut, we found that at the first fire our skirmishers had killed one of the pickets and wounded a second, We there found four muskets. Bringing the wounded and the dead man to Jehossee, I buried the latter and dispatched the wounded man to Pineberry. I understand that he has since died.

The second part of the command, under the guidance of Mr. Seabrook, and the command of Majors Palmer and Garlington, taking a by-path, moved rapidly to Little Edisto Bridge, receiving the fire of pickets and moving steadily forward. At the bridge the enemy offered considerable resistance, but charging in the face of the fire the bridge was carried. Leaving a detachment to destroy the bridge, the main party pushed on for the house of Hanahan. There was considerable resistance on the part of the enemy, but being finally broken, our party captured 19, as follows: First Lieut. John McElhaney, Corporal Samuel Moorhead, and Noah Fisher Samuel Campbell, James Steffey, Andy Farren, John L. Taylor, Abr. D. Coy, Nicholas Cameron, Westley Cameron, Robert Crytzer, and L. L. Thompson, all members of Company F, Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiment; Isaac Ream, W. E. Garlinger, John Mars, John Werning, Thomas Lockard, Christian Whitaker, and a sergeant* (name unknown, sent to hospital wounded), of Company H, same regiment. One man was found killed on the field, said to be a non-commissioned officer.

Of our entire command, one private in the cavalry, Kinsler Davis, of Company B, was slightly wounded in the leg; Private Henderson, of Company I, was shot through the arm, and Private Chapman, of Company C, was slightly wounded in the head.

Crossing his men and prisoners in a small boat found at Hanahan’s, Major Palmer got off safely to Jehossee. The flats sent by Lieutenant Bates did not arrive until late, thereby greatly retarding the retreat of Major Palmer.

I cannot too highly commend the gallantry and daring of Majors Palmer and Garlington, crossing to an island and shutting themselves {p.117} thereon, determined to conquer the enemy, no matter what his force. The duty assigned them was most handsomely performed.


P. F. STEVENS, Colonel Holcombe Legion.

Capt. A. L. EVANS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-I omitted to mention that there was a strong reserve posted partly at Pineberry and partly at Aiken’s Mill, on Jehossee. This reserve consisted of Lieutenant-Colonel Moore’s second battalion South Carolina volunteers. I will send Major Palmer’s report. Moore’s battalion had four companies at Pineberry and four companies at Aiken’s Mill.


* Silas Gollipher.


HEADQUARTERS HOLCOMBE LEGION, Camp Blair, S. C., March 31, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the following articles captured in the late expedition to Edisto: 9 muskets and 7 bayonets; 2 rifled muskets and 2 bayonets; 17 sets of accouterments; 397 cartridges and caps; 9 nipple-wrenches; 12 wipers; 1 sword of First Lieutenant McElhaney, now in possession of Capt. W. J. Smith, to whom it was surrendered; 1 sword, now in possession of Captain Crawley.


P. F. STEVENS Colonel Holcombe Legion.

Capt. A. L. EVANS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-I forward also one letter mentioning the force on the island and the descriptive list of Company F, Fifty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.


No. 3.

Report of Maj. F. G. Palmer, Holcombe Legion.

HEADQUARTERS HOLCOMBE LEGION, Camp Blair, S. C., March 30, 1862.

COLONEL: In pursuance of your orders, as soon as Colonel Shingler’s command crossed Watt’s Cut, I moved my command, composed of the following companies, Captains Smith’s, Crawley’s, Bomar’s, Maffett’s, Heller’s, Roebuck’s, and Bishop’s, the two latter under the command of Lieutenants Wright and Bishop, numbering in all 260 men, across the cut, and moved rapidly forward until I arrived near the Old Dominion house, when, under the guidance of Edward and Henry Seabrook, I filed to the left and rear of the house, throwing out Captain Smith’s company, of 22 men, as an advance, and one platoon of Captain Crawley’s company to support it. Striking a direct course through the field for the bridge across Little Edisto River by a path known only to the Seabrooks, we moved forward as rapidly as the darkness of the night and the nature of the ground would admit. Arriving at the bridge, we drove in the enemy’s pickets which I found stationed there, and having crossed over I left our chaplain, the Rev. Mr. McCollough, and Mr. Irwin, who had Volunteered to me for the expedition, with Captain Bishop’s company, under the command of Lieutenant Bishop, to destroy it, and ordered Lieutenant Wright to remain there as a support until the destruction of {p.118} the bridge had sufficiently progressed to cause any attempt at throwing re-enforcements across both difficult and hazardous; then he (Lieutenant Wright) was to rejoin me with his command. It was my intention, after crossing the bridge, to divide my force, and to place one portion under the command of Major Garlington, which would proceed up the main road to Hanahan’s house, the headquarters of the enemy, on Little Edisto, and I, with the other portion, would move along a by-path across the field by a more direct route; but after a consultation with Major Garlington we deemed it prudent not to divide our force, as it was necessary to leave two companies at the bridge, in consequence of the combustible material which had been prepared for setting it on fire failing to reach us in time.

Striking a direct course for Hanahan’s house we pushed forward at the double-quick, but had not proceeded more than a quarter of a mile before we succeeded in capturing 3 prisoners, who, upon being questioned, asserted that they had one regiment upon Little Edisto Island. Having Captains Smith’s and Crawley’s companies in front, and not knowing where the enemy was stationed, I ordered Captain Bomar to throw his company to the right and make a reconnaissance in that direction. He had not proceeded far when the enemy opened fire upon him from behind a ditch and bank about 100 or 150 yards off, which fire was promptly returned by his company. I immediately ordered Captains Maffett and Heller to the support of Captain Bomar. Our men, succeeding in getting under cover of the bank, opened a sharp fire upon the place from which the fire of the enemy proceeded, and soon drove them from their position; but not being able to see, on account of the density of the fog, and supposing their main force at the house when they retired, I took it for granted they had fallen back to that position, and in the mean time Captains Smith and Crawley came up with 14 other prisoners, which they had captured.

I then ordered Major Garlington, with Captains Maffett’s and Heller’s companies, to attack the house, and the remainder of the force to support the attack. With a yell and at the double-quick they charged the house, but to their astonishment found only two or three of the enemy, who fled at their approach and escaped under cover of a dense fog.

The forces left for the destruction of the bridge, having accomplished their object, rejoined me shortly after I had taken possession of the house, but too late to take part in the skirmish.

Having executed your orders in reference to the attack upon the enemy, and not seeing the flats which were ordered to be sent to me there, I immediately commenced crossing the prisoners and troops in a small boat, capable of carrying only 5 persons, which I found at the landing. I was therefore obliged to land on the opposite shore, from which place we had to march through a marsh about three-fourths of a mile in length.

Not being able to make an examination of the ground on which the skirmish took place, I am unable to give an exact account of the loss the enemy sustained. I know only of 1 being killed, 1 wounded and captured, together with 18 privates and non-commissioned officers and 1 first lieutenant, all of the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiment; making a total of 21 in killed, wounded, and captured. We also took some arms, accouterments, and baggage, but not being able to bring them off, most of the things were destroyed. I was obliged, on account of the sickness of one of the prisoners, to leave him.

I have the satisfaction of reporting that my command sustained no loss, and only 2 men slightly wounded, 1 belonging to Captain Bomar’s and the other to Captain Bishop’s companies.


I take pleasure in stating that the officers and men under my command behaved in a prompt, gallant, and meritorious manner, and upon which the success of the expedition depended.

Before closing my report I must call your attention particularly to the gallant part taken by Maj. A. C. Garlington, not only in rendering me invaluable assistance by his counsels, but by being prominently engaged in extending and attending to the prompt execution of every order I gave; also to the active part taken by Mr. McCollough and Mr. Irwin in the faithful discharge of the duty I assigned them, upon which the safety of the command depended.

I have the honor to remain, yours, respectfully,

F. G. PALMER, Major Holcombe Legion.

Col. P. F. STEVENS, Commanding Expedition to Edisto, S. C.

P. S.-The Seabrooks not only rendered me invaluable assistance as guides, but took an active part in the skirmish we had with the enemy.



CAPTAIN: I have the honor to forward the above report of Major Palmer. In explanation of one or two points I would state that among the 21 killed, wounded, and captured, as mentioned by Major Palmer, there was 1 prisoner sick in the house, and he was the one left.

I would also call especial attention to the gallantry of Messrs. McCollough and Irwin at the bridge. While they were engaged in destroying the bridge a portion of the enemy, escaping from Major Palmer’s party, attempted to cross the bridge, but were driven back, Messrs. McCollough and Irwin encouraging and directing Company I during the skirmish. While holding the bridge two officers approached from Whaley’s side (Big Edisto). They were fired on by a party under charge of Mr. Irwin, and one of the officers was seen to fall and struggle upon the side of the road. He was not seen to rise again. The other fled. Mr. Irwin is under the impression the officer was of high rank, as indicated by his dress, and his impression is that he was killed.

I forward the report of Lieutenant Salvo, commanding detachment of Washington Artillery.


P. F. STEVENS, Colonel Holcombe Legion.

Capt. A. L. EVANS, Assistant Adjutant-General.


No. 4.

Report of Lieut. James Salvo, Washington Light Artillery.

CAMP SALVO, S. C., March 30, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, having received orders from Colonel Stevens at 1 p.m. Friday, 28th instant, to cross with my section of the Washington Light Artillery to Jehossee Island, in compliance therewith I left this camp at 1.30 p.m. with the two pieces, one 6-pounder gun and one 12-pounder howitzer, for Grimball’s Landing, which we reached at 2.30 p.m.


There I waited till sunset with the view of precluding the enemy from observing our movements, and also because the tide was more favorable at that hour for effecting a landing on the other side. I then passed my command over in three flats to Governor Aiken’s Landing, on Jehossee Island.

Here, moving a short distance along the road, I halted till 2.30 a.m. of Saturday, the 29th instant, and then taking a negro guide moved down to the Little Edisto River and took up a position directly opposite to Hanahan’s house, on Little Edisto Island. In this position I waited for the burning of the bridge which joined Big Edisto to Little Edisto, the signal for me to take my part in the engagement, which the rattle of musketry and the shouts of the combatants soon gave me to understand had now commenced.

Darkness seemed to linger later than usual and I was afraid that the contest would be decided before it became light enough for me to render any assistance with the artillery. And when at last the daylight shone I found that a dense fog prevailed and entirely intercepted my view of the opposite shore, so that even the tops of the trees on Little Edisto were invisible. This unfortunate condition of affairs lasted until the engagement was over, effectually cutting me off from taking any share in it, and preventing my seeing even the signal for me to open fire.

After the firing had all ceased, having previously heard it in the direction of Hanahan’s house, besides much shouting there, too, showing that our men had got there, I came to the conclusion that the fight at this point had been decided in our favor, and so, according to previous instructions, I sent the howitzer with orders to report to Colonel Shingler at Watt’s Cut; but before it got there our troops had all recrossed to Jehossee Island, and being met by Colonel Shingler on the road, he ordered it to cross over to the main.

Shortly afterwards I received orders to the same effect, and in compliance therewith returned to Aiken’s Landing with the other piece, and embarking the section, reached Grimball’s Landing at 11.30 a.m. and this camp at 2 p.m., the pieces, horses, and men unscathed and in good condition.

I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,

JAMES SALVO, Lieut., Commanding First Section Washington Light Artillery.

Adjutant DU BOSE, Holcombe Legion.


MARCH 30-31,1862.– Affairs on Wilmington and Whitemarsh Islands, Ga.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Col. Rudolph Rosa, Forty-sixth New York Infantry.
No. 3.–Brig Gen. Alexander R. Lawton, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore, U. S. Army.


GENERAL: I send herewith a report from Colonel Rosa, commanding the Forty-sixth New York, from which regiment the hulk in Lazaretto {p.121} Creek receives its crew. One of his guard boats and 17 men, sent out daily from the hulk, have been taken by the enemy. They were attacked apparently by a large scouting party. I have always recommended that position to be held by a gunboat. At the time the very poor substitute of an old hulk was resorted to no gunboat was available, I suppose. The position is by no means secure from attack in small boats, of which the enemy is known to have a good supply in Saint Augustine Creek and adjacent waters. The hulk when first sent there was intended principally to prevent small steamers communicating with Fort Pulaski through Turner’s Creek, and not to guard McQueen’s Island Marsh against the approach of foot passengers, on which extra and extended duty the boat and guard were lost. I urgently recommend that the services of a gunboat in Wilmington Narrows be at once secured. I do not consider the property (guns and ammunition) on Goat’s Point safe from a foray without this precaution.

I recommended some days ago to General Viele and also to General Sherman to picket McQueen’s Island from Bird Island battery, to which place it is convenient. I could put some siege and field guns in position on Goat’s Point (screened from view from the fort) to cover Lazaretto Creek and send out every evening a boat guard from that point up the creek to remain out twenty-four hours. A small steamer like the Mayflower or Honduras is wanted here very much. If no gunboats can be had the steamer is indispensably necessary, and could be armed. This would help matters some by placing her near the hulk. I have made repeated applications for a steamer, but thus far without success. I sent this afternoon to Warsaw Sound, requesting that a gunboat from that place be sent up Wilmington Narrows until advices can be had from division headquarters. The messenger has not returned. Should the hulk be overpowered our batteries against Fort Pulaski would be exposed to a very annoying fire from her. The place should be held by us securely.

I trust these matters will command your immediate attention.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE, Brigadier-General, Commanding Post.

Brig. Gen. H. W. BENHAM, Comdg. First Division, Dept. of the South, Beaufort, S. C.


No. 2.

Report of Col. Rudolph Rosa, Forty-sixth New York Infantry.

SHIP MONTEZUMA, Gibson Cut, April 1, 1862.

GENERAL: In accordance with your orders, I arrived here on Saturday evening with a detachment of 30 men and 2 commissioned officers from the Forty-sixth Regiment. On Sunday I made a reconnaissance on Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands, pushing in both cases out to Thunderbolt and Saint Augustine Creeks, opposite to Thunderbolt and Carston Bluff batteries. Nothing remarkable occurred, excepting that the small stern-wheel steamer did show herself near to our boats left at Gibson’s, in the Oatland Creek, which is not spiked, and turned back after receiving three of our musket shots from a point of land. For Particulars apply preliminary to Lieutenant Metzner.

On returning, I learned that, by an unaccountable hallucination of {p.122} the lieutenant left in command of the Montezuma, the German Dannenfelser and 2 men had been allowed to visit Wilmington Island, and were missing. On Monday morning it was ascertained by a patrol that they had been on Dannenfelser’s farm, and left there at 12 o’clock, Sunday, for the Montezuma. The usual boat guard was then left opposite Hunter’s farm, and a relief was sent for them towards the afternoon. Guard boat and relief are now missing unaccountably, together with 2 commissioned officers and 35 enlisted men. I shall stay here until further news. I just sent Captain Hinckel to the three gunboats in Warsaw Sound for the purpose of inducing one of them to make a trip up to Gibson’s farm and the spikes across Wilmington Narrows.

I most respectfully propose to send 50 men, with 2 commissioned officers and two days’ rations, to-night for another reconnaissance in Wilmington, and for ascertaining the fate of the guard boat. If the Forty-sixth Regiment is to give the men, then I most respectfully suggest Captains Schwickart and Paulsackel, with 25 men, from their respective companies each. By the sayings of Dannenfelser and of the negro whom I sent along great rewards ($12,000) have been offered for removing from the fort the garrison. Perhaps an organized great patrol of row-boats lays in Turner’s Creek, and it would be desirable to have a steamboat there doing duty during the last period of the siege. Our boats are transports, but not swift enough for military service, and the distance is too great.

By reconnaissances I have got the conviction that the intercourse between the fort and Savannah can be stopped only by taking a position on the water between Turner’s and Scriven’s, near to the spikes. All the other terrain is a net-work of creeks, passable for small boats, and of the most complicated features. To have a picket on the shore of the south channel, relieved from this place, I found entirely unfeasible, useless, and dangerous. Perhaps from Bird’s Point it would be more suitable.

Please find inclosed some papers. The one referring to Dannenfelser shows all traces of genuineness, and talks greatly for the presumption that he is no traitor.

If one or two spacious and easy-moving row-boats could be sent-if so, at once. Send also a dozen of good oars.

Yours, most respectfully,

RUDOLPH ROSA, Colonel Forty-Sixth Regiment.

Brigadier-General GILLMORE, Commanding Post, Tybee Island, Ga.


Since I received the above, Colonel Rosa sends word that the 2 officers and 17 of the men (one boat party) have returned to the hulk. The other boat party was fired into and taken.



No. 3.

Report of Brig. Gen. Alexander R. Lawton, C. S. Army.


CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on two successive nights, March 30 and 31, scouting parties were sent to Whitemarsh and Wilmington {p.123} Islands from the Thirteenth Georgia Regiment, Colonel Douglass, which were entirely successful, killing 1 and capturing 18 of the enemy, 2 of whom have since died. They also captured a barge with a 6-pounder. We had but 1 man wounded, and it is feared that he will not recover. The scouting party was under the immediate command of Captain Crawford, Thirteenth Georgia Regiment, who conducted it with skill and gallantry, and all the officers and men under his command exhibited the most commendable courage and enterprise.

I regret further to report that on the occasion of a subsequent expedition to Wilmington Island, for the purpose of ascertaining the position of the enemy and attacking him if there, Assistant Surgeon Beasly was shot through the leg by a mistake of our own men and had both bones broken. There is reason to hope, however, that he will recover with as little injury as possible.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. R. LAWTON, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General.


APRIL 5, 1862.– Occupation of Edisto Island, S. C., by Union forces.

Report of Col. Enoch Q. Fellows, Third New Hampshire Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, North Edisto, S. C., April 5, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that the reconnaissance contemplated last evening for to-day has been made and proved very satisfactory. I have taken possession of the entire island, and have not as yet seen the enemy. The Third Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers and two pieces of artillery are stationed at the farther part of the island. I think our position is secure, and do not apprehend any danger. The Third New Hampshire Volunteers will be re-enforced immediately by the Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers being held in reserve. Two gunboats of light draught would be of great value to us here as a means of defense. The Crusader draws too much water to be able to run around in the creeks. Gunboats of light draught will be able to pass around the island, therefore keeping the enemy at bay, and securing all necessary positions. The steamer Boston arrived at this post this p.m. The sloop of war Dale is still in Saint Helena Sound. I am not fully prepared to give you a full detail of the different positions now held by our forces, but will make a full report soon. Colonel Moore has permission to visit Hilton Head, leaving Major Kane in command, who is fully competent. The Ben DeFord returns to Hilton Head early to-morrow. A line of communication is kept up with the outposts by means of the cavalry. I will make a further report to-morrow.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. Q. FELLOWS, Colonel Third New Hampshire Volunteers, Commanding Post.


APRIL 9, 1862.– Evacuation of Jacksonville, Fla. by Union forces.


No. 1.–Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army, with orders, &c.
No. 2.–Secretary of War to the House of Representatives.
No. 3.–Col. W. S. Dilworth, commanding District of Middle and East Florida.

No. 1.

Report of Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army, with orders, &c.

HEADQUARTERS, STEAMER COSMOPOLITAN, Port Royal Harbor, S. C., April 13, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding the Northern District, that, in obedience to the instructions contained in his letter of the 2d instant [following], I have withdrawn the troops from Jacksonville, taking with me all the stores and other public property, and likewise removing property belonging to the enemy, consisting in part of two 8-inch columbiads, with chassis and carriages, and three field pieces, with their carriages. Some few captured articles, for which we had not room on the transports, were destroyed.

General Benham’s letter was received by me on the 6th instant. On the 7th, preparations for withdrawing were begun by embarking the public stores, and on the 8th, at 12 m., the troops were marched on board, and the embarkation was completed by about 2 p.m. the same day. Owing to the heavy wind which had sprung up during the morning, it was impossible to get all the transports clear of the wharf until near sunset-too late to move safely very far down the intricate channel of the river that night-and it was therefore determined by the senior naval officer and myself to lay off the town until morning. This I was more willing to do as it took from our movement all appearance of a hasty retreat.

At 6 a.m. on the 9th the transports, convoyed by the gunboats Ottawa, Capt. Thomas H. Stevens, senior naval officer; Pembina, Capt. J. P. Bankhead, and the Ellen, Captain Budd, proceeded down the river, reaching Mayport, near the mouth, at about 2 p.m., but too late for passing over the bar, on account of the state of the tide. Here I took on board one company of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, which had been stationed at the batteries abandoned by the enemy, and as our means of transportation did not permit of our carrying off the guns, they were destroyed and their carriages and platforms burned, as were also the small buildings thereat.

At 3 p.m. on the 10th, the tide serving, the transports passed the bar, the steamer Belvidere proceeding to Saint Augustine and the Cosmopolitan to Fernandina. Stormy weather detained the steamers at Fernandina until this morning, which place we left at about 7.30 o’clock.

The troops in garrison at Jacksonville were the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment, six companies of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, and two sections of Hamilton’s battery, under the command of Captain Ransom. Under the general instructions of General Benham, I have disposed the force as follows: The Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment and Ransom’s battery to Hilton Head, four companies of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, including the one at Saint John’s {p.125} Bar, to Saint Augustine, and the remaining three companies of the regiment to Fernandina. The garrison at Saint Augustine now consists of seven companies of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, and that at Fernandina of the Ninth Maine Regiment, three companies of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, and one company of the volunteer engineers. The necessity for the withdrawal of the troops from Jacksonville is to be regretted. A considerable number of the inhabitants had avowed themselves publicly in favor of our cause, and, encouraged by the proclamation issued by General Sherman to the people of East Florida, had been active in their efforts to organize a State and city government. These persons could not remain behind with their families with any safety, the enemy having threatened the lives of all who should show us the least favor or even remain in town after our occupation, and I accordingly brought off all such as desired to go, taking also such of their property as the limited transportation at my command permitted. Many of these people have abandoned all, and are without other means than the worthless paper currency in circulation before our arrival. Their condition not only appeals strongly to our sympathies, but they have a claim to present assistance from the Government to which they profess to be attached, and which owes them aid and protection. I could see no way in which these people could be subsisted at Fernandina, where most of them were landed, except by issues from Government supplies, for the purchase of which many of them, as before remarked, have no money. I have accordingly instructed the commander of the post to cause provisions to be issued to such as need them, not exceeding one ration per day to each person of twelve years old and over, and a half ration to those under that age, the provisions thus issued to be paid for by those having money. This arrangement will, I hope, be continued so long as the necessity for it exists.

To Capt. Thomas H. Stevens, senior naval officer in the Saint John’s River, I desire to express my obligations for his efficient aid in the embarkation of the troops and in convoying them down the Saint John’s River, and to Capt. J. P. Bankhead, U. S. Navy, commanding gunboat Pembina, for his valuable assistance in hauling the transports off the wharf at Jacksonville after the troops were on board, which, in consequence of the wind, could not have been accomplished without assistance. I would also acknowledge the obligations I am under to Captain Stevens for his cordial co-operation during the time the troops were in occupation of Jacksonville.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding Third Brigade.

Capt. A. B. ELY, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. N. Dist., Hilton Read, S. C.


HEADQUARTERS, Jacksonville, Fla., March 31, 1862.

Capt. Louis H. PELOUZE, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. E. C., Hilton Head, B. C.:

CAPTAIN: Reports from various sources more or less reliable have been received within the past few days of an intention upon the part of the enemy to make an attack upon this place, and on Saturday, the 29th, it was reported by persons coming into the lines that his forces were at Three Mile Creek and prepared to attack the town. To ascertain the truth of the report I ordered five companies of the Fourth New {p.126} Hampshire Regiment to make a reconnaissance of that vicinity, and in order to see that nothing which should be done should be omitted I accompanied the party myself. We examined the country as far as the creek and pushed the advance some three-quarters of a mile beyond without seeing anything of the enemy, but we learned that a party (horse and foot, numbering 100 perhaps in all) had been in that vicinity earlier in the day and had turned off to their right.

Yesterday two companies sent out from the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment scoured the country up to and somewhat beyond the run without meeting any signs of the enemy.

To-day reports of a concentration of troops in our front have come in from various persons. At first I was inclined to view them as repetitions of previous rumors, but I have since received intelligence in which I place considerable confidence to this effect:

1st. That the order for the evacuation of East Florida and the transfer of the troops to other localities has been rescinded, and that Governor Milton has been placed in command of all the rebel forces within the State.

2d. That troops were being assembled at the Six Mile Run, or Creek, and that They were to move to the Three Mile Run and take up position at once.

3d. That the forces just alluded to are as follows:

The 3d Florida Regiment700
The 4th Florida Regiment1,000
The 5th Davis Cavalry650
The 1st Florida Battalion350

4th. That orders had been issued to return to this section of the State the First and Second Florida Regiments, relieving them by Georgia troops. Where these regiments are I am unable to ascertain with certainty; some say at Pensacola, others in Virginia.

I shall, of course, hold this point to the last against any force that may be brought by the enemy, and am entirely confident, with the aid of the gunboats now here, of making a successful defense; yet I must impress upon the general commanding our isolated condition and the disparity between the forces numerically which the enemy can bring against us, as detailed above, and the troops under my command at this point. I would therefore most urgently apply to the general commanding for an increase to the force now at this post of at least two regiments. Should this re-enforcement be sent, it should be furnished with the necessary subsistence. The two sections of the light battery under Captain Ransom are already here.

We are getting up a work on the approaches to mount three or four guns, but it cannot be in condition for defense for several days.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS, Jacksonville, Fla., April 2, 1862.

Capt. Louis H. PELOUZE, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Genl., Hdqrs. E. C., Hilton Head, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: Since the date of my last report I have used every effort to ascertain, through individuals coming in, the strength and position {p.127} of the enemy’s forces in this vicinity, and after sifting and comparing the information obtained I am pretty well satisfied that the estimate then presented is not far from the truth. I would, however, state that instead of First and Second Regiments of Florida troops being returned to the State, two Georgia regiments are to be sent here in their place, and that General Anderson, who has been at Pensacola under Bragg, is to command the rebel forces in East Florida. I trust the commanding general may be able to send the re-enforcements I asked for, and if a few cavalry could be added it would leave nothing to be wished for.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Jacksonville, Fla., April 2, 1862.

Col. W. G. M. DAVIS, Commanding Provisional Forces of East Florida, Camp Langford, East Florida:

COLONEL: After a careful consideration of the propositions presented in your communication of the 1st instant, brought in by Mr. Oscar Hart, under a flag of truce, I have to make the following reply:

1st. That permission to Mr. Hart to have interviews with any citizens of Jacksonville in regard to their leaving the city cannot be granted, nor can I permit him to collect transportation for the conveyance of persons desirous to leave our lines. The propriety of this decision you, as a military man, will readily recognize.

2d. That the policy announced in my note of yesterday, of permitting the removal from Jacksonville of such persons as may desire to leave our lines to join their families or to reside in the interior of the State, will be continued, and that on application to these headquarters such permission will be granted as will carry them safely beyond our lines. We do not profess to wage war upon women and children, nor upon quiet, unoffending citizens; but, on the contrary, have done all in our power for the protection of their persons and property.

In announcing this policy I have to express the hope that it will be reciprocated by yourself in permitting the free return to Jacksonville of such persons as may desire to come back to their homes. I desire further to say that the forces under my command are instructed to carry on all operations according to the rules of civilized warfare, and that any outrages upon unarmed and unoffending citizens will be punished to the full extent of the law.

From the representation made to me of your character as an officer and a gentleman I am sure you will be governed by a similar spirit.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 2, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HORATIO G. WRIGHT, Commanding U. S. Forces, Jacksonville, Fla.:

SIR: In view of the fact of the already too-extended line of operations of our forces in this district, the major-general commanding the {p.128} department directs that you make preparations for the early withdrawal of your forces from Jacksonville, Fla., the exact time and manner of which is left to your own judgment, the proper precautions being taken to avoid the appearance of a retreat; to bring off all your stores and supplies and have the withdrawal completed within some two or three days after the receipt of this order. Your attention will then be directed to the proper re-enforcing of Saint Augustine and Fernandina. At the former place it is believed that at least 600 men may be necessary, though perhaps you may deem it expedient that 700 or 800 should be left, or, say, a small regiment, if you have one, under a judicious and reliable commander.

At Fernandina it is believed that 900 to 1,000 men will be sufficient, but 1,200 may, in your judgment, be necessary; which force you will select and place under a proper commander. Return yourself to this place with the balance of your command, unless you should feel that it was of great importance to the safety of Fernandina that you should continue for the present at that post. It being the intention to hold permanently the posts of Saint Augustine and Fernandina, you will distribute your supplies of provisions, ammunition, &c., between these two posts, leaving the supply for the longer time at Saint Augustine, if practicable, to the extent of some 50 or 60 clays for the provisions, your troops, if possible, being so shipped at Jacksonville as to avoid any necessity for a transfer before reaching that place. It is the desire of the commander of the department that you should notify the people of Jacksonville on leaving that place that it is his intention to have all the aid and protection afforded to the loyal inhabitants of the interior of Florida that is practicable from the posts above named for the security of their persons and property and for the punishment of outrages, and that you should notify all persons in that vicinity that we hold them responsible for the preservation of order and quiet, being fully determined that any outrages upon persons or property contrary to the laws and usages of war shall be visited fourfold upon the inhabitants of disloyal or doubtful character nearest the scene of any such wrongs when the actual and known perpetrators cannot be discovered. As Commodore DuPont promises that his gunboats shall remain in the Saint John’s River, it is very possible that this force may be sufficient, with proper efforts on the part of the inhabitants themselves, for the security of that city.

Lieutenant Tardy is directed to go in the boat which carries this, for the purpose of accompanying the re-enforcements to Saint Augustine, that he may there put such repairs as can be conveniently added for its defense, change traverse circles from the water battery to the interior work, &c.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS, Jacksonville, Fla., April 3, 1862.

Capt. Louis H. PELOUZE, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. Ex. Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.:

CAPTAIN: If East Florida is to be permanently occupied by United States forces, it is desirable and, indeed, necessary that certain civil offices should be promptly filled. Questions are constantly arising which should not be left to the decision of the military commander, as they belong to a civil and not a military jurisdiction, and require a {p.129} knowledge of law which officers commanding troops are not presumed to possess. I would therefore suggest that the Government be recommended to appoint a district judge and marshal, to reside at Jacksonville, to take cognizance of all cases arising under the civil Federal jurisdiction; and as a convenience to the inhabitants of the place and the United States troops in the vicinity, I would suggest the propriety of the appointment of a postmaster for Jacksonville, for Fernandina, and for Saint Augustine, all of which places are in possession of our land and naval forces. I presume that the necessity for the establishment of a proper civil authority by the Federal Government is as fully appreciated by the commander of the naval forces as by myself; indeed, I understand from him that he will address a communication to the flag-officer upon that subject.

It gives me pleasure to state what is only an act of justice to Captain Stevens of the Ottawa, commanding the naval forces in the Saint John’s, that he has rendered every aid in his power to my command, and that in our counsels and our acts there has been an entire harmony of sentiment.

Some of the citizens of the vicinity, whom I believe to be loyal to the Union, have already brought or desire soon to bring in cotton and other products of their plantations and ship them to the North for sale. The orders so far received do not seem to be applicable to such cases, and I have the honor to request specific instructions in the matter.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.



HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, Jacksonville, Fla., April 7, 1862.

In accordance with orders issued by the general commanding the Department of the South, the troops will be withdrawn from this place, and I am directed by him to notify the people of Jacksonville that it is his intention to have all the aid and protection afforded to the loyal inhabitants of the interior of Florida that is practicable for the security of their persons and property and for the punishment of outrages, and that he holds all persons in that vicinity responsible for the preservation of order and quiet, being fully determined that any outrages upon persons or property contrary to the laws and usages of war shall be visited fourfold upon the inhabitants of disloyal or doubtful character nearest the scene of any such wrongs, when the actual and known perpetrators cannot be discovered. The undersigned trusts that, inasmuch as the unoffending citizens of this place have been treated with the utmost forbearance by our forces, it will not be necessary to carry out the intention expressed in the last clause of the above notice.

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, Jacksonville, Fla., April 8, 1862.

Lieut. Col. Louis BELL, Comdg. Fourth N. H. Regiment, Saint Augustine, Fla.:

COLONEL: The major-general commanding the department having directed the abandonment of Jacksonville as a military post and the re-enforcement of the garrison at Saint Augustine, I send by the Belvidere {p.130} four companies of your regiment and the regimental quartermaster to report to you. There will also be delivered at the same time subsistence and forage for about sixty days and 60,000 rounds of cartridges (caliber .69), for all of which Quartermaster Kelly has receipted. The remaining three companies of your regiment, under Major Drew, will go to Fernandina, to re-enforce the garrison at that point. The post at the mouth of the Saint John’s, at which Captain Sleeper, Fourth New Hampshire Volunteers, with his company, is now stationed, will also be abandoned. What the arrangements in regard to commands and brigades will be I am unable to say at present. Until further instructions are received you will therefore consider yourself as the commander of the post at Saint Augustine, and make your reports to the headquarters of General Benham, commanding the Northern District. Captain Ransom’s battery, likewise on the Belvidere, is to proceed to Hilton Head on that vessel without delay. Please afford the steamer all dispatch in unloading. I shall advise that the Belvidere or some other light-draught steamer be sent back to ply between Fernandina and Saint Augustine. I go to Hilton Head with the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, Fernandina, Fla., April 10, 1862.

Lieut. Col. H. BISBEE, Jr., Ninth Maine Regiment, Commanding Post, Fernandina, Fla.:

COLONEL: Three companies of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, now on board the Cosmopolitan, are to be added to the garrison of your post, and I have instructed their commander, Maj. J. D. Drew, to report to you. As it is desirable that companies of the same regiment be kept together so far as possible, you will relieve those of the Ninth Maine, now at Fort Clinch, by these three companies of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment. In withdrawing the forces from Jacksonville it was necessary for the security of such of the inhabitants as had given free exhibition to their Union sentiments to remove also, and I have brought them with me, with such of their effects as our means of transportation permitted. To these people you will assign such of the vacant houses in Fernandina as may be needed for their temporary homes, and, as many of these people have lost their all and will not have the means of purchasing provisions, you are authorized to furnish them from the Government supplies at the post to the extent necessary, not exceeding one ration to each person of twelve years old and over and a half ration to those under that age. Such persons among them as have the means of paying for their subsistence must of course do so. Provisions supplied under this authority must be regularly issued, and you should appoint an officer to superintend the same, if necessary, and to make the proper returns therefor.

I shall proceed to Hilton Head with the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment, and as I am not sure what arrangements will be adopted in regard to commands, brigades, &c., you will make your reports and returns, till further orders, to the headquarters of the Northern District, Requisitions for supplies will be made to the same headquarters.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General, Commanding.



No. 2.

Report of the Secretary of War to the House of Representatives.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., April 28, 1862.

SIR: In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives, passed on the 24th instant, directing the Secretary of War to communicate to the House all the facts and circumstances within his knowledge in regard to the late evacuation of Jacksonville, Fla., by the troops of the United States, I have the honor respectfully to state that, conceiving it to be the province of the President to direct this Department what facts in relation to military operations shall be communicated, he instructs me to say that Jacksonville was evacuated by the orders of the commanding general of that department for reasons which it is not deemed compatible with the public interest at present to disclose.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

Hon. GALUSHA A. GROW, Speaker of the House of Representatives.


No. 3.

Report of Col. W. S. Dilworth, commanding District of Middle and East Florida.

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF EAST AND MIDDLE FLORIDA, Tallahassee, Fla., April 15, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report to the commanding general the evacuation of Jacksonville by the enemy, which was done on the 9th instant.

When the enemy first occupied Jacksonville, and while all the Florida troops were retreating in confusion and disorder, I, as colonel of the Third Regiment Florida Volunteers, ordered a part of my regiment to advance in the direction of Jacksonville, and took a position within 10 miles of the city, with only 250 effective men. Soon I had eight companies of my regiment with me. After making a thorough reconnaissance of the city, I became convinced that I could not attack the city without heavy loss and could be driven out by the enemy’s gun boats. I then determined to commence a system of annoyances, by attacking their pickets, foraging parties, &c. I made a successful attack on the picket near the city of Jacksonville, killing 4 and taking 3 prisoners, when I was ordered to take command of the district. Colonel Davis was then ordered to the command of the forces near Jacksonville, and has most successfully carried on the system which I commenced, and which has resulted in their evacuation of the place. Colonel Davis I regard as an efficient officer, and commend him to your favorable consideration.

I have further to report that after the evacuation the enemy returned, under a flag of truce, and were permitted to land 52 negroes, which were taken in charge by the commander of the post.

I inclose a list of prisoners taken near Jacksonville, and ask instructions as to what disposition will be made of them.


I also ask permission to exchange three of them for three of ours which were taken at Santa Rosa, near Pensacola, and are here on parole This exchange could be made at Fernandina. I inclose reports of Colons Davis, reporting the capture of these prisoners.*

I have the honor to subscribe myself, your obedient servant,

W. S. DILWORTH, Colonel, Commanding.

Capt. T. A. WASHINGTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Pocotaligo, S. C.

* Not found.


APRIL 10, 1862.–Skirmish near Fernandina, Fla.


No. 1.–Lieut. Col. H. Bisbee, Jr., Ninth Maine Infantry.
No. 2.–Col. W. G. M. Davis, First Florida Cavalry.

No. 1.

Report of Lieut. Col. H. Bisbee, Jr., Ninth Maine Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS, Fernandina, Fla., April 27, 1862.

Report in case of a party of men belonging to Company I, Ninth Maine Regiment, captured by the enemy on the 10th of April, 1862.-Names of the party: Orderly Sergt. Richard Webster, Corp. James W. Bowman, Privates Isaac Whitney, John E. Kent, Alonzo B. Merrill, C. Wesley Adams, taken prisoners; Private Ansel Chase, killed.

At the time the above party were captured and killed Company I was doing picket duty at the railroad bridge which spans the creek separating Amelia Island from the main-land. They were captured at what is known in this vicinity as the Judge O’Neal place, which is about two miles and a half from the railroad bridge. The captain of the company (S. D. Baker) allowed this party of men on the 7th of April to remain at said Judge O’Neal place to protect the wife of one Mr. Heath, whom I held in arrest at the time, and who was living at O’Neal’s house. Captain Baker left the party at said place without reporting it to his commanding officer, doing it as an act of kindness and sympathy for Mrs. Heath, and, as his men daily frequented the vicinity with impunity, did not think that he was doing a wrong act or exposing his men. On the same day (7th of April) Private William W. Lunt, of Company I, Ninth Maine Regiment, deserted, went to the enemy’s lines, and, it is supposed, reported to the enemy that this party of men was stationed at Judge O’Neal’s.

On Thursday, 10th of April, Captain Baker sent 2 men to order the party in, who found the dead body of 1 man, that from appearances had been shot that day, and the remainder of the party taken prisoners.

Very respectfully,

H. BISBEE, JR., Lieutenant-Colonel Ninth Maine Regiment.

Brig. Gen. H. W. BENHAM, Commanding First Division, Southern Department.



No. 2.

Report of Col. W. G. M. Davis, First Florida Cavalry.

HDQRS. PROVISIONAL FORCES EAST FLORIDA, Camp Langford, Fla., April 12, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, for the information of the colonel commanding the department, that Capt. William M. Footman, of Company F, First Florida Cavalry, in charge of a detachment of 40 men (same corps), sent by me to watch the movements of the enemy near Fernandina and to repel any effort made to leave the island of Amelia for the main-land in such small parties as he might be able to cope with, in the execution of such orders encountered two men on the railroad, who had landed from a hand car, and made them prisoners without resistance.

In a short time afterwards he found a party of 5 men at the house of Judge O’Neal. One of the party, offering resistance, was killed, and the rest then made prisoners. The whole of the prisoners were sent here by Captain Footman, and I have sent them by the train to-day, under a guard of 5 men, to be delivered to you at Tallahassee.

I desire particularly to commend the conduct of Captain Footman, who has on this occasion, as he has at all times, proved himself a zealous, intelligent, and efficient officer.

I am about to increase Captain Footman’s force to 100 men. He will be assisted by parties of citizens should he at any time need them, and I look for good news from him before long. He will alarm the enemy and keep them confined to the island.

I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. C. M. DAVIS, Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Capt. I. S. CROSS, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dept. Middle and East Florida.


APRIL 10-11, 1862.– Bombardment and capture of Port Pulaski, Ga.


No. 1.–Maj. Gen. David Hunter, U. S. Army.
No. 2.–Brig. Gen. Henry W. Benham, U. S. Army.
No. 3.–Brig. Gen. Egbert L. Viele, U. S. Army.
No. 4.–Lieut. P. H. O’Rorke, U. S. Corps of Engineers, of condition of the works of investment on February 28, 1862.
No. 5.–Brig. Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore, U. S. Army, of operations against Fort Pulaski. January 28-April 11, 1862.
No. 6.–Surg, George E. Cooper, U. S. Army.
No. 7.–Maj. Gen. John C. Pemberton, C. S. Army.
No. 8.–Brig. Gen. Alexander R. Lawton, C. S. Army.

No. 1.

Report of Maj. Gem. David Hunter, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Ga., April 13, 1862.

SIR: The flag of our country waves over Fort Pulaski. I summoned the garrison to surrender at sunrise on the morning of the 10th instant.


Immediately on receiving their refusal, at 8 a.m, we opened fire, the bombardment continuing without intermission for thirty hours. At the cud of eighteen hours’ firing the fort was breached in the southeast angle, and at the moment of surrender, 2 p.m. on the 11th instant, we had commenced preparations for storming.

The whole armament of the fort-47 guns, great supply of fixed ammunition, 40,000 pounds of powder, and large quantities of commissary stores, have fallen into our hands; also 360 prisoners, of whom the officers will be sent North by the first opportunity that offers.

The result of this bombardment must cause, I am convinced, a change in the construction of fortifications as radical as that foreshadowed in naval architecture by the conflict between the Monitor and Merrimac. No works of stone or brick can resist the impact of rifled artillery of heavy caliber.

Too much praise cannot be given Capt. Q. A. Gillmore, U. S. Engineers (acting brigadier-general), the officer immediately in charge of our works on Tybee Island, for his industry, skill, and patriotic zeal. Great credit is also due to his assistants, Lieut. J. H. Wilson, U. S. Topographical Engineers, and Lieut. Horace Porter, of the Ordnance Department. I have also to gratefully acknowledge the services of Capt. C. H. P. Rodgers, U. S. Navy, who, with 100 of his men from the Wabash, under command of Lieutenant Irwin, did nobly at the guns.

Our gallant volunteers, under the scientific direction of Captain Gillmore, displayed admirable energy and perseverance in the construction of the earthworks on Tybee Island, and nothing could be finer or more impressive than the steadiness, activity, skill, and courage with which they worked their guns in battery. When I receive the reports of the officers now immediately in command-Brig. Gen. H. W. Benham and Acting Brigadier-General Gillmore-a statement more in detail will be immediately forwarded-but I cannot close without expressing my thanks to both these officers, and the hope that Acting Brigadier-General Gillmore may be confirmed in the position of brigadier-general, to which in this bombardment he has established such deserving claims.

I am happy to state that our loss was but one man killed, the earthworks of our batteries affording secure protection against the heaviest fire of the enemy. The loss of the enemy has been stated as three severely wounded.

I have the honor to be, sir, most respectfully, your very obedient servant,

DAVID HUNTER, Major-General, Commanding.

Hon. E. M. STANTON Secretary of War; Washington, D. C.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Tybee Island, Ga., April 10, 1862.

To the COMMANDING OFFICER, Fort Pulaski:

SIR: I hereby demand of you the immediate surrender and restoration of Fort Pulaski to the authority and possession of the United States. This demand is made with a view to avoiding, if possible, the effusion of blood which must result from the bombardment and attack now in readiness to be opened.

The number, caliber and completeness of the batteries surrounding {p.135} you leave no doubt as to what must result in case of your refusal; and as the defense, however obstinate, must eventually succumb to the assailing force at my disposal, it is hoped you may see fit to avert the useless waste of life.

This communication will be carried to you under a flag of truce by Lieut. J. H. Wilson, U. S. Army, who is authorized to wait any period not exceeding thirty minutes from delivery for your answer.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

DAVID HUNTER, Major-General, Commanding.


No. 2.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Henry W. Benham, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. FIRST DIV., NORTH’N DIST., DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Fort Pulaski, Cockspur island, Ga., April 12, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report the conclusion of the operations of the siege of Fort Pulaski, in Savannah River, Georgia, which have resulted in the capture of that fort and its armament and the unconditional surrender of the effective force of the garrison, amounting to 361, of whom 24 were officers, besides about 18 who were sick and wounded. This siege is, as I would remark, the first trial, at least on our side of the Atlantic, of the modern heavy and rifled projectiles against forts erected and supposed to be sufficiently strong prior to these inventions, almost equaling, as it would appear, the revolution accomplished in naval warfare by the iron-clad vessels recently constructed. These operations, with the cordial assistance and co-operation of the naval forces under Flag-Officer S. F. DuPont, have been accomplished by a portion of the troops of my division, for the most part under the immediate direction of Capt. Q. A. Gillmore, Corps of Engineers, acting brigadier-general and chief engineer of the siege, to whose report (copy of which respectfully forwarded herewith) I have the honor to refer for the details of the operations.

Immediately after our arrival in this department, as you are aware, I visited Tybee Island on the 31st ultimo, and carefully inspected the works being erected there for the direct attack upon this fort, which had been well advanced by General Gillmore, under the directions of that faithful and judicious officer Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman, my predecessor in this district. These works consisted of eleven batteries, prepared for thirty-five to thirty-seven pieces of heavy ordnance, extending along an oblique line of about one and a half miles in length, opposite the southeast face of the fort, the extremities of this line being at distances, respectively, of about 1 and 2 miles from the fort. They were placed with great skill and judgment, and constructed properly, and with as much strength and regularity as the circumstances of the case would permit, and the care and forethought of the engineer in providing for the proper supply of ordnance and other stores that might be needed is worthy of especial mention, the whole arrangement at Tybee Island meeting my entire approval.

Desiring, however, to obtain, if possible, a concentric fire upon the work, I endeavored to arrange with General Viele, commanding at Daufuskie {p.136} Island, to accomplish this object, directing him upon the 6th instant to place a battery on Long Island, to attack the gorge of the fort on the west, and after a second visit to him, on the 9th, to construct another, if practicable and the distance were not too great upon Turtle Island on the north, the object being mainly the moral effect of an encircling fire rather than the expectation of any serious effect upon the walls at that distance. From some cause, however, the heavy ordnance for these batteries did not arrive in time, and the lighter pieces most available and placed in position on Long Island served rather as a diversion than for any serious demonstration upon the work.

The main attack upon the work, as you are aware, commenced upon the morning of the 10th instant, at about 7.30 o’clock, and immediately after the refusal of its commander to surrender according to your summons previously sent. Being present yourself at or between our batteries for the greater portion of the day during the contest between these batteries and the fort, you are, of course, personally aware of the great efficiency with which these batteries were served, and of the successful commencement of the breach at the southeast angle of the fort on that day. You are also aware of the efficient and accurate firing of the guns from the fort, directed as they were with great precision, not only at our batteries, but even at the individual persons passing between them or otherwise exposed. The fire on our part, though delayed at first by the necessity for obtaining the proper ranges, was kept up with such vigor that over 3,000 projectiles, varying in size from the 13-inch mortar shell to the 30-pounder Parrott shot, were thrown at the fort during the first day.

At evening, as it was necessary to guard against the possibility of attack from the Wilmington marshes, a force of some two regiments was stationed upon the ridges of land adjacent-one immediately in rear of the upper batteries and one on a ridge running towards Tybee River; and to give General Gillmore an opportunity for the rest which he required, I arranged with him to remain myself at the batteries in general charge of the forces during the first half of the night, directing at the same time that the shells should be thrown at the fort every ten or fifteen minutes during the night, for the purpose of fatiguing the garrison. This shell practice, especially during the early part of the night, while the moon was up, was reported to be most successful, or fully as accurate as by daylight.

As a principal battery of one James and five Parrott guns near the fort appeared not to have been so successfully served as was possible during the day, and as a detachment of 100 seamen from the Navy, under Lieutenant Irwin, had been kindly furnished to us by Flag-officer DuPont, at the suggestion of Capt. C. R. P. Rodgers, which had unfortunately reached us too late for the first assignment to the batteries, I directed that a portion of this battery should be placed in the hands of this command, and the remainder, with suitable men, to be under Captain Turner, assistant commissary of subsistence, late of the First Artillery, U. S. Army, and now chief commissary of your staff, and the James and three of the Parrott guns were assigned to the naval detachment accordingly.

At about 7 on the morning of the 11th the fire opened on both sides with great vigor and accuracy, the certainty as to direction and distance being greatly beyond that of the previous day, especially on the part of the enemy, there being scarcely any exposure of our force that did not draw a close shot, while the embrasures and parapets of our batteries {p.137} were most accurately reached. At about 10 to 11 a.m. I visited all the batteries, finding each of them most efficiently served, especially the small mortar batteries nearest the fort, the batteries just referred to in charge of the Navy and Captain Turner, and the columbiad batteries under Captain Pelouze. I found that an embrasure at the breached point, which was much enlarged on the previous day, was now opened to fully the size of the recess arch, or some 8 or 10 feet square, and the adjacent embrasures were rapidly being brought to a similar condition. At about noon the whole mask and parapet wall of the casemate first injured fell into the ditch, raising a ramp quite visible to us, and soon after the corresponding parts of the adjacent casemate began to fall, the Parrott and James shot passing entirely through (as we could see) the heavy timber blindage in rear of the casemates to the rear of the magazine on the opposite (northwest) angle of the fort.

In this state of things I felt sure that we would soon be able to peel off the whole scarp wall from the front of the casemates of the southeast front, making a breach greatly larger than the small garrison could defend, with probably another smaller breach upon the opposite side and I at once determined that if the resistance was continued it would be best and entirely practicable to storm the fort successfully within thirty to forty hours, and I had given directions to General Gillmore to have suitable scaling-ladders prepared for the purpose, and was arranging for the proper forces, boats, &c., when, at about 2 p.m., we discovered a white flag thrown up, and the rebel flag, after filling out to the wind for a few minutes at half-mast, came slowly to the ground. I then directed my assistant adjutant-general, Capt. A. B. Ely, to leave for the fort, but finding soon after your own adjutant-general, Major Halpine, at the batteries, I commissioned him, accompanied by Captain Ely, to proceed there with the terms I proposed-simply those of your first note-demanding the surrender of the garrison and all the armament and weapons; no other modification to be allowed than that they should have as favorable terms as are given by our Government in this war. General Gillmore reaching the upper batteries soon after, and appearing to desire it, and as his services most eminently merited that his wishes should be gratified, I authorized him also to pass over to accept the surrender of the fort and the terms assented to by him are essentially those dictated by me, excepting, perhaps, those relating to the disabled men, who would otherwise have been a burden to us, and by the return of these I have endeavored to provide by a letter from Colonel Olmstead, the rebel commander, for the receiving of a like number of men of the Forty-sixth New York Regiment, captured from Tybee about two weeks since.

I have now in closing but the pleasing duty of reporting upon the instances of individual merit that have come under my observation during this siege, which reports must necessarily be brief where so many have done so well.

To the kind and cordial co-operation of the naval forces, under Flag-officer DuPont, I feel that our highest thanks are due, for it was only by their assistance that we have been enabled to completely isolate the fort from the hope of succor and relief, while the ready supply of ordnance stores and other material most needed by us at the last moment has been of groat value, and the battery manned by their detachment, under Lieutenant Irwin, I have the pleasure of stating, was one of the most efficiently served against the fort during the action, a supervision being kept over it constantly by Capt. C. R. P. Rodgers in person, an {p.138} officer who, an acquaintance of more than twenty years assures me, is without a superior either in our own or any other service.

To Acting Brig. Gen. Q. A. Gillmore, captain of engineers, the highest praise is due for the exercise of his great professional skill and judgment and his laborious industry in arranging and personally superintending all the general preparations and all the details of the actual siege, which have resulted so successfully, showing how eminently worthy of the position and rank in which his previous commander, General Sherman, had placed him, as far as was in his power, and which rank I would respectfully ask your interest for the confirmation of by the President. Captain Pelouze, acting inspector-general of the department; Captain Turner, chief commissary of the department; Lieutenant Porter, of the U. S. Ordnance Department, and Lieutenant Wilson, Topographical Engineers, all in charge of batteries, rendered most zealous and efficient service, which their previous military education has so well-fitted them for. Lieut. P. H. O’Rorke, of the U. S. Engineers, acting as assistant engineer to General Gillmore, was also most energetic and useful.

Of your own department staff I had the pleasure of noticing repeatedly under fire most actively engaged Major Halpine, assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant Smith, acting assistant adjutant-general; Major Hough, most especially zealous; Major Wright; Captains Thompson and Dole; and Lieutenants Stockton, Hay, and Kinzie, your aides, not only complying with your own directions, but ready to aid me at all times when needed.

Lieutenant-Colonel Hall, of the Volunteer Engineer Regiment, deserves most special commendation for his activity, zeal, and general usefulness at all times, by night and by day, by which he constantly rendered most valuable services, as did the battalion of his fine regiment during the siege and previously; and Captain McArthur of the Eighth Maine Regiment, being highly praised by different officers, who witnessed his successful management of his men at the batteries, deserves my commendation.

The companies of the Third Rhode Island Artillery under Captain Tourtellott, served their guns most efficiently; and the Seventh Connecticut Regiment, under Colonel Terry, very ably manned the batteries which they had most laboriously constructed, so that I designated them (as I was pleased to find had been, unknown to me, the previous selection of General Gillmore) for the honor of being the first to garrison the surrendered fort.

Of my personal staff, my senior aide, Lieut. A. B. Ely, acting assistant adjutant general, was constantly with me when not occupied otherwise by my direction, still showing most eminently every qualification, as he had done previously, for the responsible position for which I had selected him, and Lieut. S. N. Benham, my junior aide, and H. F. Hawkes, acting aide, were ready and prompt in the discharge of their duties. Colonel Serrell, of the Volunteer Engineer Regiment, acting temporarily on my staff, showed great zeal and activity throughout the action.

I would respectfully recommend, in relation to the commander of the garrison of the fort, Col. Charles H. Olmstead, whose gallant conduct as an enemy and whose courtesy as a gentleman are entitled to all consideration, that, should you deem it proper, the courtesy of the return of his own sword should be extended to him. His defense, I would remark, was continued until almost the latest limit possible, for a few hours more of our fire would, to all appearance, have sufficed for the destruction of the magazine and a larger portion of the fort, while another day would, {p.139} in any event, have unavoidably placed the garrison at the mercy of a storming column from our command.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General, Comdg. N. Dist., Dept. of the South.

Maj. CHARLES G. HALPINE, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the South.


HDQRS. NORTH. DIST., DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Tybee River, Georgia, April 11, 1862.

SIR: I have the satisfaction of inclosing to you herewith the terms of surrender of Fort Pulaski, as arranged this day by Acting Brig. Gen. Q. A. Gillmore, whom I dispatched to the fort for that purpose immediately after the appearance of the white flag from that fort at about 2 p.m. this day, the anniversary of the opening of the fire upon Fort Sumter by the rebels last year. The terms agreed to by Col. C. H. Olmstead, the rebel commander of the fort, are essentially those dictated by myself, and such as I trust will meet your approval, from my previous communication with you on this subject.

With much congratulation to you on this first success in your present department, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brig. Gen. Comdg. N. Dist., First Div., Dept. of the South.

Maj. Gen. D. HUNTER, U. S. A., Commanding Department of the South.


FORT PULASKI, GA., April 11, 1862.


SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith the terms of capitulation for the surrender to the United States of Fort Pulaski, Ga., signed by me this 11th day of April, 1862. I trust these terms will meet your approval, they being substantially those authorized by you as commander of the district.

The fort hoisted the white flag at a quarter before 2 o’clock this afternoon, after a resistance since 8 o’clock yesterday morning to the continuous fire of our batteries. A practicable breach in the walls was made in eighteen and a half hours’ firing by daylight.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE, Brig. Gem. Vols., Comdg. U. S. Forces at Tybee Island, Ga.

Brig. Gen. H. W. BENHAM, Comdg. N. Dist. Dept. of the South, Tybee Island, Ga.

-Terms of capitulation agreed upon for the surrender to the forces of the United States of Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Ga.-

ARTICLE 1. The fort, armament, and garrison to be surrendered at once to the forces of the United States.

ART. 2. The officers and men of the garrison to be allowed to take with them all their private effects, such as clothing, bedding, books, &c.; this not to include private weapons.


ART. 3. The sick and wounded, under charge of the hospital steward of the garrison, to be sent up under a flag of truce to the Confederate lines, and at the same time the men to be allowed to send up any letters they may desire, subject to the inspection of a Federal officer.

Signed this the 11th day of April, 1862, at Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Ga.

CHAS. H. OLMSTEAD, Colonel First Vol. Regt. of Georgia, Comdg. Fort Pulaski.

Q. A. GILLMORE Brig. Gem. Vols., Comdg. U. S. Forces, Tybee Island, Ga.


I authorized these terms, subject to your approval.

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General.

Major-General HUNTER.


HDQRS. NORTH’N DIST. DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 16, 1862.

MAJOR: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of the report of General Viele, giving an account of the operations of the troops under his command at and near Daufuskie Island, as connected with the environment and reduction of Fort Pulaski.

The principal labors of this command, as connected with the bombardment itself, have been already referred to in my report upon that subject, of the 12th instant, as would have been the other matter referred to in General Viele’s paper, had it been received before my report was completed.

Although the investment was made more complete and perfect, as I therein stated, by the assistance of the naval forces-by whom, as I learn, the telegraphic communication to Fort Pulaski was destroyed-yet it is undoubted that the formidable operations for the accomplishment of this object on the main line of communication by the two channels of the Savannah River were accomplished by the incessant watchfulness and arduous labors of General Viele’s command; and for this purpose there were prepared upon each of two marsh islands-frequently overflowed at the high spring tides-a strong battery of eight or nine guns, or seventeen in all, with the suitable magazines and splinter-proofs to protect the material and men, and in one case, for the proper security of the works, a causeway road was required of over one-half mile in length, for the passage of the ordnance and material, which of itself-with the construction of the parapets, &c., of the batteries-was a work of extraordinary labor and exposure, and meriting the highest commendation to all the officers and men engaged.

For all the other details of the duties performed by this command, which were of great utility in the prosecution of this investment and siege, I respectfully refer to the report of General Viele himself.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Maj. CHARLES G. HALPINE, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the South.



No. 3.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Egbert L. Viele, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Savannah River, April 11, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the troops under my command in connection with the investment and reduction of Fort Pulaski.

The plan of operations assigned to me comprised the erection of batteries on the Savannah River, to cut off communication between the fort and the city of Savannah, from which supplies of ammunition and men were drawn, and to establish batteries on the islands adjacent to the fort, against the gorge and left flank, with which, in conjunction with the batteries on Tybee Island, the fort could be reduced. The expedition for these purposes was fitted out at Port Royal, and consisted of a detachment of the Third Rhode Island Artillery, a detachment of Volunteer Engineers, a battalion of the Eighth Maine Regiment Volunteers, and the Sixth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, the Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, and a full supply of heavy ordnance and intrenching tools.

A full reconnaissance and report had previously been made by Lieut. J. H. Wilson, Topographical Engineers, of the water communications with the Savannah River, by which it was developed that the rebels had sunk the hulk of a brig, securely fixed in its position by means of heavy piles in what is known as Wall’s Cut, an artificial channel connecting Wright River (one of the outlets of the Savannah) with Bull River, which last, by its connection, forms a direct communication with the harbor of Port Royal, thus serving as a thoroughfare between that harbor and Savannah.

The removal of the hulk was the first thing to be accomplished, and was intrusted to Maj. O. T. Beard, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, who, with the aid of a company of the Volunteer Engineers, and by means of mechanical appliances, suggested by his own ingenuity, succeeded after three weeks of unremitting night labor, and in close proximity to the rebel forces, in removing the piles and hulk from the channel, so as to admit of the passage of gunboats and light-draught steamers. This being accomplished, the expedition proceeded to the north end of Danfuskie Island, at which point a camp and depot were established for operations in the Savannah.

Reconnaissances for suitable locations for the batteries were then made under the superintendence of Captain and Acting Brigadier-General Gillmore, during which the telegraphic communication between Fort Pulaski and Savannah was cut, and the wires, both land and submarine, removed for about the distance of 1 mile. Venus Point, on Jones Island, on the north side of the Savannah, and the upper end of Long Island, in the Savannah River, were recommended as the most feasible positions to be occupied. These islands, as well as all others in the river, are merely deposits of soft mud on sand shoals, always covered at high tide and overgrown with rank grasses.

The occupation of points so unfavorable for the erection of batteries was rendered still more difficult by the presence in the Savannah of a fleet of rebel gunboats, constantly passing and always on the alert. To have floated the ordnance in the flat-boats in which it had been placed into the Savannah River would have exposed it to capture by the gunboats. To move it over the swamps seemed almost impossible, while {p.142} at the same time it would be constantly exposed to view from the river. The alternative was adopted of moving the armament of one battery by hand at night on shifting tram-ways across Jones Island, and it was accomplished on the night of the 11th of February. A drenching storm added to the difficulties, the men often sinking to their waists in the marsh, and the guns sometimes slipping from the tram-ways. By morning the guns were in position on the river, and the next day resisted, with unfinished platforms and without cover, an attack from the rebel gunboats, disabling them and driving them off.

Three days after another battery was erected on Bird Island, in the Savannah, under cover of the battery on Jones Island. Bird Island was selected in preference to the upper end of Long Island, as affording a more uninterrupted command of the south channel of the river. Since the erection of the batteries the works have been completed on both islands, the one on Jones Island being called Fort Vulcan, and that on Bird Island Battery Hamilton, and although the material of which they are composed (mud highly saturated with water) is of the most unfavorable description, they are both most creditable specimens of field works, and evidence of the great labor and perseverance of the troops under most trying circumstances, the fatigue parties always standing in water twenty-four hours.

The positions selected for batteries to aid in the reduction of the fort were the lower end of Long Island and the south side of Turtle Island. As these two points were directly under the fire of the fort it was deemed advisable to delay the erection of the batteries until those on Tybee Island were ready to open. Hence it was not until the night before the bombardment commenced that they were thrown up. The intrenchments were completed, but before the guns were all in position the fort surrendered unconditionally. The mortar battery on the lower end of Long Island did good execution. It was gallantly served during the entire bombardment by a detachment of the Third Rhode Island Artillery, under Lieutenants Turner and Tisdale, receiving the most constant and heaviest fire from the fort of all the batteries erected, without in the slightest degree diminishing its activity.

In reporting the results accomplished I have to refer to the services rendered by the staff of General Sherman, without whom the work could not have been performed. These officers were, Captain and Acting Brigadier General Gillmore, chief engineer; Capt. John Hamilton, chief of artillery; Lieut. J. H. Wilson, Topographical Engineers; Lieutenant Porter, Ordnance Corps, and Lieutenant O’Rorke, Engineer Corps. Hesitating at no amount of exposure or fatigue, they succeeded by their individual examples in inspiring the men with that energy and zeal which could alone have led them to accomplish the arduous labor required. I am also greatly indebted to the services of Captain Sears, of the Volunteer Engineers, and to Capt. J. H. Liebenau, assistant adjutant-general. The accompanying sketch exhibits the positions of the batteries.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EGBERT L. VIELE, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Maj. CHARLES G. HALPINE, Assistant Adjutant-General.


DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, April 14, 1862.

GENERAL: The accompanying report was prepared for you on the 11th, and was yesterday sent to Tybee, or rather Pulaski, hoping to find {p.143} you there. I did not receive your note of the 11th until yesterday (13th) afternoon. I think the report covers all the ground, and will send it as I had written it.

With regard to the sortie, a couple of men prowling around from the fort the day before we opened saw the mortar, which had not been quite placed in position before the party was overtaken by daylight, they (the party) having withdrawn to escape observation, concealing a few cartridges which they had brought down with the mortar. These were found and carried off by the two men, who must have been in a great hurry, as they did no damage otherwise. The position of the Long Island battery seemed almost under the walls of the fort, and the men were very much exposed. Nevertheless, although over 50 shots were fired at them, some striking the parapet and some bursting over their heads, no one was injured. The marks of the shell from this mortar I saw on the gorge yesterday, and if I had had time to get heavy guns in position I should have had a fine opportunity to do a great deal of execution.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EGBERT L. VIELE, Brigadier-General.

General BENHAM, Commanding, &c.


No. 4.

Report of Lieut. P. H. O’Rorke, U. S. Corps of Engineers, of condition of the works of investment on February 28, 1862.

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S. C., February 28, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with your directions, I have the honor to submit the following report, showing the amount of work accomplished and the present condition of the batteries on Jones and Bird Islands:

About the 7th of this month it was determined by you to wait no longer the long delayed entrance of the naval force into the Savannah River. It was at the same time directed that a battery should be planted, under cover of the night, at Venus Point, on Jones Island, at the earliest practicable moment. The next day the proposed battery was staked out, and on the same evening an attempt was made to transport the guns and material to the landing on Mud River. This movement, after the greatest exertions to carry it into execution, had to be abandoned for that night, in consequence of the severe storm which came up and the extreme darkness of the night. The attempt was made again on the ensuing night, and was most successful. Five Parrott guns and an 8-inch siege howitzer were landed on Jones Island, and two of the guns were moved about 200 yards towards their intended positions. Four platforms were laid the same night, two others commenced, and a magazine built. As it was not deemed expedient to show ourselves in the daytime, the work was suspended until the next night The following morning saw our guns in position and ready for action.

Fatigue parties were now set at work to throw up a parapet as rapidly as possible, and by night a parapet 8 feet wide and about 3 feet high was thrown up in front of the guns. At the same time a thin covering of earth was thrown around the magazine, in addition to the sand bags which had been placed around it at first. In consequence of the softness of the mud of which the island is made, it was found impossible to make the parapet sufficiently high at once or to give it a regular shape. The first occasion for using the guns showed that the platforms {p.144} furnished by the Ordnance Department were too narrow to allow them to be traversed sufficiently. Immediate steps were taken to provide the lumber necessary to enlarge the platforms. A grillage was formed of logs, and upon these planks were laid, increasing the width to 20 feet. Some of the lumber used had to be transported from the Winfield Scott, and other pieces obtained by pulling down houses on Daufuskie Island.

The subsequent engagement with the gunboats of the enemy showed that our platforms were now sufficiently wide and firm. The spring tides now coming on, the whole island was covered with water, and our efforts were immediately directed to the completion of a level around the work. After having the battery twice flooded this was accomplished. The work for some days could now be prosecuted only at low water, and then with great difficulty, in consequence of the softening of the surface. Since then the work has been progressing constantly, though slowly.

There is now a parapet around the work over 1,000 feet in length, from 6 to 10 feet thick, differing on different faces, and from 3 to 4 feet high. The magazine is covered on top by 5 feet of earth and sand bags, and on the sides by about 10 feet in thickness of the same material. It is not entirely completed. A board walk has been built about 6 feet in rear of the platforms, to extend the whole length of the work, with other walks leading from this to the platforms. A good wheelbarrow road has been made across the island by laying poles about 2 feet apart and placing boards upon them. Some of the lumber last brought from Hilton Head has been applied towards making the garrison as comfortable as possible.

About the 19th of this month it was decided by you that a battery should be placed on the north end of Bird Island. It was staked out the next day, and the same night the guns and material were taken from Daufuskie Island to that point and landed. On the following day the platforms were laid and the guns put in position. Since then the levee has been built around the work, and in addition to this another has been built for the protection of the camp of the infantry supports against high tides. A magazine has also been built here, and secured as far as practicable. A strong wind prevented our flats from being towed backward and forward for two or three days, and consequently has prevented us from supplying the battery with sufficient lumber up to this time. Some of the platforms have begun to sink, and will have to be relaid. Profiles have been put up on this battery, and it is steadily progressing. Timbers for the foundation of the platform for the columbiad have been got out of the houses pulled down on this island, and are ready as soon as transportation can be had for them.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant.

P. H. O’RORKE, Lieutenant of Engineers, U. S. Army.

Brig. Gen. EGBERT L. VIELE, Commanding U. S. Forces on Savannah River.


No. 5.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore, U. S. Army, of operations against Fort Pulaski, January 28-April 11, 1862.

HEADQUARTERS, Fort Pulaski, Ga., April 12, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the several batteries established on Tybee Island, to operate against Fort Pulaski, opened fire on the {p.145} morning of the 10th instant, at 815 o’clock, commencing with the 13-inch mortars. When the range of these pieces had been approximately obtained by the use of signals, the other batteries opened in the order previously prescribed in General Orders, No. 17, from these headquarters, hereunto appended as part of this report,* so that by 9.30 o’clock all our batteries, eleven in number, had commenced their work. The breaching batteries opened at 9.30. With the exception of four 10-inch columbiads, dismounted at the outset by their own recoil in consequence of their having been supplied with unsuitable pintles, and from very serious defects in the wrought-iron chassis, which will be noticed more fully in my detailed report, all the pieces were served through the day.

With few exceptions, strict regard was paid to the instructions laid down in orders for regulating the rapidity and direction of the fire. At dark all the pieces ceased firing except two 13-inch mortars, one 10-inch mortar, and one 30-pounder Parrott, which were served through the night at intervals of twenty minutes for each piece. The only plainly perceptible result of this cannonade of ten and a half hours’ duration (the breaching batteries having been served but nine and a half hours) was the commencement of a breach in the easterly half of the pan-coupé connecting the south and southeast faces, and in that portion of the southeast face spanned by the two casemates adjacent to the pan-coupé. The breach had been ordered in this portion of the scarp so as to take in reverse through the opening the magazine located in the angle formed by the gorge and north face. Two of the barbette guns of the fort had been disabled and three casemate guns silenced. The enemy served both tiers of guns briskly throughout the day, but without injury to the materiel or personnel of our batteries. The result from the mortar batteries was not at all satisfactory, notwithstanding the care and skill with which the pieces were served.

On the morning of the 11th our batteries again opened a little after sunrise with decided effect, the fort returning a heavy and well-directed fire from its barbette and casemate guns. The breach was rapidly enlarged. At the expiration of three hours the entire casemate next the pan-coupé had been opened, and by 11 o’clock the one adjacent to it was in a similar condition. Directions were then given to train the guns upon the third embrasure, upon which the breaching batteries were operating with effect, when the fort hoisted the white flag. This occurred at 2 o’clock. The formalities of visiting the fort, receiving its surrender, and occupying it with our troops consumed the balance of the afternoon and evening.

I cannot indulge in details, however interesting and instructive, in this hasty and preliminary report, but the pleasing duty of acknowledging the valuable services of the officers and men under my command during the laborious and fatiguing preliminaries for opening fire, as well as during the action, I do not feel at liberty to defer.

The labor of landing the heaviest ordnance, with large supplies of ordnance stores, without a wharf, upon an open and exposed beach remarkable for its heavy surf, taking advantage of the tide night and day; the transportation of those articles to the advance batteries under cover of night; the erection of seven of the eleven batteries in plain view of Fort Pulaski and under its fire; the construction over marshy ground in the night-time exclusively of nearly 1 mile of causeway resting on fascines and brush-wood; the difficult task of hauling the guns carriages and chassis to their positions in the dark over a narrow road bordered by marsh by the labor of the men alone (the advance batteries being 2 1/2 {p.146} miles from the landing); the indomitable perseverance and cheerful deportment of the officers and men under the frequent and discouraging incidents of breaking down, miring in the swamp, &c., are services to the cause and country which I do not feel at liberty to leave unrecorded. An idea of the immense labor expended in transporting the ordnance can be gained from the fact that 250 men could hardly move a 13-inch mortar loaded on a sling-cart.

Another circumstance deserving especial mention is that twenty-two of the thirty-six pieces comprised in the batteries were served during the action by the troops who had performed the fatiguing labors to which I have referred above. They received all their instruction in gunnery at such odd times as they could be spared from other duty during the week preceding the action. The troops who participated in all the heavy labor were the Forty-sixth New York Volunteers, Col. Rudolph Rosa; the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, Col. Alfred H. Terry; two companies of the New York Volunteer Engineers (Captain Graef and Lieutenant Brooks), under command of Lieut. Col. James F. Hall; two companies of the Third Rhode Island Artillery, Captains Mason and Rogers, and a small detachment from Company A, Corps of Engineers, under Sergt. James E. Wilson. Colonel Terry and Lieutenant-Colonel Hall entered most zealously upon the discharge of their varied duties.

A detachment from Colonel Rosa’s regiment, under Captain Hinckel, have occupied since the 22d of February an advanced and very exposed position on Lazaretto Creek, by which boat communication between Fort Pulaski and the interior was cut off. Several interesting reconnaissances of Wilmington Island were made by Captain Hinckel, one of which, commanded by Colonel Rosa, developed some useful information. Lieut. Horace Porter, of the Ordnance Department, has rendered signal, important, and indispensable services. Besides discharging most faithfully the special duties of ordnance officer, he directed in person the transportation of the heaviest ordnance, and drilled and instructed the men in their use, laboring indefatigably night and day. He was actively engaged among the batteries during the action. Lieut. James H. Wilson, Corps of Topographical Engineers, joined my command eleven days before the action, and did good service in instructing the artillerists. He rendered efficient service with the breaching batteries on the 10th and 11th. Capt. L. H. Pelouze, Fifteenth Infantry, U. S. Army, and Capt. J. W. Turner, of the Commissary Department, U. S. Army, members of General Hunter’s staff, volunteered for the action, and did good service in the batteries.

I am under obligations to Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, U. S. Navy, and a detachment of sailors under Lieut. John Irwin, U. S. Navy, for skillfully serving four siege guns in Battery Sigel on the 11th.

Lieut. P. H. O’Rorke, Corps of Engineers, and Adam Badeau, esq., volunteered, and served on my staff as aides during the 10th and 11th. Sergt, J. E. Wilson, of Company A, Corps of Engineers, Regular Army, did excellent service in mounting the heavy guns and getting them ready for action. He commanded Battery Burnside during the action. No mortar battery was served more skillfully than his.

I will close this preliminary report with some general deductions from absolute results, without going into details or reasons.

1. Mortars (even the 13-inch seacoast) are unreliable for the reduction of works of small area, like Fort Pulaski. They cannot be fired with sufficient accuracy to crush the casemate arches. They might after a long time tire out any ordinary garrison.

2. Good rifled guns, properly served, can breach rapidly at 1,650 yards’ {p.147} distance. A few heavy round shot, to bring down the masses loosened by the rifled projectiles, are of good service. I would not hesitate to attempt a practicable breach in a brick scarp at 2,000 yards’ distance with ten guns of my own selection.

3. No better piece for breaching can be desired than the 42-pounder James. The grooves, however, must be kept clean. Parrott guns throwing as much metal as the James would be equally good, supposing them to fire as accurately as the 30-pounder Parrots.

I append to this report a map, giving the positions of our several batteries and the orders issued, assigning the detachments to the batteries, and regulating the direction and rapidity of the firing.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE, Comdg. U. S. Forces, Tybee and Cockspur Islands, &c.

Lieut. A. B. ELY, A. A. A. G., N. D., Dept. of the South, Hilton Read, S. C.

* in report following.


HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Tybee and Cockspur Islands, April 23, 1862.

GENERAL: You showed me General Viele’s report of the operations of his command on the Savannah River. As I was present with his forces as General Sherman’s chief engineer until after the Venus Point battery was established, I have, in compliance with General Totten’s request and with General Sherman’s knowledge, furnished a report of those operations, and shall accompany my report of the siege of Pulaski with an accurate map of the Savannah River.* I am very desirous that there shall be no conflict or discrepancy in the records. This is my excuse for calling your attention to some portions of General Viele’s report, which must have left his hands without having been closely inspected by him. The points to which I refer are-

1st. One impression conveyed in the report is that the obstructions in Wall’s Cat were removed by General Viele’s command, when in fact Major Beard, Forty-eighth New York, then the provost-marshal at Hilton Head, was secretly sent out by General Sherman to do this work, with a company of engineers, more than three weeks before the investing force left Port Royal or General Viele was assigned to their command. The obstructions were removed on January 13, two weeks before General Viele’s troops left Port Royal.

2d. The length of the road across Jones Island, over which the Venus Point guns were carried, is represented on the general’s map as considerably longer than the distance from Fort Pulaski to the 10-inch mortar on Long Island, which opened on the fort the last day of the siege, while in fact it is not much over one-half as long. In other words, the Jones Island causeway is about three-quarters of a mile long, while the distance from Fort Pulaski to the mortar referred to is over one mile and a quarter, according to Coast Survey charts. The mortar was not at the extreme lower end of the island. The effect is to unduly exaggerate the labor of building the road and the danger of serving the mortar. According to statements of Colonel Olmstead and his officers after the surrender not a single shell from Long Island reached the fort; a circumstance which might have been foreseen by a reference to the table of range for 10-inch siege mortars.


3d. The map represents a battery on Turtle Island, while in fact none was placed there.

A desire to secure historical accuracy in the records of this siege alone induces me to make these statements, which you are at liberty to make such use of as you think proper.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General H. W. BENHAM, Comdg. North’n Dist., Dept. of the South, Hilton Read, S. C.

* To appear in Atlas.



SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report, compiled from my original report to the Chief Engineer, of operations against Fort Pulaski, Ga., resulting in its capitulation to the United States forces under my immediate command on the 11th day of April, 1862:

The two accompanying maps* are deemed necessary to a full understanding of the report.

This success so fully demonstrated the power and effectiveness of rifled cannon for breaching at long distances-at distances, indeed, hitherto untried and considered altogether impracticable, thus opening a new era in the use of this most valuable and comparatively unknown arm of service-was obtained with such singularly strict adherence to the details of the project as originally submitted by me in the previous December, and has withal in its developed results such an important bearing upon the character of our harbor and frontier defenses, that I feel called upon to enter into some details.

The transfer to another field of labor of Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman, lately in command of the forces on this coast, under whose auspices the project for the reduction of Fort Pulaski was pushed forward to within a few days of its final accomplishment, renders it proper that this report should refer to the preliminary operations directly connected with the siege.

In the capacity of chief engineer on General Sherman’s staff I was present with the investing forces under General Viele when the Savannah River was closed above the fort by the establishment of the battery on Venus Point, Jones Island, on the night of the 11th of February last. I took no part in the erection of the Bird Island battery, opposite Venus Point. These two batteries effectually closed the Savannah River.

In the double capacity of engineer and commander of the forces I was charged with the offensive operations on Tybee Island, where the batteries for the reduction of the work were to be established, and also with the completion of the investment by the blockade of the Wilmington Narrows and Lazaretto Creek passage.

The data for this report will therefore be taken in a measure from my private journal and from official correspondence and orders.

Fort Pulaski.-Fort Pulaski is situated on Cockspur Island, Georgia, latitude 32° 2' north and longitude 3° 51' west from Washington, at the head of Tybee Roads, commanding both channels of the Savannah River. The position is a very strong one. Cockspur Island is wholly a marsh, and is about one mile long and half a mile wide.


Fort Pulaski is a brick work of five sides or faces, including the gorge, casemated on all sides, walls 7 1/2 feet thick and 25 feet high above high water, mounting one tier of guns in embrasures and one en barbette. The gorge is covered by an earthen outwork (demi-lune) of bold relief.

The main work and demi-lune are both surrounded and separated by a wet ditch. Around the main work the ditch is 48 feet wide; around the demi-lune, 32 feet.

The communication with the exterior is through the gorge into the demi-lune over a draw-bridge and then through one face of the demilune over the demi-lune ditch by another draw-bridge. The scarp of the demi-lune and the entire counterscarp of main work and demi-lune are revetted with good brick masonry.

At the time of the siege it contained 48 guns, of which 20 bore upon the batteries on Tybee, viz, five 10-inch columbiads five 8-inch columbiads, four 32-pounders, one 24-pounder Blakely rifle, two 12-inch and three 10-inch seacoast mortars. A full armament for the work would be 140 guns.

On the 29th of November I was directed by General Sherman to make an examination of Tybee Island and Fort Pulaski, and to report upon the propriety of occupying and holding that island and upon the practicability (and, if deemed practicable, the best method) of reducing Fort Pulaski. I reported as follows:

HEADQUARTERS CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE, Hilton Head, S. C., December 1, 1861.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding Expeditionary Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.:

SIR: Agreeably to your orders, I proceeded in the steamer Ben DeFord, on the afternoon of the 29th ultimo, to Tybee Island, to make a military reconnaissance of that locality. The enemy had a battery on Warsaw Sound, whose exact position was unknown. The exact position of the battery controlling Warsaw Inlet has no bearing on the prominent points to which my attention was directed, namely, the propriety of occupying and holding the first Tybee Island and the practicability (and, if deemed practicable, the best method) of reducing Fort Pulaski. I deemed the reduction of that work practicable by batteries of mortars and rifled guns established on Tybee Island. I think it probable that a nearer position, on firm ground (although very shallow, and therefore re-adapted to mortars and sunken batteries), can be found on the island west of Tybee. I would establish these batteries from 20 to 25 yards apart, one gun or one mortar in each, behind the ridge of sand on the shore westward from the light-house. I would sink the mortar batteries as low as the water would permit, and the guns sufficiently low to leave a high parapet in front. On the sides and rear of each I would have a high mound of earth, and would cover each with a horizontal bomb-proof shelter of logs covered with earth and supported by logs planted vertically in the ground. The embrasures for the guns should be deep, narrow, and of very little splay. I estimate that, after once obtaining the range, five-eighths of the shells from the mortars can be lodged inside the fort. I would have enough mortars to throw one shell a minute into the fort, and as many guns as mortars. For landing the ordnance required I would have built two or three large flat-bottomed bateaux or scows, such as are commonly used on rope ferries. I think these could be built here.

There are now probably at Fort Pulaski 700 good troops. About 200 landed yesterday, and the Navy officers informed me that at least 500 have entered the fort within the last three days, while some (probably raw recruits or portions of the Home Guards) have gone away. It may be their design to land on Tybee and hold the west end of it, to prevent the erection of batteries against the fort. I therefore recommend the immediate occupation of Tybee Island by one good regiment until the question of attempting the reduction of Fort Pulaski be determined.

I learned while at Tybee that offers have been made by negroes to burn two of the principal bridges on the railroad between Charleston and Savannah. One of these bridges is said to be nearly 2 miles long. In a military point of view its destruction would be of great value to us, and I recommend the subject to your attention.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE, Captain, and Chief Engineer, Expeditionary Corps.


The armament proposed for the several batteries is given in the following communication:


Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding Expeditionary Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.:

SIR: Should it be determined to attempt the reduction of Fort Pulaski from Tybee Island, I recommend the following armament for the batteries, inclusive of pieces held in reserve to replace those dismounted or otherwise rendered unserviceable:

Ten 10-inch seacoast mortars; ten 13-inch seacoast mortars; eight heavy rifled guns of the best kind, to be used some against the barbette guns of the fort and some against the walls; eight columbiads for firing solid shot principally, some of them to fire shells, in case it be found practicable to drop them in or explode them over the fort The mortars should each have 900 rounds of shell, the guns and columbiads the same number of rounds of solid shot, and the columbiads 300 rounds of shell besides. It would be well to have a 15-inch columbiad, if one can be obtained.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE, Captain, and Chief Engineer Expeditionary Corps.

The project set forth in the foregoing communications received General Sherman’s sanction at once, with some slight modifications as to the number and caliber of the mortars to be used, and was forwarded to Washington and approved there. Information was in due time received that orders to prepare and forward the ordnance and ordnance stores had been issued. For months, therefore, preceding the fall of Pulaski, its reduction from Big Tybee, favored by a thorough investment, formed one of General Sherman’s approved plans, awaiting only the action of others in sending the necessary supplies for its completion. The Forty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, Col. R. Rosa, was sent to occupy Big Tybee Island early in December.

Operations for investing the place by the erection of batteries on the Savannah River above the work were set on foot about the middle of January, 1862. It was known to General Sherman before that time that gunboats of medium draught could enter the river above Fort Pulaski without encountering any batteries on the south side through Warsaw Sound, Wilmington Narrows (or Freeborn’s Cut), and Saint Augustine Creek, and on the north side through New River, Wall’s Cut, and either Wright or Mud Rivers.

Wall’s Cut is an artificial channel, narrow but deep, connecting New and Wright Rivers, and has for years been used in making the inland water passage between Charleston and Savannah. This cut the enemy had obstructed by an old hulk and numerous heavy piles, as ascertained about the 1st of January by Lieut. J. H. Wilson, of the Topographical Engineers. These obstructions had all been removed by a detachment of our engineer troops, under Major Beard, Forty-eighth Regiment New York Volunteers, secretly sent from Hilton Head by General Sherman for that purpose. The piles were sawed off on a level with the bottom of the stream, and the hulk was swung around against the side of the cut, leaving ample room for the passage of transports and gunboats. The opening of Wall’s Cut, which required four days and four nights to effect, was reported to the Navy on the 14th January, in order that the gunboats might enter the Savannah River and cover us in the erection of our investing batteries. At this time the enemy’s gunboats were daily passing up and down the river.

Mud River is navigable at high spring tide for vessels of 8 1/2 to 9 feet draught. Wright River Bar has about 11 1/2 feet of water at ordinary high tide. The Wright River passage rendered it necessary to approach to within about 2 miles of Fort Pulaski.


After the removal of the Wall’s Cut obstructions a joint expedition of land and naval forces for the investment was organized by General Sherman and Commodore DuPont. This expedition consisted of one regiment of infantry (the Forty-eighth New York Volunteers), two companies of the New York Volunteer Engineers, and two companies of the Third Rhode Island Volunteer Heavy Artillery, with 20 guns of all caliber, viz, two 8-inch siege howitzers, four 30-pounder Parrotts, three 20-pounder Parrotts, three 12-pounder James rifles, and eight 24-pounder field howitzers, and was accompanied by three gunboats. The troops were to rendezvous at Daufuskie Island, where we already had three companies of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, under Major Gardiner, guarding Wall’s Cut. They had been posted there on January 13. The land force was in readiness at Hilton Head soon after the middle of January. Various causes delayed the expected naval co-operation, so that no gunboats passed Wall’s Cut until the 28th of January. The naval forces were commanded by Commander John Rodgers, U. S. N.; the land forces by Brigadier-General Viele. Another mixed force, approaching by way of Warsaw Sound, presented itself on the south of the Savannah River, in Wilmington Narrows (or Freeborn’s Cut), at the same time, the land force being commanded by Brig. Gen. H. G. Wright and the gunboats by Fleet Captain Davis.

On the afternoon of January 28 a reconnaissance was made by me of Mud River and the Savannah River shore of Jones Island. Venus Point, on the margin of the Savannah, was selected as the position for one of the investing batteries. The line for a road or causeway over the marsh between Venus Point and Mud River was also located. Its length was nearly 1,300 yards. This causeway or corduroy was never completed.

Jones Island is nothing but a mud marsh, covered with reeds and tall grass. The general surface is about on the level of ordinary high tide. There are a few spots of limited area, Venus Point being one of them, that are submerged only by spring tides or by ordinary high tides favored by the wind, but the character of the soil is the same over the whole island. It is a soft unctuous mud, free of grit or sand, and is incapable of supporting a heavy weight. Even in the most elevated places the partially dry crust is but 3 or 4 inches in depth, the substratum being a semi-fluid mud, which is agitated like jelly by the falling of even small bodies upon it, like the jumping of men or ramming of earth. A pole or an oar can be forced into it with ease to the depth of 12 or 15 feet. In most places the resistance diminishes with increase of penetration. Men walking over it are partially sustained by the roots of reeds and grass, and sink in only 5 or 6 inches. When this top support gives way they go down from 2 to 4 feet, and in some places much farther. A road or causeway of some kind across Jones Island from Mud River to Venus Point was deemed necessary and determined upon at the outset, even if the guns should not have to be carried over it, as the means of getting speedy succor to the Venus Point battery in case of attack; Daufuskie Island, 4 miles distant, being the nearest point where troops could be kept for that purpose.

On the 29th of January Lieutenant O’Rorke, of the Engineers, was dispatched by me in a small boat to examine Long and Elba Islands, in the Savannah River. Major Beard, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, accompanied him. They entered the Savannah River via Cunningham Point at the lower end of Jones Island, pulled up the Savannah, stopping several times on Long and Elba Islands, and went around the west end of the latter to within about 2 miles of Fort Jackson. Lieutenant {p.152} O’Rorke reported the upper end of Long Island favorable for batteries, the surface being fully as high as that at Venus Point.

The following extracts from my journal furnish a portion of the history of the operations on Jones Island and the Savannah River for the investment of Fort Pulaski, and may be properly introduced into this report:

Extracts from journal of Brigadier-General Gillmore, chief engineer Expeditionary Corps.

February 1, 2, 3, and 4.-The two engineer companies on Daufuskie Island, commanded by Captain Sears, were employed in cutting poles for a causeway on Jones Island from Mud River to Venus Point, and for the engineer wharf on Daufuskie Island, New River.

On the 4th, the wharf, with 5 feet of water at low tide, was completed. Ten thousand poles, 5 to 6 inches in diameter and 9 feet long, had been cut on Daufuskie Island and 1,900 of them deposited at the wharf. The men of the Forty-eighth New York and Seventh Connecticut Volunteers transported the poles on their shoulders, the average distance carried being 1 mile. At the suggestion of Captain Sears I had a swath cut and cleared of reeds and grass across the upper end of Jones Island, to prevent the enemy burning the island over.

Navy officers were engaged in sounding Mud and Wright Rivers. No certainty as yet that the gunboats will enter the Savannah River. Mud River has about one and one-half feet of water in it at the extreme low tide, with a very soft (almost semi-fluid) bottom. Soundings in Wright River are not completed yet.

February 5 and 6.-Nothing specially new. Engineer force engaged in cutting poles, filling sand bags on Danfuskie Island, building a temporary wharf of poles and sand bags on Mud River, and constructing a wheelbarrow track of planks laid end to end from Venus Point to Mud River Wharf. The Forty-eighth New York, Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, and a portion of the engineer forces engaged in transporting poles and planks and carrying filled sand bags from Daufuskie Island to Jones Island (a distance of about 4 miles) in row-boats.

February 7 and 8.-Finished temporary wharf on Mud River. Carried several hundred filled sand bags across to Venus Point; also a quantity of planks and other battery materials. Had the balance of the engineer materials required for the Venus Point battery put into lighters, so as to be ready whenever the gunboats should move. There appears to be no immediate prospect of their moving.

February 9.-I visited Commander Rodgers to consult in regard to his moving into the Savannah. He said he intended to attempt the Mud River passage that night on the high tide. The signal for his starting would be one note from his steam-whistle. Returned to Daufuskie and consulted with General Viele and Captain Hamilton, the chief of artillery. It was arranged that the flats, with the guns and ammunition on them, should be towed by the steamer Mayflower through Wall’s Cut and up Mud River into the Savannah, just behind the gunboats. They were accordingly taken in tow in the evening after dark from the engineer wharf. The night was windy, rainy, and very dark. The Mayflower, after several attempts, failed to reach Wall’s Cut, and cast anchor near the spot she started from. The gunboats did not move on account of the weather.

February 10.-The gunboats Pembina and Unadilla are at anchor in Wright River, near Wall’s Cut. The gunboat Hale has taken up position in Mud River about 200 yards to the eastward of the temporary wharf, in order to protect the landing and cover us if driven back. Captain Hamilton quite ill from last night’s exposure in the Mayflower. I consulted with General Viele in the afternoon, and it was determined to establish the Venus Point battery at once, and wait no longer for the gunboats to go ahead of us. Orders from General Sherman to that effect were subsequently received that same evening, also to effect this by landing the guns on Jones Island from Mud River and hauling them over the marsh instead of towing them into the Savannah in flats, as first contemplated. Major Beard, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, and Lieut. J. H. Wilson, Topographical Engineers, volunteered to assist Lieut. Horace Porter, the ordnance officer, in getting the flats into Mud River and the guns on shore and into position. Accordingly the flats with the guns were towed by our row-boats up the river against the tide and landed without accident. Two of them were taken about 300 yards into the marsh by Lieutenant Wilson. The Forty-eighth New York Volunteers furnished the fatigue parties, which had already been twenty-four hours at work on Jones Island and were very much exhausted. Deeming it impossible to get the guns over that night, I directed them to be covered with reeds and grass, to prevent their discovery by the enemy, and left there until the following night.

During the night of the 10th, Lieutenant O’Rorke, of the Engineers, with a party of volunteer engineers, commenced the magazine and gun platforms at Venus Point. {p.153} The party concealed their work at daybreak (11th) and withdrew. The platforms were made by raising the surface 5 or 6 inches with sand, carried over in bags. On this sand foundation thick planks at right angles to the line of the battery were laid, nearly, but not quite, in contact with each other. At right angles to these, deck-planks were laid, giving a platform 9 by 17 feet. The floor of the magazine was 20 inches above the natural surface, and rested on sand bags.

February 11.-Continued getting battery and road materials to Jones Island during the day. Early in the evening I went to Jones Island with fresh men, to finish the labor of getting the guns over. Lieutenants Wilson and Porter and Major Beard took charge of the fatigue parties as before. The work was done in the following manner:

The pieces, mounted on their carriages and limbered up, were moved forward on shifting runways of planks about 15 feet long, 1 foot wide, and 3 inches thick, laid end to end. Lieutenant Wilson, with a party of 35 men, took charge of the two pieces in advance, one 8-inch siege howitzer and a 30-pounder Parrott, and Major Beard and Lieutenant Porter, with a somewhat larger force, of the four pieces in the rear two 20 and two 30 pounder Parrotts. Each party had one pair of planks in excess of the number required for the guns and limbers to rest upon when closed together. This extra pair of planks being placed in front, in prolongation of those already under the carriages, the pieces were then drawn forward with drag-ropes one after the other the length of a plank, thus freeing the two planks in the rear, which in their turn were carried to the front. This labor is of the most fatiguing kind. In most places the men sank to their knees in the mud, in some places much deeper. This mud being of the most slippery and slimy kind and perfectly free from grit and sand, the planks soon became entirely smeared over with it. Many delays and much exhausting labor were occasioned by the gun-carriages slipping off the planks. When this occurred the wheels would suddenly sink to the hubs, and powerful levers had to be devised to raise them up again. I authorized the men to encase their feet in sand bags to keep the mud out of their shoes. Many did this, tying the strings just below the knees. The magazines and platforms were ready for service at daybreak. Lieutenant Wilson got his two pieces into position at 2.30 a.m. and Major Beard and Lieutenant Porter their four pieces at &30 a.m. on the 12th. At 3 a.m. Lieutenant Wilson started back to General Viele, on Danfuskie, to report the success.

February 12.-After giving directions for the fresh relief to be put to work in throwing up a dike around the battery to keep cut the spring tides, which were beginning to flow, I returned to Danfuskie Island. The high tide to-day came within 8 inches of the surface at Venus Point.

February 13, 14, 15.-Various causes, particularly the weather, delayed the establishment of the battery on Long Island. On the morning of the 13th the rebel steamer Ida passed down by Venus Point under full steam. Nine shots were fired at her, striking her astern, all but one. Elevation good, but not enough allowance made for speed of vessel. I was not in the battery at the time. All the pieces, except one 30-pounder, recoiled off the platforms. These were at once enlarged to 18 by 17 1/2 feet. On the afternoon of the 14th three rebel gunboats came down the river and opened fire on the battery, taking a position about 1 mile distant. Battery fired about 30 shots. One of the vessels was struck. The boats then withdrew.

February 16.-The steamer Ida, which ran the battery on the 13th, left Fort Pulaski and returned to Savannah, via Lazaretto Creek, Wilmington Narrows, Turner’s Creek, and Saint Augustine Creek.

February 17.-I returned to Hilton Head, by General Sherman’s order, leaving Lieutenant O’Rorke with General Viele, with written instructions concerning the engineering operations to be carried on.

The foregoing extracts from my journal are all that bear directly upon the operations on the Savannah above Fort Pulaski. I did not return there on duty. I soon received official information, however, that a second battery, consisting of one 8-inch siege howitzer, one 30-pounder Parrott, one 20-pounder Parrott, and three 12-pounder James rifles, was established on Bird Island, just above Long Island. This was done on the night of February 20, the flats, with the guns, ammunition, &c.,on them, being towed up Mud River and across the Savannah by row-boats. Lieutenant O’Rorke, of the Engineers, was present as engineer officer, and Lieutenant Porter as ordnance officer, Capt. John Hamilton, General Sherman’s chief of artillery, was also present.

On the 19th of February I was ordered by Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman to Big Tybee Island, to place it “in a thorough state of defense against approach from Wilmington Narrows and Lazaretto Creek, to prevent all {p.154} approach by water, and blockade the channel,” thereby completing the investment, and also to “commence operations for the bombardment of Fort Pulaski.”

The absolute blockade of Pulaski dates from the 22d of February, at which time I stationed two companies of the Forty-sixth New York Volunteers, with a battery of two field pieces, on Decent Island, Lazaretto Creek. This force was subsequently placed on board an old hulk, anchored in Lazaretto Creek, about 24 miles from Fort Pulaski. One 30-pounder Parrott was then added to the battery. A small guard boat, mounting a Navy 6-pounder, was posted considerably in advance of the hulk, to intercept messengers attempting to reach Fort Pulaski by way of McQueen’s Island Marsh. On the 31st of March the guard boat and 18 men were captured by a large scouting party of the enemy, who suddenly appeared on Wilmington Island. After this the services of the gunboat Norwich, Captain Duncan, were secured in Wilmington Narrows, to assist the blockade.

It was found impossible to perfectly isolate the work. In order to appreciate the difficulty and even impracticability of securing, with ordinary means, the complete blockade of a place like Fort Pulaski, it is necessary to understand something of the topography of the position.

The Savannah River, from its mouth on Tybee Roads to its confluence with Saint Augustine Creek, 8 miles above, is skirted on both sides by low marsh islands, submerged by spring tides, covered with a thick growth of reeds and tall grass, and cut up by numerous small, tortuous creeks and bayous. With light boats that can be hauled over the marsh by hand from creek to creek small parties familiar with the locality can with comparative security find their way over these marshes in the night, and avoid guards and pickets. It was known that messengers passed to and from the fort in this way quite frequently. Several of these were caught. One of them started from the fort and made his escape to Savannah, just after the white flag was raised, on the day of the surrender.

On the 21st of February the first vessel with ordnance and ordnance stores for the siege arrived in Tybee Roads. From that time until the 9th of April all the troops on Tybee Island, consisting of the Seventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, the Forty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, two companies of the Volunteer Engineers, and, for the most of the time, two companies of the Third Rhode Island Volunteer Artillery, were constantly engaged in landing and transporting ordnance, ordnance stores, and battery materials, making fascines and roads, constructing gun and mortar batteries, service and depot magazines, splinter and bomb proof shelters for the relief of cannoneers off duty, and drilling at the several pieces.

The armament comprised 36 pieces, distributed in eleven batteries, at various distances from the fort, as shown in the following table:

1. Battery Stanton three heavy 13-inch mortars, at 3,400 yards.

2. Battery Grant three heavy 13-inch mortars, at 3,200 yards.

3. Battery Lyon on, three heavy 10-inch columbiads at 3,100 yards.

4. Battery Lincoln three heavy 10-inch columbiads at 3,045 yards.

5. Battery Burnside one heavy 13-inch mortar, at 2,750 yards.

6. Battery Sherman Three heavy 13-inch mortars, at 2,650 yards.

7. Battery Halleck two heavy 13 inch mortars, at 2,400 yards.

8. Battery Scott, three 10-inch and one 5-inch columbiad at 1,740 yards.

9. Battery Sigel, five 30-pounder Parrotts and one 48-pounder James (old 24-pounder), at 1,670 yards.

10. Battery McClellan, two 84-pounder James (old 42-pounder) and two 64-pounder James (old 32-pounder), at 1,650 yards.

11. Battery Totten, four 10-inch siege mortars, at 1,650 yards.


Each battery had a service magazine capable of containing a supply of powder for about two days’ firing. A depot powder magazine of 3,600 barrels’ capacity was constructed near the Martello Tower, which was the landing place for all the supplies. Serious difficulties were encountered in making a road sufficiently firm to serve for this heavy transportation.

Tybee Island is mostly a mud marsh, like other marsh islands on this coast. Several ridges and hummocks of firm ground, however, exist upon it, and the shore of Tybee Roads, where the batteries were located, is partially skirted by low sand banks, formed by the gradual and protracted action of the wind and tides. The distance along this shore from the landing place to the advanced batteries is about 2 1/2 miles. The last mile of this route, on which the seven most advanced batteries were placed, is low and marshy, lies in full view of Fort Pulaski, and is within effective range of its guns. The construction of a causeway resting on fascines and brush-wood over this swampy portion of the line; the erection of the several batteries, with the magazines, gun platforms, and splinter-proof shelters; the transportation of the heaviest ordnance in our service by the labor of men alone; the hauling of ordnance stores and engineer supplies, and the mounting of the guns and mortars on their carriages and beds had to be done almost exclusively at night, alike regardless of the inclemency of the weather and of the miasma from the swamps.

No one except an eye-witness can form any but a faint conception of the herculean labor by which mortars of 8 1/2 tons’ weight and columbiads but a trifle lighter were moved in the dead of night over a narrow causeway, bordered by swamps on either side, and liable at any moment to be overturned and buried in the mud beyond reach. The stratum of mud is about 12 feet deep, and on several occasions the heaviest pieces particularly the mortars, became detached from the sling-carts, and were with great difficulty, by the use of planks and skids, kept from sinking to the bottom. Two hundred and fifty men were barely sufficient to move a single piece on sling-carts. The men were not allowed to speak above a whisper, and were guided by the notes of a whistle.

The positions selected for the five most advanced batteries were artificially screened from view from the fort by a gradual and almost inperceptible change, made little by little every night, in the condition and appearance of the brush-wood and bushes in front of them. No sudden alteration of the outline of the landscape was permitted. After the concealment was once perfected to such a degree as to afford a good and safe parapet behind it less care was taken, and some of the work in the batteries requiring mechanical skill was done in the daytime, the fatigue parties going to their labor before break of day and returning in the evening after dark. In all the batteries traverses were placed between the pieces. With two exceptions (Batteries Lincoln and Totten) the magazines were placed in or near the center of the battery, against the epaulement, with the opening to the rear. An ante-room for filling cartridge bags was attached to each. The magazines for the Batteries Lincoln and Totten were located in the rear of the platforms.

For revetting the sides of the traverses and epaulements fascines, hurdles, brush, and marsh sods were used. Marsh sods form the best revetment for sandy soil. All the others allow the sand to sift through them to such an extent as to become a serious annoyance to the men serving the pieces.

In order to diminish as much as possible the labor of forming the Parapets in front of the pieces the foundation timbers of all the gun {p.156} and mortar platforms were sunk to high-water mark. This brought them in many cases to within 6 or 8 inches of the substratum of soft clay. To secure them against settlement the lateral as well as vertical dimensions usually adopted for platforms were considerably enlarged.

On the 31st day of March Major-General Hunter assumed command of the Department of the South, and Brigadier-General Benham, of the Northern District thereof, comprising the States of South Carolina, Georgia, and a part of Florida. During the week which followed these generals visited Tybee Island at separate times, and inspected the siege works and batteries there established. No change or modification of any of the works was suggested by either.

On the afternoon of April 9 everything was in readiness to open fire. Generals Hunter and Benham had arrived the evening before with their respective staffs.

The following general orders, regulating the rapidity and direction of the firing and the charges and elevation of the pieces of each battery, were issued. As the instructions then given were, with one or two trifling exceptions, adhered to with remarkable fidelity throughout the action, they are inserted here in full, to save the necessity of further reference to them:


HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Tybee Island, Ga., April 9, 1862.

The batteries established against Fort Pulaski will be manned and ready for service at break of day to-morrow. The signal to begin the action will be one gun from the right mortar of Battery Halleck (2,400 yards from the work), fired under the direction of Lieut. Horace Porter, chief of ordnance. Charge of mortar, 11 pounds; charge of shell, 11 pounds; elevation, 55 degrees; length of fuse, 24 seconds. This battery (two 13-inch mortars) will continue firing at the rate of fifteen minutes to each mortar alternately, varying the charge of mortars and the length of fuse so that the shells will drop over the arches of the north and northeast faces of the work and explode immediately after striking, and not before.

The other batteries will open as follows, viz, Battery Stanton (three 13-inch mortars, 3,400 yards distant) immediately after the signal, at the rate of fifteen minutes for each piece, alternating from the right Charge of mortars, 14 pounds; charge of shell, 7 pounds; elevation 45 degrees; length of fuse, 23 seconds; varying the charge of mortar and length of fuse as maybe required. The shells should drop over the arches of the south face of the work and explode immediately after striking, but not before.

Battery Grant (three 13-inch mortars, 3,200 yards distant) immediately after the ranges of Battery Stanton have been determined, at the rate of fifteen minutes for each piece, alternating from the right. Charge of shells, 7 pounds; elevation, 45 degrees; charges of mortars and length effuse to be varied to suit the range, as determined from Battery Stanton. The shells should drop over the south face of the work and explode immediately after striking, but not before.

Battery Lyon (three 10-inch columbiads, 3,100 yards distant), with a curved fire, immediately after the signal, allowing ten minutes between the discharges for each piece, alternating from the right. Charge of gun, 17 pounds; charge of shell, 3 pounds; elevation, 20 degrees, and length of fuse, 20 seconds; charge and length of fuse to vary as required. The shells should pass over the parapet into the work, taking the gorge and north face in reverse, and exploding at the moment of striking or immediately after.

Battery Lincoln (three 8-inch columbiads, 3,045 yards distant), with a curved fire, immediately after the signal, allowing six minutes between discharges for each piece, alternating from the right. Charge of gun, 10 pounds; charge of shell, 1 1/2 pounds; elevation, 20 degrees, and length of fuse, 20 seconds. Directed the same as Battery Lyon, upon the gorge and north face in reverse, varying the charge and length of fuse accordingly.

Battery Burnside (one 13-inch mortar, 2,750 yards distant) firing every ten minutes from the time the range is obtained for Battery Sherman. Charge of shell, 7 pounds; elevation, 45 degrees; charge of mortar and length of fuse varying as required from those obtained for Battery Sherman. The shells should drop on the arches of the north and northeast faces, and explode immediately after striking, but not before.

Battery Sherman (three 13-inch mortars, 2,650 yards distant) commencing immediately after the ranges for Battery Grant have been determined, and firing at the rate of fifteen minutes for each piece, alternating from the right. Charge of shell, 7 pounds {p.157} elevation, 45 degrees; charge of mortar and length effuse to be fixed to suit the range, as determined from Buttery Grant. The shells should drop over the arches of the north and northeast faces.

Battery Scott (three 10-inch and one 8-inch columbiads, 1,740 yards distant) firing solid shot, and commencing immediately after the barbette fire of the work has ceased. Charge of 10-inch columbiads, 20 pounds; elevation, 4 1/2 degrees. Charge of 8-inch columbiad, 10 pounds; elevation, 5 degrees. This battery should breach the pan-coupé between the south and southeast faces, and the embrasure next to it, in the southeast face, the elevation to be varied accordingly; the charge to remain the same. Until the elevation is accurately determined each gun should fire once in ten minutes; after that every six or eight minutes.

Battery Sigel (five 30-pounder Parrotts and one 48-pounder James, old 24-pounder rifled, 1,670 yards distant) to open with 4 3/4-seconds fuses on the barbette guns of the fort at the second discharge from Battery Sherman. Charge for 30-pounder, 3 1/2 pounds; charge for 45-pounder, 5 pounds; elevation, 4 degrees for both calibers. As soon as the barbette fire of the work has been silenced this battery will be directed with percussion shells upon the walls, to breach the pan-coupé between the south and southeast faces, the elevation to be varied accordingly, the charge to remain the same. Until the elevation is accurately determined each gun should fire once in six or eight minutes; after that every four or five minutes.

Battery McClellan (two 84 and two 64-pounders James, old 42 and 32 pounders rifled, 1,650 yards distant) opens fire immediately after Battery Scott. Charge for 84-pounder 8 pounds; charge for 64-pounder, 6 pounds; elevation for 84-pounder, 4 1/2 degrees, and for the 64-pounder, 4 degrees. Each piece should fire once every five or six minutes after the elevation has been established. Charge to remain the same. This battery should breach the work in the pan-coupé between the south and southeast faces and the embrasure next to it in the southeast face. The steel scraper for the grooves should be used after every fifth or sixth discharge.

Battery Totten (four 10-inch siege mortars, 1,650 yards distant) opens fire immediately after Battery Sigel, firing each piece about once in five minutes. Charge of mortar 3 1/2 pounds; charge of shell, 3 pounds; elevation, 45 degrees, and length of fuse, 18 1/2 seconds. The charge of mortar and length of fuse to vary so as to explode the shells over the northeast and southeast faces of the work. If any battery should be unmasked outside the work, Battery Totten will direct its fire upon it, varying the charge and length of fuse accordingly. The fire from each battery will cease at dark, except especial directions be given to the contrary. A signal officer at Battery Scott, to observe the effect of the 13-inch shells, will be in communication with other signal officers stationed near Batteries Stanton, Grant, and Sherman, in order to determine the range for these batteries in succession.

By order of Brig. Gen. Q. A. Gillmore:

W. L. M. BURGER, First Lieutenant, Volunteer Engineers, and Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen.

Just after sunrise, on the morning of the 10th, Maj. Gen. David Hunter, commanding the department, dispatched Lieut. J. H. Wilson, of the Topographical Engineers, to Fort Pulaski, bearing a flag of truce and a summons to surrender. To this demand a negative answer was returned.

The order was given to open fire, commencing with the mortar batteries, agreeably to the foregoing instructions.

The first shell was fired at a quarter past 8 o’clock a.m. from Battery Halleck. The other mortar batteries opened one after the other, as rapidly in succession as it was found practicable to determine the approximate ranges by the use of signals. The guns and columbiads soon followed, so that before half past 9 a.m. all the batteries were in operation, it having been deemed expedient not to wait for the barbette fire of the work to be silenced before opening with Breaching Batteries Scott and McClellan.

The three 10-inch columbiads in Battery Scott were dismounted by their own recoil at the first discharge, and one of those in Battery Lyon, from the same cause, at the third discharge. The gun-carriages were the new iron pattern, while the pintles and pintle-crosses belonged to the old wooden carriages, and were unsuitable. They were all, except one in Battery Scott, subsequently remounted and served.

As the several batteries along our line, which was 2,550 yards in {p.158} length, opened fire one after another, the enemy followed them up successively with a vigorous though not at first very accurate fire from his barbette and casemate guns. Subsequent inquiry showed that he knew the exact position of only two of our batteries-Sherman and Burnside. These were established just above high-water mark, on low ground, void of bushes or undergrowth of any kind. During their construction no special attempt at concealment had been made after once securing good parapet cover by night work.

Great surprise and disappointment were expressed by all experienced officers present at the unsatisfactory results obtained with the 13-inch mortars. Although the platforms were excellent and remained for all useful purposes intact, and although the pieces were served with a fair degree of care and skill, not one-tenth of the shells thrown appeared to fall within the work-an estimate that was afterwards found to be rather over than under the correct proportion. Whether this inaccuracy is due to the fact that no cartridge-bags were furnished for the mortars, to inequalities in the strength of the powder, to defects inherent in the piece itself, or to these several causes combined, remains yet to be ascertained. It is suggested that the earnest attention of the proper department be directed to this subject.

By 1 o’clock in the afternoon (April 10) it became evident that the work would be breached, provided our breaching batteries did not become seriously disabled by the enemy’s fire. By the aid of a powerful telescope it could be observed that the rifled projectiles were doing excellent service, that their penetration was deep and effective, and that the portion of the wall where the breach had been ordered was becoming rapidly honey-combed.

It also became evident before night, on account of the inefficiency of the mortar firing, that upon breaching alone ending perhaps in an assault, we must depend for the reduction of the work.

In order to increase the security of oar advanced batteries a tolerably brisk fire against the barbette guns of the fort was kept up throughout the day. Probably from 15 to 20 per cent. of the metal thrown from the breaching batteries on the 10th was expended in this way.

As evening closed in, rendering objects indistinct, all the pieces ceased firing, with the exception of two 13-inch mortars, one 10-inch mortar, and one 30-pounder Parrott, which were served throughout the night at intervals of fifteen or twenty minutes for each piece. The object of this was to prevent repairs of the breach or the filling of the casemates in rear of it with sand bags or other material.

I extract as follows from my preliminary report to Brigadier-General Benham, dated April 12, 1862:

The only plainly perceptible result of this cannonade of ten and a half hours’ duration (on the 10th), the breaching batteries having been served but nine and a half hours, was the commencement of a breach in the easterly half of the pan-coupé connecting the south and southeast faces, and in that portion of the southeast face spanned by the two casemates adjacent to the pan-coupé.

The breach had been ordered in this portion of the scarp so as to take in reverse, through the opening formed, the powder magazine, located in the angle formed by the gorge and the north face.

Two of the barbette guns of the fort had been disabled and three casemate guns silenced.

The enemy served both tiers of guns briskly throughout the day, but without injury to the matériel or personnel of our batteries.


On the morning of the 11th, a little after sunrise, our batteries again opened fire with decided effect, the fort returning a heavy and well-directed fire from its casemates and barbette guns. The breach was {p.159} rapidly enlarged. After the expiration of three hours the entire case mate next the pan-coupé had been opened, and by 12 o’clock the one adjacent to it was in a similar condition.

Directions were then given to train the guns upon the third embrasure, upon which the breaching batteries were operating with effect, when the fort hoisted the white flag. This occurred at 2 o’clock.

The formalities of visiting the fort, receiving its surrender, and occupying it with our troops, consumed the balance of the afternoon and evening.

During the 11th about one-tenth of the projectiles from the three breaching batteries were directed against the barbette guns of the fort. Eleven of its guns were dismounted, or otherwise rendered temporarily unserviceable.

The garrison of the fort was found to consist of 385 men, including a full complement of officers. Several of them were severely, and one fatally, wounded.

Our total loss was 1 man killed-None of our pieces were struck. I take pleasure in recording my acknowledgment of the hearty, zealous, and persevering co-operation afforded me by the officers and men under my command, not only during the 10th and 11th when all more or less forgot their fatigue in the excitement and danger of the engagement, but throughout the exhausting and unwholesome labors of preparation, occupying day and night a period of nearly eight weeks.

The entire available strength of the command was on guard or fatigue duty every twenty-four hours.

The details for night work were always paraded immediately after sunset, and were usually dismissed from labor between 1 and 2 o’clock in the morning, although circumstances frequently required parties to remain out all night.

In unloading the ordnance and ordnance stores advantage was always taken of favorable tide and weather day and night.

There is one circumstance connected with this siege which appears to deserve special mention, and that is, that with the exception of a detachment of sailors from the frigate Wabash, who served four of the light siege pieces in Battery Sigel on the 11th, we had no artillerists of any experience whatever. Four of the batteries were manned by the Third Rhode Island Volunteer Artillery, who were conversant with the manual of the pieces, but had never been practiced at firing. All the other pieces were served by infantry troops, who had been on constant fatigue duty, and who received all their instructions in gunnery at such odd times as they could be spared from other duties during the week or ten days preceding the action.

Instructions had been given by General Benham to place a mortar battery on the lower end of Long Island and two 10-inch columbiads on Turtle Island, in order to obtain a reverse fire on the work. These batteries were to have been erected and manned by detachments from General Viele’s command. One 10-inch siege mortar was therefore placed on Long Island, and was served on the 11th April by a detachment commanded by Major Beard, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers. It was entirely ineffective on account of the distance-nearly 1,900 yards. The idea of Turtle Island battery was not carried into effect, and no pieces were landed there.

Throughout the siege Col. Alfred H. Terry, Seventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, and Lieut. Col. James F. Hall, commanding battalion of New York Volunteer Engineers, were conspicuous for the zeal {p.160} and perseverance with which they discharged the varied duties to which they were assigned.

Captain Hinckel, with one company of the Forty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers and a small battery, occupied for eight weeks, with credit to himself and command, an advanced and exposed position on a hulk in Lazaretto Creek, cutting off boat communication in that direction between Fort Pulaski and the interior.

Lieut. Horace Porter, of the Ordnance Department, rendered important and valuable service. Besides discharging most efficiently the special duties of chief of ordnance and artillery, he directed in person the transportation of nearly all the heavy ordnance and instructed the men in its use. He was actively engaged among the batteries during the action.

Capt. Charles E. Fuller, assistant quartermaster, served with me four weeks, assuming during that time the entire charge of unloading the ordnance and ordnance stores from the vessels; a duty which he discharged with a success worthy of special notice.

Lieut. James H. Wilson, Topographical Engineers, joined my command eleven days before the action, and was assigned to duty as instructor of artillery. He rendered valuable service in that capacity, and also at the breaching batteries on the 10th and 11th.

Capt. Louis H. Pelouze, Fifteenth U. S. Infantry, and Capt. J. W. Turner, commissary of subsistence, U. S. Army, members of Major-General Hunter’s staff, volunteered for the engagement, and were assigned to the command of batteries, where their knowledge and experience as artillerists proved of great value.

On the 11th two pieces of Battery Sigel were served by a detachment from the Eighth Regiment Maine Volunteers, under Captain McArthur, of that regiment. The men had all served exclusively as infantry, and received their first artillery drill from Captain Turner and Lieutenant Wilson under a severe fire. They readily adapted themselves to their new duties, and served their guns creditably.

Capt. F. E. Graef and Lieut. T. B. Brooks, commanding respectively the two companies (D and A) of Volunteer Engineers, were indefatigable in the discharge of their duties as engineer officers, which required them to be out with the working parties every night.

I am under obligations to Commander C. R. P. Rodgers and Lieut. John Irwin, U. S. Navy, for skillfully serving with a detachment of sailors four siege guns in Battery Sigel on the 11th.

Lieut. W. L. M. Burger, of the regiment of New York Volunteer Engineers, served with zeal and efficiency as my adjutant-general during the operations on Tybee Island.

Lieut. P. H. O’Rorke, of the Corps of Engineers, and Adam Badeau, esq., volunteered to serve as my aides on the 10th and 11th, and rendered valuable assistance.

The services of Sergt, James E. Wilson, of Company A, Corps of Engineers, deserve special mention, and largely contributed towards getting the breaching batteries ready for service. Sergeant Wilson commanded Battery Burnside during the action.

To Major-General Hunter and Brigadier-General Benham, commanding respectively this department and district, I am under obligations for the official courtesy with which they allowed the project for reducing the fort, which was planned and all but executed before they assumed their commands, to be carried out in all its details without change or modification.



The three breaching batteries-Sigel, Scott, and McClellan-were established at a mean distance of 1,700 yards from the scarp walls of Fort Pulaski.

The circumstance, altogether new in the annals of sieges, that a practicable breach, which compelled the surrender of the work, was made at that distance in a wall 7 1/2 feet thick, standing obliquely to the line of fire and backed by heavy casemate piers and arches, cannot be ignored by a simple reference to the time-honored military maxims that “Forts cannot sustain a vigorous land attack,” and that “All masonry should be covered from land batteries.”

A comparative glance at the status of military science as regards breaching prior to the invention of rifled cannon will enable us to form a tolerably correct estimate of the importance to be attached to the results developed by this improved arm of the service. A standard military work furnishes the following extract:

An exposed wall may be breached with certainty at distances from 500 to 700 yards, even when elevated 100 feet above the breaching battery; and it is believed that in case of extreme necessity it would be justifiable to attempt to batter down an exposed wail from any distance not exceeding 1,000 yards; but then the quantity of artillery must be considerable, and it will require from four to seven days’ firing, according to the number of guns in battery and the period of daylight, to render a breach practicable.

During the Peninsular war breaching at 500 to 700 yards was of frequent occurrence, and at the second siege of Badajos fourteen brass 24-pounders breached an exposed castle wall backed by earth alone, and consequently much weaker than a scarp sustained in the rear by heavy piers and arches, in eight hours, at a distance of 800 yards Experiments of breaching with rifled guns have recently been made. I shall notice two cases:

In August, 1860, experiments with Armstrong’s rifled guns were made against a condemned martello tower at Eastbourne, on the coast of Sussex, England. The tower was of brick, fifty-six years old, and designed for one gun, the wall being 7 1/2 feet thick at the level of the ground and 5 3/4 thick at the spring of the vault, which was 19 feet above the ground It was 31 1/2 feet high, 46 feet exterior diameter at the bottom, and 40 feet at the top. The pieces used against it were: one 40-pounder of 4 3/4-inch caliber, one 82-pounder of 6-inch caliber, and one 7-inch howitzer throwing 100-pound shells. A practicable breach, 24 feet wide, including most of the arch, was made with an expenditure of 10,850 pounds of metal, at a distance of 1,032 yards. The projectiles expended were: 40-pounder gun, 20 solid shot, 1 plugged shell, 43 live shells; 82-pounder gun, 19 solid shot, 8 plugged shells, 36 live shells; 7-inch howitzer, 2 plugged shells, 29 live shells.

Projectiles that failed to hit the wall are excluded from the above table.**

General Sir John Burgoyne, in his report upon these experiments, says:

Trials were subsequently made to breach a similar tower from smooth-bored 68 and 32 pounders at the same range of 1,030 yards, and the result may be deemed altogether a failure, both accuracy of fire and velocity of missiles being quite deficient for such a range. At 500, or perhaps 600, yards the superiority of the rifled ordnance would probably have been very little, if any.

Experimental siege operations for the instruction of the Prussian army, comprising the demolition of the defective and obsolete fortifications at {p.162} Juliers, were carried on in the month of September, 1860, especially with reference to the effect of rifled breech-loading guns.

The following brief summary of the breaching experiments is taken from the report of Lieut. Col. A. Ross, Royal Engineers:

Four 12-pounder iron guns and two 12-pounder brass guns, weighing, respectively, 2,700 pounds and 1,300 pounds, throwing a conical ball weighing 27 pounds, and fired with a charge of 2.1 pounds, at 800 Prussian paces (640 yards), made a practicable breach 32 feet wide in a brick wall 3 feet thick, with counter-forts 4 feet thick, 4 feet wide, and 16 feet from center to center, the wall being 16 feet high, and built en décharge, after firing 126 rounds. The first six rounds are omitted from this calculation, as they did not strike the wall, the wall being entirely covered from the guns. No difference was observed between the effects of the brass and the iron guns. The bursting charge of the shells was fourteen-fifteenths of a pound. The penetration was 15 inches.

Six 6-pounder guns, four of iron and two of cast steel, weighing, respectively, 1,300 and 800 pounds, throwing a conical shell weighing 13 pounds, and firing with a charge of 1.1 pounds, at 50 paces, made a practicable breach 70 feet wide, in precisely the same description of wall as that above described, after firing 276 rounds, the battery being situated on the counterscarp opposite the wall. No difference was observed between the effects of the cast steel and iron guns. The bursting charge of a shell was half a pound. The penetration of the first single, shot averaged 18 inches.

Four 24-pounder iron guns, weighing between 53 and 54 hundredweight, throwing a shell weighing 57 pounds and firing with a charge of 4 pounds, at a distance of 60 yards made a practicable breach 62 feet wide in a loop-holed brick wall 24 feet high and 61 thick after firing 117 rounds, the wall being seen from the battery. The bursting charge of the shell was 2 pounds. The penetration of the two first single shots was 2 1/2 and 3 feet.

The same guns, after firing 294 rounds with the same charges and at a distance of 96 yards, made a breach 46 feet wide in a brick wall 40 feet high and 12 feet thick at the foot, with a batter of about 4 feet. The wall was 12 feet thick, and built en décharge, with counter-forts 6 feet wide and 16 feet from center to center, and connected by two rows of arches, one above the other. The penetration of the first single shot was 3 feet and 3 1/2 feet. All the above-mentioned guns were rifled breach-loaders.

It is impossible to institute a very close comparison of the relative value of rifled and smooth-bore guns for breaching purposes from any data which experience has thus far developed.

The experiments at Eastbourne, hereinbefore mentioned, are the only ones on record where they have been tried side by side to the extent of actual breaching against the same kind of masonry and at the same distance. We have seen how on that occasion the rifles were a complete success, while the smooth-bores were an utter failure.

At Fort Pulaski an excellent opportunity was afforded on the scarp wall near the breach for obtaining the actual penetration of the several kinds of projectiles. An average of three or more shots for each caliber was taken, giving the following results, which may be relied upon as correct:

-Table of penetrations is a brick wall, as determined at the siege of Fort Pulaski, Ga., April, 1862.-

Kind of gun.Distance from wall.Kind and weight of projectiles.Elevation.Charge.Penetration.
Old 42-pounder, rifled1,650James, 84 lbs., solid4 1/4826
Old 32-pounder, rifled1,650James, 64 lbs., solid4620
Old 24-pounder, rifled1,670James, 48 lbs., solid4 1/2519
Parrott rifled gun1,670Parrott 30 lbs., solid4 1/23 1/218
Columbiad (10-inch), smooth bore1,740Parrott, 128 lbs., solid round4 1/22013
Columbiad (8-inch), smooth bore1,740Parrott 68 lbs., solid round51011

The above table indicates very prominently, although it affords no exact means of measuring, the great superiority of rifle over smooth bore guns for purposes requiring great penetrating power.


Against brick walls the breaching effect of percussion shell is certainly as great as that of solid shot of the same caliber. They do not penetrate as far by 20 to 25 per cent., but by bursting they make a much broader crater. Such shell would doubtless break against granite walls without inflicting much injury.

Sir W. Dennison, from a comparison of the several sieges in Spain during the Peninsular war, estimated that a practicable breach at 500 yards could be made in a rubble wall backed by earth by an average expenditure of 254,400 pounds of metal fired from smooth-bore 24-pounders for every 100 feet in width of breach-equal to 2,544 pounds of metal for ever linear foot in width of breach.

Before we can draw any comparison, however imperfect, between this estimate and the results obtained at Fort Pulaski, it is necessary to make certain deductions from the amount of metal thrown from the breaching batteries used against that work, as follows:

First. For the shots expended upon the barbette guns of the fort in silencing their fire.

Second. For 10 per cent. of Parrott projectiles, which upset from some defect which I know from personal observation has been entirely removed by the recent improvements of the manufacturer.

Third. For nearly 50 per cent. of the 64-pound James shot, due to the fact that one of the two pieces from which they were thrown had by some unaccountable oversight been bored nearly one-fourth of an inch too large in diameter, and gave no good firing whatever. Making these deductions, it results that 110,643 pounds of metal were fired at the breach.

The really practicable portion of the breach was of course only the two casemates that were fully opened, say 30 feet in aggregate width; but the scarp wall was battered down in front of three casemate piers besides, and had these piers not been there, or had the scarp been backed by earth alone, as was generally the case in Spain, the practicable portion of the opening would have been from 45 to 50 feet wide. Calling it 45 feet, the weight of metal thrown per linear foot of breach was 2,458 pounds, against 2,544 per linear foot in the Peninsular sieges. Had the fort held out a few hours longer this difference would have been much greater, for the wall was so badly shattered to the distance of 25 or 30 feet each side of the breach that the opening could have been extended either way with a comparatively trifling expenditure of metal. On repairing the work 100 linear feet of the scarp wall had to be rebuilt.

It must be borne in mind that at Fort Pulaski only 58 per cent, of the breaching metal was fired from rifled guns, the balance being from smooth-bored 8-inch and 10-inch columbiads (68 and 128 pounders) of Battery Scott.

It may therefore be briefly and safely announced that the breaching of Fort Pulaski at 1,700 yards did not require as great an expenditure of metal, although but 58 per cent, of it was thrown from rifled guns, as the breaches made in Spain with smooth-bores exclusively at 500 yards. In the former case the wall was good brick masonry, laid in lime mortar, and backed by heavy piers and arches; in the latter, rubble masonry, backed by earth.

A knowledge of the relative value of heavy round shot, 10-inch for example, and elongated percussion shells from lighter guns, say James 64-pounders (old 32-pounders), in bringing down the masses of brick masonry cracked and loosened by the elongated solid shot, is a matter of some importance, considering the vast difference in the amount of labor required to transport and handle the two kinds of ordnance. The {p.164} penetration of the percussion shell would exceed, and its local effect would at least equal, that of the solid round shot. The general effect of the latter, within certain ranges, is a matter for consideration.

My own opinion, based principally upon personal observation, corroborated by the reports of experiments made in Europe, may be stated in the following terms:

First. Within 700 yards heavy smooth bores may be advantageously used for breaching, either alone or in combination with rifles.

Second. Within the same distance light smooth bores will breach with certainty, but rifles of the same weight are much better.

Third. Beyond 700 yards rifled guns exclusively are much superior for breaching purposes to any combination of rifles and heavy or light smooth bores.

Fourth. Beyond 1,000 yards a due regard to economy in the expenditure of manual labor and ammunition requires that smooth bores, no matter how heavy they may be, should be scrupulously excluded from breaching batteries.

Fifth, In all cases when rifled guns are used exclusively against brick walls at least one-half of them should fire percussion shells. Against stone walls shell would be ineffective.

For breaching at long distances the James and Parrott projectiles seem to be all that can be desired. The grooves of the James gun must be kept clean at the seat of the shot. This is not only indispensably necessary, but of easy and ready attainment, by using the very simple and effective scraper devised on the principle of the searcher for the pieces we employed against Pulaski. This scraper consists of a number of steel springs or prongs, one for each groove, firmly attached by screws to the cylindrical part of a rammer-head, and flaring like a broom, so as to fit closely into the grooves. About half an inch of the lower end of each prong is bent out at right angles. The prongs being compressed by a ring, to which a lanyard is attached, when entering the bore spring out firmly into the grooves when the ring is removed, and clean them thoroughly as the scraper is drawn out.

The failure of the James shot, as reported on two or three occasions by apparently good authority, is probably due to neglect in this particular. There were no failures in our firing, except as before mentioned with the 32-pounders (carrying a 64-pound shot), that had been bored too large.

Although the James projectiles are surrounded when first made by greased canvas, there is believed to be an advantage in greasing them again at the moment of loading. This was done in our batteries against Fort Pulaski. As the Parrott projectiles receive their rotary motion from a ring of wrought-iron or brass which surrounds the lower portion of the cylinder, and which does not foul the grooves while engaging them, no special precaution to prevent fouling need be taken with the Parrott guns.

With heavy James or Parrott guns the practicability of breaching the best-constructed brick scarp at 2,300 to 2,500 yards with satisfactory rapidity admits of very little doubt. Had we possessed our present knowledge of their power previous to the bombardment of Fort Pulaski, the eight weeks of laborious preparation for its reduction could have been curtailed to one week, as heavy mortars and columbiads would have been omitted from the armament of the batteries as unsuitable for breaching at long ranges.

It is also true beyond question that the minimum distance, say from 900 to 1,000 yards, at which land batteries have heretofore been considered {p.165} practically harmless against exposed masonry, must be at least trebled, now the rifled guns have to be provided against.

The inaccuracy of the fire of the 13-inch mortars has already been adverted to. Not one-tenth of the shells dropped inside of the fort. A few struck the terre-plein over the casemate arches, but, so far as could be observed by subsequent inspection from below, without producing any effect upon the masonry. Whether they penetrated the earth work to the roofing of the arches was not ascertained.

Two or three striking in rapid succession into the same spot over an arch might be expected to injure it seriously, if not fatally. Such an occurrence would, however, be rare indeed. Against all, except very extraordinary casualties, it would be easy for a garrison to provide as they occurred, by repairing with sand bags or loose earth the holes formed in the terre-plein by shells.

We may therefore assume that mortars are unreliable for the reduction of a good casemated work of small area, like most of our seacoast fortifications.

As auxiliary in silencing a barbette fire, or in the reduction of a work containing wooden buildings and other exposed combustible material, mortars may undoubtedly be made to play an important part

For the reduction of fortified towns or cities, or extensive fortresses containing large garrisons, there is perhaps no better arm than the mortar, unless it be the rifled gun, firing at high elevations.

To the splinter-proof shelters constructed for the seven advanced batteries I attribute our almost entire exemption from loss of life. We had 1 man killed by a shell from one of the mortar batteries outside the fort, which was the only casualty.

The demoralizing effect of constant and laborious fatigue duty upon the health and discipline of troops, particularly upon such as are unused to the privations of war, like our volunteers, who can but slowly adapt themselves to the stinted comforts of a campaign, is a subject which demands the earnest attention of commanding officers in the field.

Upon regular troops, to whom the drill in their special arm has to a certain extent become a second nature, who are accustomed to the vicissitudes of the field and familiar with expedients and make-shifts to secure comfort, the bad effects of excessive labor and constant interruption of drill are of course less apparent.

With the average of our volunteer regiments every alternate day should be devoted to drill, in order to keep them up to a fair standard of efficiency.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Volunteers.

To the ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY, Washington, D. C.

* To appear in Atlas.

** Reference is to table on the map showing position of the batteries, &c., to appear in Atlas. The table shows that 4,079 shell and 914 shot were fired.


No. 6.

Report of Surg. George E. Cooper, U. S. Army.

MEDICAL DIRECTOR’S OFFICE, DEP’T OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 14, 1862.

SIR: Herewith inclosed I transmit the list of casualties which occurred among the United States forces during the attack on Fore Pulaski, Ga.


Though the professional services of the surgeons were fortunately but little needed, I cannot but state that great credit is due to Dr. Francis Bacon, surgeon of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, for his voluntary presence in the batteries nearest to the work being assailed from the opening of the fire until the surrender of the fort, as well as to Brigade Surgeon Craven for the energy shown by him in the performance of the duties belonging to his position during the action.

Respectfully, your most obedient servant,

GEO. E. COOPER, Surgeon, U. S. Army, Medical Director Dept. of the South.

Maj. CHARLES G. HALPINE, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the South.


List of casualties occurring among the United States forces during the siege of Fort Pulaski, Ga., on April 10 and 11: [killed] Thomas Campbell, private, Company H, Third Rhode Island Artillery. There were a few slight injuries received by the cannoneers during the action, but none were reported as unfitting the men for the performance of their duties.

GEO. E. COOPER, Surgeon, U. S. Army, Medical Director Dept. of the South.


No. 7.

Report of Maj. Gen. John C. Pemberton, C. S. Army.

HDQRS. DEP’T OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA, Pocotaligo, S. C., April 11, 1862-11.40 p.m.

General LEE, Richmond, Va.:

I have just received the following telegraph from General Lawton:

General J. C. PEMBERTON:

A messenger from Pulaski reports that the fort surrendered at 2 o’clock to-day; seven breaches in the wall; all barbette guns dismounted, and three shots had entered the magazine.

I left Savannah at 5.30 p.m. At that time all was believed to be tight. Four regiments have been ordered to Tennessee. I should have them replaced. Martial law should be proclaimed from Savannah to Augusta, inclusive.



No. 8.

Report of Brig. Gen. Alexander R. Lawton, C. S. Army.


CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that the enemy opened fire on Fort Pulaski early on the morning of the 10th instant, as was evident from the rapid and continuous firing and bursting of shells, which could be seen from the city of Savannah and other accessible points of observation. {p.167} As communication with the fort was cut off, my knowledge of what occurred during the first day’s bombardment was derived exclusively from distant views and the sound of the guns. The firing continued during the entire day and at intervals during the night.

On the night of the 10th I attempted to communicate with the fort by a small boat, for the purpose of conveying to it a man detailed on signal service, who had recently arrived, under orders, from Richmond. He was carried there by Corporal Law, of the Phoenix Riflemen, stationed at Thunderbolt, who had successfully communicated with the fort more than once before since the steamers had been cut off.

It was observed that the fire on both sides ceased about 2 p.m. on the 11th, and these two men returned to the battery at Thunderbolt about 8 o’clock that evening. The only detailed information I have is derived from the verbal statement of these two men. They represent that they reached the fort about 6 o’clock on the morning of the 11th, in the midst of a heavy fire both from the fort and the enemy; that soon after their arrival a breach was made in the wall at the southeast angle, nearest the Tybee Island, and that before the fort surrendered this breach was wide enough to drive a four-horse team through; that the wall, which embraced seven casemates in succession, was nearly all knocked down, and that all the barbette guns which could play on their batteries at Tybee [Island] had been disabled; that several shots had been fired into the magazine. They further represent that 4 men had their arms or legs broken; none others seriously wounded, and none dead at the time they left. They further state that the ships were not engaged at all, but that all the firing was from batteries on Tybee [Island], chiefly from a battery of Parrott guns at King’s Landing, the nearest point of Tybee [Island] to the fort. As these men constituted no part of the garrison, they were advised by Colonel Olmstead to make their escape, if possible.

In reporting the statements of these two men I must express my belief that they gave an exaggerated account of the injury done to the fort, owing, perhaps, to the very exciting circumstances under which they must have entered and left it. It is truly painful to be left without any more definite or reliable details, but it is quite certain that Pulaski has fallen, as the enemy’s flag has been distinctly seen flying above the ramparts, and I consider it my duty to give you these statements as they were made to me. As there have been no returns received from Fort Pulaski for some time, I cannot give you the precise strength of the garrison. It consisted, however, of five companies, numbering a little over 400 men, and commanded by Col. C. H. Olmstead. The armament consisted of five 10-inch columbiads, nine 8-inch columbiads, three 42-pounders, three 10-inch mortars, one 12-inch mortar, one 24-pounder howitzer, two 12-pounder howitzers, twenty 32-pounders, and two 4 1/2-inch (Blakely) rifled guns, with 130 rounds of ammunition per gun.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. R. LAWTON, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Capt. J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Pocotaligo, S. C.


Main TitleThe War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.
Corporate NameUnited States. War Department.
Published/Created[S.l.], L.McKee and C.G. Robertson, 1859.
ContentsSer. I. v. 1-53 [serial no. 1-111] Formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of the first seizures of United States property in the southern states, and of all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, order and returns relating specially thereto. 1880-1898. 111 v.--ser. II. v. 1-8 [serial no. 114-121] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns, Union and Confederate, relating to prisoners of war and to state or political prisoners. 1894 [i.e. 1898]-1899. 8 v.--ser. III. v. 1-5 [serial no. 122-126] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns of the Union authorities (embracing their correspondence with the Confederate officials) note relating specially to the subjects of the first and second series. It embraces the reports of the Secretary of War, of the general-in-chief and of the chiefs of the several staff corps and departments ... 1899-1900. 5 v.--ser. IV. v. 1-3 [serial no. 127-129] Correspondence, orders, reports and returns of the Confederate authorities, similar to that indicated for the Union officials, as of the third series, but including the correspondence between the Union and Confederate authorities given in that series. 1900. 3 v.--[serial no. 130] General index and additions and corrections. Mr. John S. Moodey, indexer. Preface [by Elihu Root, Secretary of War]. Explanations. Synopsis of the contents of volumes. Special index for the principal armies, army corps, military divisions and departments. General index. Additions and corrections [arranged consecutively by volumes]. 1901.