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


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


WAR DEPARTMENT, August 2, 1861.


GENERAL: You will proceed to New York immediately and organize, in connection with-Captain DuPont, of the Navy, an expedition of 12,000 men. Its destination you and the naval commander will determine after you have sailed. You should sail at the earliest possible moment.

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War.

AUGUST 2, 1861.




WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, August 11, 1861.


SIR: You will proceed to the capitals of the States of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, and confer with the governors of those States on the subject which I have verbally communicated to you, and which is conveyed to the governors also in the letters herewith placed in your hands, and which you are requested to deliver. You will then proceed to New York City, as heretofore instructed.

Very respectfully,

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War.


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, August 10, 1861.

General T. W. Sherman, having been charged with the preparation of an expedition to rendezvous on Long Island Sound, will, on the part of this Department, consult with you as to the troops which can be earliest made available for this service.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War.

Their excellencies the governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island,


New YORK, August 20, 1861.

Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, A. A. G., U. S. A., Hdqrs. Army, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: In conformity to verbal instructions of the 10th instant I have delivered in person the letters placed in my hands by the honorable {p.169} Secretary of War to the governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and conferred with each of them on the subject of my mission. Their excellencies were animated with a very commendable interest in the success of rendezvousing the force on Long Island, and feel a deep solicitude that the Government should extend its efforts even in different directions from those already commenced.

I have ascertained that the probable number of men that can be concentrated on Long Island by September 5 from the above States, with a little increase of energy, is: Maine, three regiments-New Hampshire, two regiments; Massachusetts, five regiments; Rhode Island, one regiment; Connecticut, two regiments; or about 13,000 men.

Some of these regiments will contain men peculiarly well adapted to the nature of the service required, but unless some means outside of the camp on Long Island be taken to make heavy artillerists, this force will be entirely deficient in that element, which the nature of our operations will render of the first importance. Any deficiency, therefore, of “regular” artillerists should be made up of men from these regiments sent to some of our forts for instruction in that particular arm.

But, in consequence of recent orders from the War Department to the governors, the force above, considered available for the expedition, is to be diverted to Washington City, and it now, therefore, remains for the Department to decide from whence and when this expedition is to be organized. The time set by the Cabinet for the expedition to leave is rapidly approaching, and, even with the greatest dispatch, it will already be impracticable to prepare it within that time. The rumored threats of the enemy on the Potomac but only necessitate the greater dispatch of this expedition.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., August 27, 1861.


SIR: Your letter of the 20th instant having been submitted to the Secretary of War, I now inclose herewith letters to be delivered or forwarded by you to the several governors to whom they are addressed. You will observe the former quota from Massachusetts is reduced from five to three regiments, and three regiments are now called for from New York, in the hope of thus hastening the organization of the force to be under your command.

Very respectfully, &c.,

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, August 27, 1861.

SIR: This will be sent you by Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. A., who has heretofore communicated with you on the project of concentrating in a camp of instruction a number of regiments of United {p.170} States volunteers. As late emergencies may have somewhat interfered with this object, I have now to renew the request that you will put - regiments, as soon as they can be prepared for service, under the orders of General Sherman, who will indicate the place of rendezvous.

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

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

(Copy sent to the governor of Maine, three regiments; governor of New Hampshire, two regiments; governor of Massachusetts, three regiments; governor of Rhode Island, one regiment; governor of Connecticut, two regiments; governor of New York, three regiments.)


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, August 27, 1861.

His Excellency E. D. MORGAN, Governor of New York:

SIR: This will be handed you by Brig Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, who will explain to your excellency the purpose of the Department in requesting that three of the New York regiments first prepared for service may be put under the orders of General Sherman as soon as they can be made ready. I will also request your excellency to send the next three New York regiments which may be ready, after those above indicated, to Fort Monroe, Old Point Comfort. Va., and the Department will take it as a favor if you will inform it of your action in these matters.

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

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.



HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, New York, September 9, 1861.

I. The following-named officers are announced upon the staff of the commanding officer:

Maj. H. G. Wright, U. S. Engineers, chief engineer.

Capt. John McNutt, U. S. Ordnance, chief ordnance officer.

Capt. Rufus Saxton, Quartermaster’s Department, U. S. Army, chief quartermaster.

Capt. Michael R. Morgan, Commissary of Subsistence, U. S. Army, chief commissary.

Lieut. Silas Crispin U. S. Ordnance.

Assistant Surgeon Chas. A. McCall, Medical Department, U. S. Army.

Lieut. George Merrill, volunteer aide.

Lieut. James Magner, volunteer aide.

H. The camp at Hempstead Plains will be designated and known as Camp Winfield Scott.


IV. Brigadier-General Viele, having been assigned to duty with this command, will take post at Camp Winfield Scott.


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



HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, New York, September 13, 1861.

Capt. RUFUS SAXTON, Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. Army:

SIR: You will provide transportation in good, sound, and safe steamers for fourteen regiments of infantry from this place to localities not to be designated in the contract; said transportation to be ready to leave on the 5th of October. Besides the troops above mentioned, but in connection therewith, are to be transported some 1,400 tons of ordnance and ordnance stores, and the commissary and quartermaster’s stores, horses, &c., that will be hereafter turned over to you for that purpose.

Sufficient water must be provided for the men and horses for at least fifteen days, and proper and ample arrangements for cooking, &c., for the whole force. As it is very uncertain when the steamers can be discharged, and as some of them may be required for some time after reaching their destination, without any facilities or means of recoaling, the largest amount of coal must be taken, without prejudice to the stipulated cargo. No stipulation, however, should be made to keep the transports over fifteen days, and indeed this clause had better be left out altogether if practicable. Should it prove advantageous to the public interest to have a couple of these vessels in readiness by the 1st of October, in consideration of the immensity of your material and the difficulty of depositing it, you are authorized to do so, but the public economy must be consulted and adhered to in every contract.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, September 14, 1861.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, U. S. A., New York City, N. Y.:

General Scott says: “Come here with all your command without delay, leaving the smallest guard necessary to protect your camp.”

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, September 18, 1861.


MY DEAR SIR: To guard against misunderstanding I think fit to say that the joint expedition of the Army and Navy, agreed upon some time since, and in which General T. W. Sherman was and is to bear a conspicuous part, is in nowise to be abandoned, but must be ready to move by the 1st of or very early in October. Let all preparations go forward accordingly.

Yours, truly,




HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Washington, D. C., September 19, 1861.

The command will for the present be divided into three brigades, to be composed and commanded as follows:

First Brigade, Brigadier-General Viele.-The Forty-sixth, Forty-seventh, {p.172} and Forty-eighth New York, the Eighth Maine, and the Third New Hampshire Regiments.

Second Brigade, Brigadier-General -.-The two remaining Maine regiments, the remaining New Hampshire, and one of the Massachusetts regiments.

Third Brigade, Brigadier-General Wright.-The two Connecticut regiments and the first two Massachusetts regiments that arrive.

The Rhode Island regiment is reserved for special service and will be disposed of hereafter.

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


EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Hartford, Conn., September 20, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War, Washington:

SIR: I telegraphed you on the 17th and 18th instant, and would now repeat the dispatch, by saying that the Sixth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers left New Haven for Washington on the 17th instant with 974 men, rank and file, and the Seventh Regiment left on the 18th instant with about 1,000 men. Under the direction of General Sherman I fitted the regiments with only five wagons and two ambulances and a corresponding number of horses to each.

I am, dear sir, yours, with high regard,



EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Albany, N. Y., September 21, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that, in accordance with your telegraphic message of the 14th instant, received on the evening of that day, in the words following-

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, September 14, 1861.

Governor MORGAN, Astor House:

Secure transportation to-day, and forward immediately to Washington the three regiments intended for Sherman and all others that you can possibly send. Give them arms and start them. Sherman has been ordered here with all his force. Let me know immediately what you can do.

SIMON CAMERON Secretary of War.

I have dispatched six infantry regiments to Washington, commanded and of the strength, respectively, as near as can be ascertained at this moment: Forty-seventh New York, Colonel Moore 662; Forty-eighth New York, Colonel Perry, 950; Forty-sixth New fork, Colonel Rosa, 675; Forty-third New York, Colonel Vinton, 750; Forty-ninth New York, Colonel Bidwell, 800; Fiftieth New York, Colonel Stuart, 864. The first three were being organized for Brigadier-General Sherman, to be sent to his camp at Hempstead. The remaining three regiments would have been sent to General Wool at Fortress Monroe, agreeably to orders of 27th August, but for the above dispatch. I also forwarded {p.173} on Sunday last ten rifled cannon, with carriages, caissons, harness and shot, taking Major Hagner’s receipt therefor, to be replaced. I have not yet heard of the safe arrival of this battery.

The regiments forwarded are not all of the requisite strength, nor was it possible to send them in proper condition and comply with your telegraphic dispatch herein copied. I propose to retain recruiting the forces now in the State until near or quite full regimental organizations can be made therefrom and proper equipment can be provided, as the apprehended danger of an attack does not now, I believe, exist at Washington. It would be well for the General Government to direct the several departments of United States officers on duty in this State to fill promptly my requisitions, obey all orders, and to afford every facility in their power in aid of my efforts in supplying the General Government with troops; also to give me authority to continue the raising of regiments or batteries without limit until revoked, or, if in your judgment you deem it necessary and proper to fix a limit, let it be for twenty infantry regiments, additional to those called for, and the proper proportion additional of artillery and cavalry. I do not propose that this call should be public. I am sure it should not be, yet I need the power, as all present requirements, judging from present appearances, are quite sure to be filled. I also desire that, disregarding specifications and forms, the Government should send without delay a competent person to purchase horses in this State, Vermont, or elsewhere near by, for all the purposes required, whether for artillery, cavalry, or ambulance service. Horse equipments, sabers, and bugles are needed immediately. The inspection of horses should be here, and the delivery of them here. Inspection at Washington will greatly embarrass matters. They will be wanted for drilling purposes sooner than they can be purchased and delivered.

Colonel Bailey’s regiment at Elmira will consist of ten batteries; the guns, carriages, caissons, shot, harness, and uniforms for the men will be ready, and there will be no finer regiment in the service. He is almost discouraged, as he does not get detached from the United States service, and horses, horse equipments, sabers, and bugles are indispensable, and no ability to procure the former under the restrictions in the horse specifications, and the latter I have been informed would be provided by the Government. At this moment there is less difficulty in getting soldiers than arms. May I ask your immediate attention to the several subjects to which this communication relates?

Faithfully and truly, yours,



The within letter of Governor Morgan is referred to the Quartermaster-General, with the request that he will reply to that portion which refers to purchasing horses.

By order:



COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, EXEC. DEPT., Boston, Mass., September 23, 1861.

Brigadier-General SHERMAN, U. S. A.:

GENERAL: His excellency Governor Andrew directs me to write you that he expects you to exert all the personal effort within your power to secure to your command the contingent which you expect from Massachusetts, and prevent it from being diverted to General Butler or any {p.174} other officer. His excellency pledged to you his own personal efforts to secure to you the first regiments whose organization should be completed in the State after the dispatch to Washington of the five regiments which were forming when you first visited Boston. Those five regiments are all now in the field in active service, and the three which he conceives rightfully to belong to your command (being the three which will next be completed) are General Wilson’s two regiments, now encamped at Springfield, i.e., the Twenty-second and Twenty-third, and the Twenty-fifth Regiment, now encamped at Worcester. Other regiments can be furnished General Butler in proper time, and neither he nor any other commander ought to be allowed to divert from you these three regiments, which are yours almost by right. His excellency, so far as he can influence the matter, proposes to assign to General Butler the regiment being raised by Colonel Jones (the Twenty-sixth), who is a townsman and a personal and political friend of General Butler, and also an Irish regiment, whose organization is in progress. There can be no just pretense on which your claim to the Twenty-second, Twenty-third, and Twenty-fifth can be disputed; but as it is probable that it may, nevertheless, be drawn into question, his excellency relies upon you, for your own sake, to assist him to maintain it. The Twenty-second is already full, and it will be ready to move at the beginning of next week-certainly by October I. The Twenty-third and Twenty-fifth are also in an advanced state of progress.

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

A. G. BROWNE, JR., Captain and Military Secretary.


EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Boston, Mass., September 23, 1861.


GENERAL: Since the accompanying letter was written his excellency Governor Andrew has received a telegram from the office of the Secretary of War as follows:

Select the regiments yourself for Sherman, and supply him first.

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Acting Secretary of War.

I have the honor to remain, yours, very truly,

THOS. DREW, Assistant Military Secretary.



Capt. RUFUS SAXTON, Assistant Quartermaster:

SIR: The vessels chartered to transport the fourteen regiments are to form two divisions, to move and act together or separately, as the circumstances may require.

Division No. 1 is to accommodate 8,000 men, the ordnance and ordnance stores provisions, and material for a certain locality, the amount of which will be furnished you by the chief ordnance officer and commissary.


Division No. 2 is to accommodate, say, 5,000 men, with the ordnance and ordnance stores, provisions, and material for another locality, the amount of which will also be furnished you by the same officers.

The light guns and their carriages complete, with their ammunition, are to be so placed on the transports that they can be got off at a moment’s notice for immediate action. The regimental commissaries will have sufficient supplies furnished them for the voyage, so that the bulk of the supplies will remain intact during the voyage. The surf-boats are to be so secured that they can be launched with safety at a moment’s notice.

A transport must be fitted up mainly for the purpose of transporting the horses, and the greatest security afforded them by proper stalls and slings. A sufficient quantity of disinfectants must be taken along to insure health on board each vessel.

The shipping of so large a quantity of supplies and the necessary distribution of it among so many vessels will demand a great deal of care and system to prevent misplacement and delay in getting at the proper stores wanted at the period of landing, as well as to prevent losses, and you are authorized to employ all the assistance necessary to effect these important ends. The most of the staff officers of the command being necessarily employed with their brigades in Washington City, it will require the utmost exertion and management on your part to get this expedition fitted out within the time designated, and you are authorized to call on Colonel Tompkins for any assistance he can render, and if that is insufficient, to employ responsible agents to assist you in the work.

Very respectfully,

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


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, October 5, 1861.

Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL, Commanding Fort Monroe:

Please select 1,000 active men from the lot of fugitive contrabands now on hand at Fort Monroe, and prepare them to accompany General Sherman’s expedition to the Southern coast. Have them ready to embark by the 15th of October. General Sherman will provide transportation.

I have the honor to be, very truly, yours,

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Acting Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Washington, D. C., October 5, 1861.

I. Surg. George E. Cooper, Medical Department, U. S. Army, is hereby announced as medical director to this command.

II. Brigadier-General Viele’s brigade will continue its movement to Annapolis, as before directed.

III. Brig. Gen. H. G. Wright will move his brigade to Annapolis at the earliest possible moment. The Ninth Maine and the Fourth New Hampshire Regiments are assigned to this Third Brigade and will move with it, taking the place of the two Massachusetts regiments not arrived.

General Wright will apply to the headquarters of the Army of the {p.176} Potomac for the necessary transportation of baggage, property, and supplies.

IV. The Second Brigade of this division will be composed of the Massachusetts regiment daily expected in New York, the Eighth Michigan, the Fiftieth Pennsylvania and the Roundhead Pennsylvania Regiments. The Massachusetts regiment will embark at New York, and the three remaining regiments now in Washington will march as soon as practicable to Annapolis, under their brigade commander. In the event of no brigade commander being assigned to this brigade before that time, it will march on Wednesday morning, 9th instant, under the command of its senior colonel.

The headquarters of the Army of the Potomac will be applied to for transportation of baggage, property, and supplies.

V. Hamilton’s light battery of artillery will march at once to Annapolis and report to the commanding officer of the expedition.

VI. All the above-mentioned troops will be in position, with all brigade and staff officers at their posts, on Thursday, the 10th instant, in readiness for embarkation.

VII. The position at Annapolis will be taken up with fifteen days’ supply of subsistence and forage.

VIII. The movements above directed will be conducted by the brigade commanders, who will arrange their own transportation, and, to avoid interference, Brigadier-General Wright’s brigade will leave not later than Tuesday morning, 8th instant, and the Independent brigade positively on Wednesday morning.

IX. The embarkation will be made in accordance with orders hereafter published.

X. Brigade commanders will enforce a strict compliance with the regulation for allowance of personal baggage.

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

JUSTUS STEINBERGER, Assistant Adjutant-General.


WAR DEPARTMENT, October 14, 1861.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding Expedition to the Southern Coast:

SIR: In conducting military operations within States declared by the proclamation of the President to be in a state of insurrection you will govern yourself, so far as persons held to service under the laws of such States are concerned, by the principles of the letters addressed by me to Major-General Butler on the 30th of May and the 8th of August, copies of which are herewith furnished to you.* Special directions adapted to special circumstances cannot be given. Much must be referred to your own discretion as commanding general of the expedition. You will, however, in general avail yourself of the services of any persons, whether fugitives from labor or not, who may offer them to the National Government. You will employ such persons in such services as they may be fitted for-either as ordinary employés, or, if special circumstances seem to require it, in any other capacity, with such organization (in squads, companies, or otherwise) as you may deem most beneficial to the service; this, however, not being a general arming of them for military service. You will assure all loyal masters that Congress will provide just compensation to them for the loss of the services of the persons so employed. {p.177} it is believed that the course thus indicated will best secure the substantial rights of loyal masters and the proper benefits to the United States of the services of all disposed to support the Government, while it will avoid all interference with the social systems or local institutions of every State, beyond that which insurrection makes unavoidable and which a restoration of peaceful relations to the Union under the Constitution will immediately remove.


THOMAS A. SCOTT, Acting Secretary of War.

* See under these dates in Vol. I, Series III, pp. 282, 402.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, October 14, 1861.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, U. S. Volunteers:

SIR: You have been selected to command the land portion of a joint expedition with a naval squadron, and selected on account of its importance. A short letter of general instructions you have already received from the War Department, and are fully impressed with the principal objects of the expedition. Wishing to leave you a wide margin of discretion, I have but little to add, and that little relates to the principles which govern co-operation in joint expeditions. No land officer can be subjected in strictness to the orders of any sea officer until placed on ship to serve as a marine, and no sea officer under the orders of a land officer unless placed in some fortification to assist in its defense or before it to assist in its capture. But land troops embarked in vessels of war for transportation merely will be considered, in respect to naval commanders, as passengers, subject, of course, to the internal regulations of the vessel.

Cordiality and deference on the part of our land forces towards those of our Navy in the service in question need scarcely to be urged. Hearty reciprocity cannot fail to be the result. To this end free and frequent conferences between the joint commanders are recommended. Accordingly the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, requires and expects the most effective and cordial co-operation between the commanders of the expedition, their officers and men, and will hold all, in proportion to rank, to a strict and severe responsibility for any failure to preserve harmony and to secure all the objects of the joint expedition.

You will take care to maintain strict order and discipline among your troops, not to neglect opportunities of making the prescribed returns to the Adjutant-General, and to report to him every incident of importance that may occur to your command.

I am, with great respect,




HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Annapolis, Md., October 14, 1861.

The following-named officers are announced upon the staff of the general commanding:

Capt. Louis H. Pelouze, Fifteenth Infantry, acting assistant adjutant-general.

First Lieut. George Merrill, U. S. volunteers, aide-de-camp.

Capt. Rufus Saxton, assistant quartermaster, U. S. Army, chief quartermaster. {p.178}

Capt. Michael R. Morgan, commissary subsistence, U. S. Army, chief commissary.

Capt. Quincy A. Gillmore, U. S. Engineers, chief engineer.

Capt. John McNutt, Ordnance Department, chief of ordnance.

Surg, George E. Cooper, Medical Department, U. S. Army, medical director.

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

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Act. Asst. Adjt. General.



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Annapolis, Md., October 15, 1861.

The following instructions are promulgated for the information and guidance of the troops composing this command:

I. The troops will embark on the transports, which will be specially assigned to brigades and regiments. The senior officer on board each transport will assign each company, when embarked, its position, and see that each man has been assigned a place or bunk, which assignment will remain permanent while on board.

II. The arms, accouterments, and knapsack of each man will be disposed of with a view to convenience and security, and the ammunition, in cartridge-boxes, will be so placed as to be entirely secure from fire.

III. Every precaution will be taken against fire. Smoking between decks or in the cabins will be prohibited. No lights will be permitted between decks, except such ship-lanterns as may be directed to be suspended in secure positions.

IV. As transports on sea voyages can carry but a limited supply of water, every precaution will be taken to prevent waste or its unnecessary use. The daily allowance per man, including that required for cooking purposes, will be limited to one gallon, and the allowance for each horse to three gallons. This quantity may be reduced by the senior officer on each transport, if deemed necessary.

V. A sufficient guard will be mounted daily, with side-arms, and so posted as will best prevent fire and any improper use of water.

VI. No arm will be loaded on board of transports without proper orders. Both arms and ammunition will be kept in a serviceable condition, and at all times in readiness for use at a moment’s notice. Reserve ammunition will be deposited in a safe position, the master of the transport to be consulted as to its location.

VII. The master of each transport will be requested by the senior officer on board to provide wind-sails sufficient to keep the men below decks comfortable at all times.

VIII. Much attention will be paid to the cooking. Such arrangements will be made with the masters of transports as will insure a regular supply of meals to all. The caboose will be kept free of all persons not sent to it on duty. Fancy cooking-such, for instance, as frying meats and dough in fat-is prohibited. Soups, boiled meats, and hard bread compose the true and healthy diet of the soldier on transports at sea.

IX. The Quartermaster’s Department will supply the proper disinfecting agents to secure the comfort and health of the command.

By order of Gen. T. W. Sherman:

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Act. Asst. Adjt. General.



WASHINGTON, October 17, 1861.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Annapolis:

If General McClellan should consent to spare the New York Seventy ninth Regiment to join your expedition with General Stevens, do you want them, and have you transportation for them? Answer immediately.



ANNAPOLIS, October 17, 1861.

Hon. THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War:

Have received your dispatch. I want the Highlanders (Seventy-ninth), and I have transportation. Send them on immediately.



WAR DEPARTMENT, October 17, 1861.


If Generals Stevens and Sherman want the New York Seventy-ninth to go with expedition, can you spare them without serious loss or inconvenience? Please answer.



CAMP GRIFFIN, October 17, 1861.

Hon. THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War:

I gave General Sherman all the regiments he asked for. At least two of those originally intended for him, and promised to me, have been diverted from me. The artillery promised me to replace Hamilton’s battery have not been given to me. I will not consent to one other man being detached from this army for that expedition. I need far more than I now have to save this country, and cannot spare any disciplined regiment. Instead of diminishing this army, true policy would dictate its immediate increase to a large extent. It is the task of the Army of the Potomac to decide the question at issue. No outside expedition can effect the result. I hope that I will not again be asked to detach anybody.

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General, Commanding.



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Annapolis, Md., October 17, 1861.

The embarkation of the troops of this division will commence immediately and in accordance with the following order and assignment:

I. First Brigade, Brigadier-General Viele, commanding.

Third Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers to steamer Atlantic.

Forty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers to steamer Webster.

Forty-seventh Regiment New York Volunteers to steamer Roanoke.

Forty-eighth Regiment New York Volunteers to steamer Empire City.

Eighth Regiment Maine Volunteers to steamer Ariel.

The horses and wagons pertaining to the First Brigade are assigned to the steamers Belvidere and Philadelphia.


II. Second Brigade, Brig. Gen. I. I. Stevens, commanding.

Roundhead Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers to steamer Ocean Queen.

Five companies of the Fiftieth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers to steamer Ocean Queen.

Five companies of the Fiftieth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers to steamer Vanderbilt.

Eighth Regiment Michigan Volunteers to steamer Vanderbilt.

The horses and wagons pertaining to the Second Brigade are assigned to the steamer Ben De Ford.

III. Third Brigade, Brig. Gen. H. G. Wright, commanding.

Fourth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers to the steamer Baltic.

Sixth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers to the steamers Marion and Parkersburg.

Seventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers to the steamer Illinois.

Ninth Regiment Maine Volunteers to the steamer Coatzacoalcos.

The horses and wagons pertaining to the Third Brigade are assigned to the steamer Baltic.

IV. Hamilton’s light battery to steamer Ericsson.

V. The Battalion of Volunteer Engineers (now at Fortress Monroe, Va.) to the steamer Star of the South.

VI. The regiment of Rhode Island volunteers (now at Fortress Monroe, Va.) to the steamer Cahawba.

VII. Division headquarters to the steamer Atlantic and the horses pertaining thereto to the steamer Ericsson.

VIII. Each brigade commander will select from the transports assigned to his brigade the one upon which the headquarters will embark, the name of the transport thus selected to be reported to these headquarters.

IX. The horses and equipments of mounted officers will, as far as practicable, be so placed as to be disembarked at the shortest notice.

X. Brigade commanders will issue and enforce such orders as will effectually prevent any person not belonging to the military organization from embarking on their transports, and will prevent any stores from being shipped but the necessary provisions and supplies, including the authorized allowance of camp and garrison equipage.

XI. No sutler but the one appointed by the Secretary of War will be recognized in any manner or received on board the transports belonging to this command.

By order of General T. W. Sherman:

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Annapolis, Md., October 17, 1861.

It is confidently expected that General Orders, No. 15, current series, from these headquarters will be enforced with vigor and promptitude. The officers concerned will infuse into their men a spirit of energy adequate to the occasion; they will see that their respective commands move with life and alacrity; that all work is so systematized that every man and body of men may work to advantage.

Each officer and man will apply his every effort to the task set before him, and will exhibit at all times and upon all occasions that spirit of {p.181} energy and industry so essential in every well-disciplined command and without which successful war cannot be prosecuted.

Whilst the general commanding expects in this way the support of his command, he regrets to say that he has recently noticed a few instances of a lax, loose, and lazy bearing on the part of a few men when on duty. This spirit, if generally diffused, would ignore all usefulness and destroy all prospects of successful operations.

Commanders should at once bring to their official notice all cases of this nature, and if shame will not bring the offender to a sense of duty, punishment must be resorted to.

II. All horses and wagons that the chief quartermaster decides cannot be taken on the transports will be transferred to the quartermaster of the post, with the requisite invoices.

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

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.


WASHINGTON, October 18, 1861.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Annapolis, Md.:

Your dispatch of yesterday received and shown to General McClellan. I have promised him to not break his army here without his consent.

I do not think I shall go to Annapolis.




HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Steamer Atlantic, October 23, 1861.

This command will sail for its destination in a very few days, under convoy of a naval squadron, commanded by Commodore DuPont. The transports will move in three columns and in rear of the main body of the squadron. The transports belonging to the First Brigade will compose the right column, those of the Second Brigade and the Third Rhode Island Regiment the center, and those of the Third Brigade and the Battalion of Volunteer Engineers the left column. Each vessel will retain its order in column, and the columns will move in parallel lines, equidistant, regulating from the right. The sail vessels and other transports inadequate to the task of sailing with the fleet will be towed by such steamers as the chief quartermaster may designate. Commodore DuPont, in co-operation with the land forces, has kindly made such an arrangement of his fleet as will secure the transports from unnecessary diffusion, and all senior officers on transports and masters of vessels will enter into the spirit of and conform to these arrangements, a plan of which will be duly given.

II. The general commanding announces to the expeditionary corps that it is intended to make a descent on the enemy’s coast, and probably under circumstances which will demand the utmost vigilance, coolness, and intrepidity on the part of every officer and man of his command. In consideration of the justness and holiness of our cause, of the ardent patriotism which has prompted the virtuous and industrious citizens of our land to fly to their country’s standard in the moment of her peril, he most confidently believes that he will be effectually and efficiently supported in his efforts to overthrow a zealous, active, and wily foe, whose cause is unholy and principles untenable.


III. On the approach of the transports to the place of disembarkment each brigade commander will anchor his transports as near each other as practicable, and will at the proper time superintend the disembarkment of his brigade. The surf-boats, with other means for disembarkment on hand, are believed to be capable of landing at once from 3,000 to 4,000 men. The surf-boats are of different sizes. Two of the largest may take the officers and men of a company of 100 men; two of the next size a company of 70 men, and so on in proportion. The other means of transportation may take the remainder of a brigade, with probably one or two sections of field artillery.

IV. The disembarkment will be made in three lines. The first line will be the brigade of General Wright, flanked by two sections of Hamilton’s light battery, and accompanied by the squad of Regular Sappers and Miners and two companies of Serrell’s volunteer engineers, with a sufficient supply of intrenching tools and sand bags. The second line will be the brigade of General Stevens, and, if necessary, accompanied by a section of Hamilton’s battery and two field pieces, to be manned by a company of the Third Rhode Island Regiment. The reserve will be composed of General Viele’s brigade, the remaining portion of Serrell’s volunteer engineers, and the Third Rhode Island Regiment, and will be disposed of according to circumstances.

V. The boats of not only each company, but of each regiment and brigade, will land abreast as far as practicable, and in the order of battle. The utmost effort will be made to effect the landing in that order. Should it be found impracticable to land immediately from the lighters then the surf-boats, when emptied, will immediately proceed to the rapid landing of the men from the lighters, and as soon as the whole line is landed all the boats will return and bring forward in like manner the troops of the second line, and so with the reserve.

VI. The general officers and commanders of battalions, &c., will be furnished in time with the plan of descent and the particular order of battle. It is probable that the first line will have to conquer the ground on which to establish itself, and, if opposed by greatly superior numbers, to maneuver, and perhaps to momentarily intrench. If not seriously opposed, the first line, after overcoming immediate difficulties, will continue to drive backward the enemy, but will not venture beyond supporting distance from the shore before the landing of the general commanding or without his special orders.

VII. The commanding officer of the naval squadron has kindly consented to furnish 300 sailors to assist in launching and manning the surf-boats, and he appeals to the patriotism of the masters, mates, and sailors of the several transports to furnish an additional number of coxswains and oarsmen. Any deficiency of oarsmen in surf-boats will be supplied from the platoons on board of these respectively, so that each boat, when ready, may be rapidly rowed ashore. The soldier oarsmen will land and form with their platoons.

VIII. General and field officers, with their respective staffs, will endeavor to obtain landing boats for themselves, with the necessary coxswains and oarsmen from the transports and other hired vessels of the fleet.

IX. The senior officer of the troops on board each transport will arrange with the master for voluntary helps of this kind which may be needed and can be given, and will make a special report to these headquarters as early as practicable of the assistance thus rendered.

X. As soon as the landing shall have been effected the surf and other {p.183} landing boats will revert to the chief quartermaster for immediate supplies.

XI. The sick and non-effective men will remain on board the several transports until provision can be made for them on shore. The noneffectives will be specially charged with the care of the sick, under directions to be left by the respective medical officers.

XII. Medical officers, excepting one from each brigade, to be designated by the respective brigade commanders, will land with the troops. The three medical officers left afloat will, under the directions of the medical director, divide the duty of visiting all the sick on board, including those of the Third Rhode Island Regiment and the Battalion of Volunteer Engineers.

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

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.




In consequence of the present unexpected delay in puffing to sea, on account of unfavorable weather, it is considered indispensable to impress upon the minds of all commanding officers of troops on transports the strict necessity of conforming to orders heretofore given, respecting cleanliness and the economy in the use of water.

To still further secure the command from an eventual want of water, all steam transports will, whilst lying still, be occupied in condensing as much water as practicable.

It is probable that some of the transports will hold their troops from twenty to thirty days.

All commanding officers will see the necessity of having everything in readiness for a prompt debarkation. The field artillery particularly will have its guns, carriages, horses and harness ready to disembark without unnecessary delay. All obstructions on board preventing this promptness must be removed as soon as the transports get to sea.

Every transport, as well as the troops on board, must be ready to sail at any moment, when the proper signals are given.

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

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hampton Road., October 27, 1861.

General M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

The unexpected delay of the expedition at this point owing to the stormy and unfavorable state of the weather for our light vessels and tugs, will, it is very much to be apprehended, produce a failure in our supply of water.

Our horses have already been on board some thirteen days and men a week. Although all the vessels were loaded with all the water they could carry, some of the transports are already reduced to a supply for nine days.


Major Belger has been written to, with an urgent request for him to forward immediately to this place 200,000 gallons, and as we shall leave here the very first favorable moment, the post quartermaster will have sealed instructions for the water transports, directing to what point they shall proceed.

The resources of Fort Monroe are not at our disposal, even if they had more water than they want themselves.

Will you please to instruct Major Belger to promptly send forward the water asked for? The weather is such that Commodore DuPont decides it yet unsafe for our fleet to put to sea.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: By special messenger I would inform you that the expedition under the command of Brigadier-General Sherman is still in Hampton Roads. Brigadier-General Sherman has been here since Tuesday last. On his arrival, in order to hasten his departure, I gave him a large amount of supplies, among others 350,000 rounds of cartridges. It appears that his ammunition was stored at the bottom of his ships, and could not be got at short of four days. To prevent this delay I granted him the ammunition, which leaves me less than 100 rounds to each man of my command, which I earnestly request that you will have increased to the number delivered to Brigadier-General Sherman with as little delay as practicable. When I gave the ammunition I was under the impression that the expedition would leave immediately. It is now nearly seven days since the general received the ammunition, and the fleet is still in port, and when it will sail is more than I can tell. I am now furnishing ten days’ rations for the soldiers, and for the same reasons assigned for the ammunition furnished, that their rations are stowed where they cannot be got at without several days’ delay I will venture to assert that a worse-managed expedition could not well be contrived. Every opportunity has been given the rebels to be prepared to meet them at any point on the coast. Among other opportunities a deserter from the fleet, a petty officer (the party referred to I find upon inquiry to be Mr. Hale, a young officer connected with the Navy, and, I believe, a relative of Secretary Welles, a native of Virginia), carried with him the signal book, and, as he said, a knowledge of the destination of the expedition.

My object, however, in making this communication is to hasten a supply of ammunition for small-arms. In supplying Brigadier-General Sherman’s command, I have not now 100 rounds for each man remaining in store. I would again call your attention to the garrison of Fort Monroe. I am deficient in artillerists, both in officers and men. I could not man more than ten guns. I made a special report on this subject to Lieutenant General Scott, 26th instant.

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

JOHN E. WOOL, Major-General.



Abstract from return of the Expeditionary Corps, commanded by Brig. Gen.. Thomas W. Sherman, for October 28, 1861.

For duty.Total.For duty.Total.
Division staff2626252551
First Brigade1851923,6823,7963,988
Second Brigade1371413,0153,1963,337
Third Brigade1471883,5743,7473,900
Troops not brigaded61621,2421,3151,377

Organization of the Expeditionary Corps, commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. Army, October 28, 1861.

  • First Brigade.
    Brig. Gen. EGBERT L. VIELE.
    • 8th Maine, Col. Lee Strickland.
    • 3d New Hampshire, Col. Enoch Q. Fellows.
    • 46th New York, Col. Rudolph Rosa.
    • 47th New York, Col. Henry Moore.
    • 48th New York, Col. James H. Perry.
  • Second Brigade.
    Brig Gen. ISAAC I. STEVENS.
    • 8th Michigan, Col. William M. Fenton.
    • 79th New York, Lieut. Col. William H. Nobles.
    • 50th Pennsylvania, Col. B. C. Christ.
    • 100th Pennsylvania, Col. Daniel Leasure.
  • Third Brigade.
    Brig. Gen. HORATIO G. WRIGHT.
    • 6th Connecticut, Col. John L. Chatfield.
    • 7th Connecticut, Col. Alfred H. Terry.
    • 9th Maine, Col. Rishworth Rich.
    • 4th New Hampshire, Col. Thomas J. Whipple.
  • Troops not brigaded.
    • 1st New York Engineers, Col. Edward W. Serrell.
    • 3d Rhode Island, Col. Nathaniel W. Brown.
    • 3d U. S. Artillery, Battery E, Capt. John Hamilton.



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, U. S. F. Wabash (off Port Royal, S. C.), Nov. 4, 1861.

The general commanding has the unparalleled gratification to congratulate the officers and men of his command upon their safe arrival at this point, after a most perilous and tempestuous passage from Hampton Roads.

Some vessels probably have been lost, but it is believed that the hand of Providence has saved the lives of all. For this let us be thankful to the Ruler of our destinies, in whom we must ever trust for protection.

Soldiers! Let the dangers you have encountered and the anxieties you have experienced be an incentive to a greater exertion on your part in the holy cause in which you are engaged. The eves of your country are upon you. She expects you to conquer. Deceive not her expectations. Be cool and determined. Act only at the command of your officers, and be prompt to do so. Be not led away by a vain and spontaneous enthusiasm, nor restrained by a want of willingness or alacrity. Let your officers judge when you are to act; to do otherwise would lead to confusion and disgrace. Some of you have not had proper opportunities for instruction; let coolness, firmness, and the cold steel take the place of better instruction.


Soldiers! You are contending against an enemy who depreciates your manhood, who denies that your prowess is equal to his. Belie this sentiment, or you will disgrace yourselves and your nativity.

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

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.


HILTON HEAD, Port Royal, S. C., November 9, 1861.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the arrival at this place of all the vessels which I chartered in New York, having on board General Sherman’s entire command, with the greater part of the supplies. For your approval of the care exercised in the selection of vessels for the transportation of troops, I wish to mention that we rode out one of the severest gales which have occurred on this coast for a long time without losing a single man.

The fleet left Hampton Roads on the 29th of October. On the 1st of November it encountered a heavy gale, which scattered it in every direction. The quartermaster’s steamer (Winfield Scott, Captain Seldy) lost all her cargo, and was so much injured that she can never leave this port. The quartermaster’s steamer (Union) with stores, it is reported, went ashore on the South Carolina coast, and was lost; her crew taken prisoners. The steamers Peerless and Osceola, sent by Colonel Tompkins from New York, with cattle, were lost. The crew of the Peerless was saved. The steamer Belvidere, from Baltimore, with horses, was compelled to put back to Hampton Roads, having thrown overboard a portion of her horses. On the 3d of November the fleet arrived at this place. It gives me great pleasure to report that so far the expedition has been a complete success. We are now in complete possession of the finest harbor in the South, where the largest ships can enter and ride at anchor in safety. In the heart of the richest part of the cotton district, with direct and easy communication by water inland with Charleston and Savannah, it possesses unrivaled advantages for a quartermaster’s and naval depot, and in the future a great commercial city must grow up here.

A place of such importance cannot be held for any great length of time without large re-enforcements. All the stores have now to be landed through the surf; a laborious, tedious operation, detaining these large ships a long time in discharging their cargo. Economy requires that a substantial wharf should be built. I have made a requisition on Colonel Tompkins for a steam pile-driver and scow and the plank necessary to cover the pier. If this meets your approval, I hope that Colonel Tompkins may be directed to send them as soon as practicable.

The water ships have arrived. The brilliant victory gained by the naval fleet enabled the troops to land much sooner than was expected when the request for water was sent, and rendered our wants in this respect less pressing than they would have been under other circumstances. An abundance of good water can be had by sinking wells.

In order to insure regularity and promptness in forwarding supplies to the troops, I would respectfully call your attention to the propriety of keeping two or three first-class steamers like the Atlantic and Baltic running constantly between this place and New York.

Contraband negroes are coming in in great numbers. In two days {p.187} 150 have come in, mostly able-bodied men, and it will soon be necessary to furnish them with coarse clothing.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

R. SAXTON, Captain, U. S. Army, Assistant Quartermaster.


NOVEMBER 15, 1861.

Respectfully referred to the Secretary of War. The requisition for pile-driver has been approved. The safe escape of all the vessels engaged by Captain Saxton did credit to his care and judgment.

There should be a regular line of large steamers between New York and Port Royal now running as transports. I know of none better than the Atlantic and Baltic, and I suggest the propriety of purchasing instead of chartering for the consideration of the Department of War.


M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General.

NOVEMBER 16, 1861.

I read the indorsement to the Secretary, who decides that the Baltic and Atlantic may be purchased. Requested Mr. Tucker to see to this.

M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General.



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

The general commanding is pained to know that some of the troops of his command have, without orders, invaded the premises of private individuals and committed gross depredations upon their property, and what he considers a matter of still graver character and most prejudicial to the discipline of the command and the interests of the service is, that some commissioned officers (it is hoped but few) have not only connived at these outrages, but have actually participated in them.

The rights of citizens to be secure in their property and the character of the American Army are too important to allow such transactions to go unrebuked, The first duty of the soldier is the protection of the citizen. The political character of the citizen is not to be judged and weighed in this manner by the soldier, and there must be by him no molestation of his lawful rights. The Government alone is to decide how far the present unfortunate condition of this portion of the country is to authorize or demand a departure from the well-settled principles of American law.

Brigade commanders and all other commanding officers will at once see that these depredations cease, and endeavor to ascertain the names of the perpetrators, that they may be brought to justice.

All horses, cattle, and other private property which have been taken off any of the plantations and now in the hands of officers or soldiers, will be immediately surrendered to the chief quartermaster, who will cause an inventory to be taken of the same, stating, if practicable, to whom the property belongs, and make a report to these headquarters.

II. All public property left by the enemy, such as muskets, accouterments, &c., and now in the hands of soldiers or citizens, will be immediately turned over to the chief ordnance officer, Lieut. Francis J. Shunk.


III. All persons found outside the pickets without a pass will be arrested and reported to these headquarters.

By order of Brigadier-General T. W. Sherman:

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., November 15, 1861.

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

SIR: I have the honor to report that, in consequence of the difficulty and great amount of labor in landing our stores, some delay must necessarily occur in continuing operations. This delay is as distasteful to us as it must be to the authorities at Washington. In the mean while a matter of the first importance is to erect proper defenses at Hilton Head as well as to strengthen the land side of the fort, to the end of securing this important point with the least number of men. This is being done, and a plan of the same will be furnished as soon as it can be prepared.

In conducting operations here two modes suggest themselves:

First, to hold Hilton Head and Philip’s Island with a strong force, and proceed with a sufficient force, in connection with the naval fleet under Commodore DuPont, and open another important harbor. This would be carrying out the original and actual object of the expedition, as I understand it, and for which object only our means have been provided.

Second, to occupy the points first mentioned as well as Beaufort as a base of operations, and act thence on a line of operations embracing Port Royal Island and the road to Pocotaligo, the nearest point of the Savannah and Charleston Railroad, into the southern counties of the State, threatening Savannah, &c., or to operate from the base of Hilton Head through the interior creeks and channels leading into the Savannah River below Savannah and near Fort Jackson, thus laying siege to Savannah and cutting off Fort Pulaski.

For these last operations the former would require more land transportation than we are provided with, and the latter would require an outfit of boats, that we are also insufficiently provided with. The former would also require a small cavalry force. The only course, therefore, at present is, notwithstanding the apparent opening for more brilliant operations, the first and original plan.

The surrounding country evacuated by the whites, as described in my last, has upon it an abundance of valuable property, including ungathered crops and cotton mostly gathered. I have directed all the means of transportation, such as boats, scows, wagons, &c., to be collected for the use of the Army; but in regard to other private property, such as can be made of no injury to us in the operations of the enemy, I have directed not to be interfered with. This, however, is a difficult matter, and there exists too great a propensity to rob and pillage the houses and plantations left in charge only of the blacks. I hope to receive instructions on this point; that is, in a country entirely deserted by its white inhabitants, all of whom are known to be disloyal, how far I am to authorize the appropriation of private property.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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




HDQRS. EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., November 15, 1861.


III. The fort on Hilton Head will be known as Fort Welles, and the one on Bay Point, heretofore called Fort Beauregard, will be known as Fort Seward.


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

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., November 17, 1861.

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

SIR: I have the honor to report that the position of the forces here necessitates the most active operations during the coming winter, the climate and localities of these islands rendering it impracticable to carry on operations upon them after April next. We have now possession of the valuable harbors of Port Royal and Saint Helena. One more will probably be in our possession in a short time. A fort should be constructed on Hunting Island, to secure that important roadstead of Saint Helena. After well securing these important points, and establishing a firm base from which to operate inland, there will not be left a very large force disposable for internal operations. I would therefore recommend that an additional force of 10,000 men be sent to this point as early as practicable, and among them some regular troops, including some companies of artillery, for garrisoning the forts; the volunteer force not being adapted to the artillery service.

We shall require three or four steamers, drawing not over 9 feet, and capable of conveying 800 or 1,000, for operations in the rivers and creeks, and a couple of ferry-boats, drawing not over 5 or 6 feet of water, would be of the greatest advantage. We would require also about 100 rowboats, capable of carrying from 40 to 50 men each, with kedges and oars. A few of them should be large enough and so constructed as to transport pieces of artillery with their carriages, including siege guns. I also take the liberty of recommending that the light-ship formerly stationed at the entrance of Port Royal channel be replaced, and that the lighthouse on Hunting Islands, Saint Helena Sound, be relighted. It is my duty also to recommend that some more engineer officers be sent here.

The duties of that corps are too important and too extended to be left to the few we have here. It is also important to have at least three more ordnance sergeants here for the several artillery stations, the two heretofore furnished having been absorbed at Forts Welles and Seward.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., November 17, 1861.

The following troops will be put in readiness to embark, as follows:

Forty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers on the steamer Empire City.


Forty-seventh Regiment New York Volunteers on the steamer Star of the South.

Forty-eighth Regiment New York Volunteers on the steamer Cahawba.

Eighth Regiment Maine Volunteers on the steamer Ariel.

Third Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers six companies on the steamer Daniel Webster and four companies on the steamer Marion.

Two companies of the Regiment of Volunteer Engineers on the steamer Oriental.

Three companies of the Third Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers on the steamer Matanzas.

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

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


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., November 25, 1861.

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

SIR: I have the honor to report that we have found stowed away on Ladies Island two lighthouse apparatus, including lamps and reflectors, with a large quantity of oil. I thought it best to turn the same over to Commodore DuPont, as he has better facilities for keeping them safe and secure than we have. He had before one also which he found at Beaufort.

It having been learned by a reconnaissance sent to the neighboring island that the forts on Tybee Island had been deserted by the rebels, I informed Commodore DuPont of the same, whereupon he yesterday started some gunboats down there, and discovered it to be a fact. We have therefore another lighthouse, which should be relighted at once. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., November 25, 1861.

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

SIR: Our scouts have found the fort on Ladies Island covering the Coosaw River which was deserted by the rebels at the time of the capture of this place The scouts spiked the guns, but we shall remove them as soon as practicable to this place. Our scouts have been up into the vicinity of Port Royal Ferry, and discovered that the advanced outpost of the enemy is at that point and that their main body is at Pocotaligo. There is another large force also collecting at Grahamville, nearer to Savannah, and also on the railroad, the advance post of which is at Bluffton, a small village some 10 or 14 miles from here. The object of these forces is undoubtedly to protect the railroad and cover the interior of the State against our invasion in that direction, which, from all the information I can gather, they are daily expecting.

I have already briefly referred to our facilities, or rather want of facilities, {p.191} for such an operation, and the propriety of confining ourselves with our present means to establishing a firm and secure base on the coast, and thus be prepared for any ulterior movements inland that the service may demand.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


OFFICE CHIEF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEER E. C., Hilton Head, S. C., November 25, 1861.

Capt. LOUIS H. PELOUZE, Fifteenth Infantry, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: In accordance with instructions from General Sherman, I have examined the ferries from this island to the main-land, situated at Ferry Point and Spanish Wells, and have to report as follows:

The distance from Ferry Point to the large white house opposite is 2,714 yards, or 1.54 miles. The landing on this side is tolerably good, the slope of the beach being sufficiently abrupt to allow small boats to land, and vessels of 15 feet draught to come within 50 yards of the shore; but from the intermixture of sand and mud it is hardly firm enough for anything but infantry to march upon. The shape of the point and the approaches to it are such that a small body of men could easily prevent the landing of a hostile force. A flat or marsh 600 yards wide, at the large white house, extends entirely around the south point of the main-land between May River and the small creek on the east side of the ferry, thus rendering the debarkation of troops in numbers on the main impracticable. At high tide small boats can be run over the flat in front of the house and infantry landed, but at low tide the only means of approaching the shore is by a small slough running nearly east through the flat. In this way one or two boats at a time can be pushed to within 200 yards of the house, but the men can only reach the solid ground by bogging through the mud. The negroes living on the adjacent plantations inform me that this ferry is only used at high tide, and at such times men, horses, and carriages can be crossed in light-draught scows. Spanish Wells is situated opposite the mouth of May River. It has a good landing, on a tolerably firm sand beach, and deep water at 50 yards from shore. The first landing on the main is up May River, distant about 5 miles, at a point in front of the farm-houses of Mrs. Calk. At this place boats of considerable draught can lie alongside the shore, and land men by putting out the ordinary stage-planks. The channel all the way is deep enough for boats drawing 15 feet. This place is in every way suitable for a steam ferry. Its communications with Hilton Head are by the usual roads of the island.

The rebel picket of six or eight horsemen did not attempt to resist our landing at Buckingham Ferry, but fled upon our approach. Shortly afterwards the cotton-house on an adjoining plantation, said to belong to a Mr. Baynard, was observed to be on fire, and later in the evening one owned by Mrs. Calk was also set on fire and burned. The pickets on the main-land; stationed at the places of exit, seemed to be intended to keep the negroes from running off rather than to prevent our approach.

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

J. H. WILSON, First Lieut., Top. Bug., Chief Top. Eng. Exp’y Corps.



HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, November 27, 1861.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, U. S. A., Port Royal, S. C.:

SIR: Your letters of the 11th,* 15th, and 17th instant have been received. Four additional regiments have been ordered to join your command. The General-in-Chief desires you, through your quartermaster, to seize all cotton and other property which may be used to our prejudice. The cotton and such other articles as may not be required for the use of your command will be shipped by return transports to the quartermaster in New York, there to be sold on public account. The services of negroes will be used in picking, collecting, and packing cotton, as well as in constructing defensive works, &c. Private property of individuals should not be interfered with, unless it be of military utility under the circumstances you mention, and you will be justified in taking measures to prevent pillage or any outrage so far as the exigencies of the service will permit, no matter what relations the persons or property may bear to the United States Government.

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

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.

* See capture of Fort Walker, &c., p. 5.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., November 27, 1861.


SIR: For the want of an engineer officer (one being sick, one engaged on a reconnaissance on Saint Helena Sound, and the remaining one necessarily employed here) I went down to Tybee Island last evening, and this morning made a sufficient reconnaissance of that island as to ascertain its general topography and the range of the enemy’s guns on Fort Pulaski. I find it not impossible to reduce Pulaski from this island, though it will be a work of time. Mortar and breaching batteries may be constructed so as not to be very seriously annoyed by their guns. I find that their casemate guns will hardly range to the island, while their barbette guns will explode shells upon the island with certainty and considerable accuracy. A further reconnaissance will be made as soon as an engineer officer can be spared.

Not hearing from the Department to-day as to our future operations, (as the Bienville has just returned), I shall have to act from my own judgment alone, or be the cause of a delay in operations that will militate seriously to our disadvantage on account of the rapidity of time that must be made use of to avoid being caught by earliness of spring. In order, therefore, to meet the wants of the operations of this portion of the Army, I have to request that as much cavalry, not exceeding a regiment, ten regiments of infantry, and one regiment of regular artillery be sent here as soon as practicable. The steamboats, ferry-boats and small boats required were mentioned in my letters of the 17th and 21st. It would be of the greatest advantage in having a small force of regular infantry to leaven the mass of raw volunteers of which this command is composed.

I have also to call the attention of the Department to the proportions {p.193} we are developing in these operations. Our coast is becoming more and more extended. The operations of the engineer, ordnance, and artillery departments are of the greatest importance. We have not officers enough to manage them, particularly with raw troops, where every man must be instructed to avail anything. I recommend that three more engineer officers, two ordnance officers, and several artillery officers be sent here at once. The want of direction among our raw hands, a direction which the few officers here cannot sufficiently give, is a serious cause of delay in everything we undertake to do. I also ask that an officer of the Quartermaster’s Department, of rank and great experience, be sent to control the operations of that department here. A good pontoon bridge would also be desirable here.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., December 4, 1861.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: Since my letter of the 27th ultimo Tybee, Island has been thoroughly examined, and I inclose herewith a copy of the report of the engineer, Captain Gillmore, whose opinion is in accordance with my own as to the feasibility of shelling Fort Pulaski, and, if not demolishing it, of rendering it untenable. I am about occupying that island with a regiment, and as soon as practicable shall mount some seacoast guns in the work near the lighthouse, so as to secure the channel entering the river in the absence of naval vessels.

The reduction of Fort Pulaski will require an armament from the North, and I inclose herewith the amount of ordnance we shall require, which I beg may be forwarded to Tybee Island at the earliest practicable moment, in charge of an active and experienced ordnance officer, if a suitable artillery officer cannot be obtained; for I repeat from former communications that, this command being composed of raw volunteers and a dearth of experienced and instructed officers, an impossibility now exists of obtaining proper hands to direct.

The shelling of Pulaski may have an important effect in favor of some other movement that it might be possible to carry on at the same time.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS CHIEF ENGINEER OFFICER E. C., 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 examination of that locality. We arrived at the Tybee light-house about 7 p.m., when I called upon the senior naval officer present, and made arrangements with him for disembarking my escort (three companies of the Fourth New Hampshire Volunteers, under Major Drew) at {p.194} 7 o’clock on the following morning. There was some delay in landing, so that I was not ready to commence the work of the day before 9 a.m.

I first endeavored to determine the prominent topographical features of the island, and found that at high water it is nearly divided into two parts by a marsh, or rather two marshes, which make up from the inlet or creek which bounds the island on the southwest. This marsh, or a great part of it, is slightly submerged at high tide, and is difficult to pass even at low water. Men might pick their way across it, but troops could not maneuver on it. To pass from the northwest point of the island, opposite Fort Pulaski, to the southeast part, at the mouth of the inlet, I found it necessary to come back within 300 yards of the lighthouse.

On the west end of Tybee Island, opposite Fort Pulaski, a parapet for infantry 100 yards long has been thrown across the neck of land to prevent troops from approaching from the direction of the light house. West of this troops have been encamped in bush tents. In a southwesterly direction on the other side of the creek the land appears to be low and marshy, except a small area in a southerly direction from the earthwork, occupied by a house. Returning to the old tower near the lighthouse, I took its principal dimensions and those of the unfinished earthwork which surrounds it. The tower is built of shell concrete; its walls are 10 feet thick, and it is three stories in height. The first story is 9 feet high, with but one opening (4 feet wide) to the exterior. In it is a good magazine 6 by 7 feet and 7 feet high, with brick walls 3 1/3 feet thick. The second story is about 9 feet high, and has one communication with the exterior. It is on the west side. The third story is pierced with twelve loop-holes, at equal distances apart, 1 by 1 foot at the throat and 2 by 2 feet on the exterior. Four fire-places exist on this story. Above the floor covering the third story the wall is carried up flush with the inside, so as to form a breast-height 4 feet thick and 4 1/2 feet high.

The tower is surrounded by an unfinished field work, which could with little labor be made a strong position, that would control the principal entrance to Savannah River, and thus render efficient services to the blockade in case the fleet should be driven off by stress of weather. One or two siege guns could be mounted on the tower.

I give a rough sketch of the tower and its surroundings.

I proceeded to the southern point of the island along the main shore and thence up the inlet on the southwest, in order to get a near view, if possible, of the battery which controls Warsaw Inlet. My guide (Mr. Ferguson, of the steamer Flag) is of opinion that this battery contains four guns and is located on the second Tybee Island, as it had been firing seaward the day before, when he was on the south point of North Tybee, and had a very good opportunity to judge. A large derrick, plainly visible, with all its rigging, had been erected since he last saw it. I am unable to say whether he is correct or not, and three naval officers with whom I conversed could furnish me with no positive information on the subject. Its thorough examination can only be made by using boats, either directly from the sea or by passing over to the second Tybee Island. To do this would have detained me from Hilton Head all of to-day and a portion of (perhaps all of) to-morrow, as the pilot of the Ben DeFord requires daylight to navigate his ship in. My hurried departure on Friday left my duties here in a condition that would not warrant so lengthy an absence. I therefore thought it proper to report to you for further orders.

The exact position of the battery controlling Warsaw Inlet has, however, no bearing on the prominent points to which my attention was {p.195} directed in your verbal instructions, viz, 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 deem 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 (though very shallow, and therefore ill-adapted to mortar 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 I should cover each with a horizontal bombproof 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 mortars can be lodged inside of the fort. I would have enough mortars to throw one shell a minute into the fort, and as many guns as mortars. The batteries should operate day and night. For landing the ordnance required for these operations I would have built two or three broad 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 Guard) 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 two 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.


Approved, and I fully concur in the plan of Captain Gillmore for reducing Fort Pulaski, except possibly the use of rifled guns, until their effect has been more fully tested. All that can be done with guns is to shake the walls as far as practicable in a random manner. As the nearest distance at which batteries can be constructed is 1 1/2 miles from Pulaski, if rifled guns are found to be non-effective at that distance, which is certain if it is discovered that the shot will not strike point foremost, then I think that a few 10-inch columbiads may be used in addition to the mortars, for they may be employed with solid shot for direct fire against the walls or as mortars for the interior.

It is impracticable to establish batteries nearer Pulaski than above stated, whether on Tybee or the island west of it. A few days before this reconnaissance I drew the fire of the fort, and ascertained that their casemate guns came a little short of the shore at the position of the fort {p.196} constructed on the narrow neck which Captain Gillmore describes, but that their barbette guns effectually shell the shore. Now, as you proceed west, you are constantly shortening the line between the island and Pulaski. In a word, though guns will be of much importance to assist in the work, yet if the place is to be reduced, it is to be done with mortars of the heaviest caliber, and if it should even turn out that the bomb-proofs cannot be ruptured, the place can be made untenable.

Respectfully submitted.

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

DECEMBER 4, 1861.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., December 6, 1861.

Col. RUDOLPH ROSA, Commanding Forty-sixth New York Volunteers:

COLONEL: The commanding general directs that you take post with your regiment on North Tybee Island with as little delay as practicable, and at once take up a defensive position, so as to hold the entire island. Your men will occupy as quarters the buildings near the light-house, and you will establish a camp on the clear ground near the light-house, always keeping out pickets at the salient points of the island. Your attention is particularly called to the narrow neck of land west of the light-house, as a point which should always be guarded. The work thrown up by the enemy at this point should be torn down to the ground as soon as possible, and, to avoid the effects of the fire from Fort Pulaski, this should be done in the night. You must take every precaution against being surprised, and in the mean time take particular care that the works thrown up about the light-house are not injured or defaced in any way, as guns are to be mounted in them as soon as they can be got there. You will take particular care of your supplies, and see that they are not in any way wasted or destroyed. You will see that vessels sent there are unloaded as soon as possible and sent back to this place. You will keep these headquarters informed of all passing events.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



Capt. LOUIS H. PELOUZE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Sherman’s Command:

As directed, on Thursday, October [November] 28, with three companies from this regiment, I relieved Captain Ely at Graham’s plantation, and posted pickets at points most advantageous for observation and defense. There had been none previously posted on Baynard’s plantation, on the point at Spanish Wells, on account of its distance from the reserve; but I judged it expedient to station a small force there, with a horse, in order to bring me word if anything important should occur.

The picket at that point reports that on Sunday night, December 1, at about 2 o’clock, a boat filled with armed men, apparently, came from the direction of Hunting Island, with the seeming intention of entering {p.197} Broad Creek. On hailing and receiving no reply they fired upon the boat, when considerable confusion ensued, the boat turning and rowing rapidly back.

On Saturday I made a reconnaissance of Pinckney Island and vicinity. From Muddy Point, the western extremity of the island, I saw the rebel picket at Topping Landing, on the main scarcely a rifle-shot distance. From negroes who came over that day I found that they have mounted pickets at Fort Point, 3 miles above Topping Landing, at the junction of Mackay’s Creek and Broad River; also at Hog Bluff, 1 mile below Topping Landing; at Buckingham, or Ferry Landing, and on Hunting Island, so called-in reality a peninsula, extending into Skull Creek in a northeasterly direction from Bluffton.

On Monday I reconnoitered Bull’s Island. There is a large quantity of corn and cotton there, about 200 head of cattle, and 100 sheep; also a small steam-engine, in good repair, of about 8-inch cylinder and 18-inch stroke. I learned that the rebels constantly come over in the night, in small parties, and carry off the stock. Negroes are constantly coming from the main, and report the rebel force in and about Bluffton to be 400, two companies of which are infantry, composed mostly of boys and old men; the remainder mounted.

On Tuesday night John and Rollin Kirk, brothers, and a Mr. Pinckney, landed on Pinckney Island, for the purpose of taking off the stores; but the negroes getting off in boats and raising an alarm, they left the island without accomplishing their object.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SABINE EMERY, Major, Commanding Detachment.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PORT ROYAL, Beaufort, S. C., December 8, 1861.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding Expeditionary Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.:

GENERAL: At 8.30 o’clock I moved forward towards the ferry with Hamilton’s section, under Lieutenant Ransom, and 600 infantry. Captain Burket is now proceeding cautiously, with 100 men, in the same direction, and is about 4 miles from this point. My information is that the enemy are on the island, with 140 cavalry and 100 infantry. It is reported that Captain Barmode was wounded in the arm in the affair of pickets night before last.

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

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PORT ROYAL, Beaufort, S. C., December 8, 1861.

Lieut. Col. BRENHOLTS, Commanding Detachment, Port Royal Ferry:

SIR: In command of the three companies of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania Regiment which have been assigned to you, you will move at 5 o’clock to-morrow morning, proceed to Port Royal Ferry, and relieve Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong, now stationed there. Tents will not be required, as {p.198} there are buildings sufficient for the accommodation of your command. You will observe closely the ferry, the adjacent main, and the shores of Port Royal Island on either hand. You will send small parties, each tinder the charge of an officer, to the neighboring plantations, to ascertain the amount of transportation, forage, and provisions they will supply to this command, and will take the necessary measures to save them for its use. It is said the navigation of the river separating the island from the main has been obstructed, both above and below the ferry, by piles driven across. Ascertain the facts and stop further proceedings of the kind. You will take every precaution to guard against surprise; will endeavor to send in daily reports, noting carefully everything you learn in regard to the several points to which your attention has been called.

Truly and respectfully, your most obedient,

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PORT ROYAL, Beaufort, S. C., December 9, 1861.


GENERAL: I have received information that since my visit to Port Royal Ferry yesterday the Confederates have commenced the erection of a battery on the main near by, and at a distance of about 1,000 yards from the firm land on the island. I shall at daylight to-morrow morning have the two guns of Hamilton’s battery in position, and I shall open fire upon the Confederates. In the event they persist in the construction of the battery I will most urgently ask that a gunboat be sent to the same general vicinity, to co-operate with the land force. It is the manifest purpose of the Confederates to close the passage. Shall a movement be made with the re-enforcement, or perhaps with troops which they can replace, to seize the railroad crossing on Broad River and silence it by works? This would involve crossing the Port Royal Ferry and occupying the main. I will, at all events, stop further proceedings in the defense of the passage between Port Royal and the main, and await your further instructions.

I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., December 10, 1861.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to report that Otter Island has been occupied by six companies, with an armament sufficient for the protection of Saint Helena Sound and our right flank from any incursions of the enemy by the way of the Ashepoo River and South Edisto from the direction of Charleston.

I have also to report that Tybee Island is now in the occupancy of one regiment, and that an armament is being prepared sufficient to cover the channel leading into Savannah River. This armament, however, {p.199} is independent of that required for the reduction of Fort Pulaski. I have also to report that I have occupied Port Royal Island with General Stevens’ brigade. I very much regret the necessity of this measure, as, although fully convinced of its untenability by the enemy, he has commenced against us a system of blockade by constructing piles and stockades across the Coosaw River, washing the northern and western sides of the island, and thus intercepting the navigation around the island. General Stevens has driven off his pickets, and now holds both sides of Port Royal Ferry. This island can be held by a small force, and I hope to be able to make use of part of that brigade for other movements. At the same time I repeat my former recommendation for more troops here and some cavalry.

The enemy’s line can be considered strategically as occupying the country from Ossabaw Sound through Savannah and the important places on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, viz, Hardeeville, Grahamville, Coosawhatchie, Pocotaligo, and so on to the left. Some point on this line should be struck soon, but nothing but the development of circumstances and the quantity and kind of means in hand will fully solve the important question.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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

P. S.-Three regiments of Pennsylvanians have arrived-one of them without arms.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PORT ROYAL, Beaufort, S. C., December 10, 1801.

Brigadier-General SHERMAN, Commanding Expeditionary Corps:

GENERAL: Lieutenant Ransom and the section of Hamilton’s battery under his command moved at 3 o’clock this morning, and I followed with two members of my staff, Acting Aides-de-Camp Lusk and Taylor, of, respectively, the Highlanders and Fiftieth Pennsylvania, a half hour afterwards. We reached the ferry at daylight. I found, however, on careful examination that the Confederates had not commenced the erection of any works since our occupation of the island. After an examination of the country adjoining the ferry, especially of the old ferry at Seabrook, a mile and a half to the westward of the present ferry, I determined to take positive possession of both sides of the existing ferry, especially as an effort had been made during my absence at Seabrook to fire the ferry building on the island side. Lieutenant Ransom, bringing, under my direction, his battery into position at Stuart’s place, fired four shots and dispersed the enemy’s pickets, and Lieutenant-Colonel Brenholts, commanding the detachment at the ferry, advanced immediately a picket of 12 men to the ferry, and took possession of both banks, with some four boats. These have since been secured. A small block-house commanding the ferry on the main was destroyed. I left the battery at the ferry, with instructions to return to-morrow, unless, after conference with Lieutenant-Colonel Brenholts, Lieutenant Ransom should be satisfied from the unexpected developments of circumstances he ought to remain at the ferry. In this event he was promptly to advise me by messenger.

I have had the points carefully examined where it was alleged stockades were being built to close the channel. East of the ferry the attempt {p.200} was actually made, but nothing was accomplished. I have with the assistance of my aides and scouting parties, examined nearly all portions of the island to-day. The conduct of the troops is exemplary, and there will be considerable additions made to our stock of quartermaster’s stores.

I am, sir, very respectfully, yours, most obediently,

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS U. S. AGENCY, Dr. Jenkins’ Plantation, Saint Helena Island, December 10, 1861.

Brig. Gen. ISAAC I. STEVENS, Commanding Second Brigade Expeditionary Corps:

SIR: I send you herewith copies of the letters of Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman and Chief Quartermaster Expeditionary Corps R. Saxton, captain, U. S. Army, appointing me agent for the United States Government “to take possession of all the cotton, commissary and quartermasters’ stores, and all public property that I may find in any part of the State of South Carolina deserted by the inhabitants”; also a copy of my letter appointing James A. Suydam my assistant, with full authority with myself. I have taken possession of all the property on Saint Helena, Ladies, and Cat Islands, and have directed Lieutenant Hamilton, of the Fifth Company, and Lieutenant Graham, of the Eighth Company, Seventy-ninth Regiment New York State Militia, to collect and deliver to me all the property on those islands. Mr. Suydam will establish his headquarters at Beaufort, for the purpose of taking possession of all the property, as directed in my instructions.

Respectfully, yours, &c.,

WM. H. NOBLES, United States Agent.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., December 3, 1861.


SIR: The inhabitants of the deserted islands having been warned of the destruction of their property by the negroes and invited to return and take charge of their plantations, with a promise of ample protection to all loyal citizens, and such invitation and promise of protection having been set at naught by their refusal to return and by several instances of ordering their cotton to be burned, I deem it proper to take steps for the preservation of as much of this article as practicable, in order that such disposition may be made of it as the Government may direct. You are therefore appointed an agent of the United States Government to collect and put into store, at the most convenient points occupied by the United States troops, such quantities of cotton as you may find in any part of the State of South Carolina deserted by the inhabitants. A correct and explanatory statement will be made by you weekly to the headquarters, showing the amount of cotton stored, its quality, whether baled or unbaled, from whose plantation obtained, and all other information which in your judgment may be necessary to convey a correct idea of its value and the fixing of its ownership, so that the Government will not be at a loss to dispose of the questions {p.201} of its disposition or of remuneration to its owners if such questions should arise.

You will employ negroes in picking, collecting, and packing the cotton, who on your vouchers, properly made out and certified to, will be paid by the Quartermaster’s Department. Your services will be compensated by allowing you 6 per cent, on the market value of the cotton stored as above.

Very respectfully, &c.,

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



I hereby appoint James Adrian Suydam my assistant in the execution of the above orders from Brigadier-General Sherman and Captain Saxton and of all future orders from their departments to me as agent for the United States Government, his orders and directions to be obeyed as mine, and his acts as agent to be recognized by me.

WM. H. NOBLES, United States Agent.


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PORT ROYAL, Beaufort, S. C., December 10, 1861.

WILLIAM H. NOBLES, Esq., Collector of Cotton:

SIR: I have received your letter and inclosures of this date, claiming that you are authorized to take possession of the cotton in the deserted portions of South Carolina, and also of all other public property. The instructions of Brigadier-General Sherman clearly give you authority to collect, gin, and pack cotton. I am not advised of the extent of your authority in regard to quartermaster and commissary stores. The letter of instructions of Captain Saxton does not give the information. I have, however, to inform you that I have taken military possession of Ladies Island, and shall proceed to collect and take charge of such quartermaster and commissary stores as my parties may take possession of-not interfering, however, with your operations in collecting cotton on that island or the quartermaster or commissary stores you have already collected.

I shall not permit you to establish an agency at Beaufort, or to interfere in any way with the steps already taken by the commanding general to collect the cotton and the quartermaster and commissary stores on Port Royal Island and its dependencies.

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

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


PORT ROYAL, S. C., December 10, 1861.

General MEIGS, Washington, D. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: After the representations of the medical director and my own observations as to the great number of deaths here and the continued sickness among the troops, I gave the quartermaster directions to put up a temporary hospital to accommodate 300 men. This {p.202} is not a healthy climate; not near as healthy as the Potomac. The actual temperature has but little to do with it; it is the deadly malaria that arises from the swamps and the very sudden changes from hot to frosty cold. The mortality here is alarming, considering the season of the year. I have not directed any temporary barracks, and of course they will not be constructed without directions from Washington. The hospital will not cost much. It is to be single story and very temporary.

Beaufort will answer for the sick we may have there, but it will be absolutely necessary to have one here, especially in the summer, and this point must be occupied, for the whole safety of the harbor depends on it and Bay Point. The thing was so absolutely necessary, that I gave Captain Saxton his directions, I presume, before he wrote to you on the subject. It will cost but little more than an ordinary store-house of the same dimensions.

Our labor here is enormous. Thus far the negroes have rendered us but little assistance. Many come in and run off. They have not yet been organized to an extent we desire. The large families they bring with them make a great many useless mouths. Before long-after they have consumed all they have on the plantations-they will come in in greater numbers, and no doubt will give us many laborers; but where we get one good, able-bodied man, we have five to six women and children. They are a most prolific race.

In fitting out this expedition an opportunity for marching rapidly into the interior was not anticipated. The object was to seize on two important points of the coast and hold them for the protection of our blockading squadron. Therefore no more transportation was taken along than sufficient for the purposes of woody water, and drayage of quartermaster and commissary stores, and only boats enough to assist in landing. Indeed, the number and description of boats I had nothing to do with; that was left to Captain DuPont. I have always regretted this, as we would have been far better off had we relied entirely on ourselves and not had to trust to the Navy. I am at times perfectly helpless without the Navy, and had I not depended on them, I have not a doubt but we would have been able to land at the time of the fight, and, if not assisted in reducing the work, at least have taken the whole garrison prisoners.

Captain DuPont always insisted that he would be able to and would put us ashore, but two things prevented: First, the loss of all his ferryboats; and, second, his failure to supply me, according to promise, with oarsmen from his ships. I repeatedly asked him, when in New York, if there would be any uncertainty in his fulfilling that promise, and if there were the least I desired to know it then, in order to take measures to provide for it in time. He repeatedly assured me there was none, and that he would see that I was landed. So you see that I have been completely at his mercy. I never wish again, general, to co-operate. It is a thankless task.

As it turned out, I was compelled to agree not to attempt a landing. Had I known how things were to turn out, I should have made quite different arrangements in many things, and, among them, should have come down here equipped perfectly, independent of the Navy.

We have now a wide field before us, but we want boats, cavalry, and more force. The enemy’s line extends from the Ossabaw Inlet through Savannah and upon the railroad beyond Pocotaligo, and we have to choose on which point of that extended and well-garrisoned line to make a main attack, which point must depend on the amount and description of means at our disposal.


We have not yet gone down to F-. The Navy had to send for more ammunition, and we have been constantly employed on our depot and base. Events multiply, and it is impossible to say exactly what we shall do or how we shall do it. Had I the means, I would have been on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad long ere this. Movements on water, through winding and shallow creeks, with men unaccustomed to boats, is slow, tedious, and ticklish, and I have got to see my way pretty clear now before attempting it.

It is hoped that a plenty of boats will be soon sent here.

Very truly, yours,



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., December 14, 1861.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following to the consideration of the General-in-Chief and to the War Department:

The object of this expedition was to seize upon at least two important points of our Southern coast, and hold the same for the protection of our blockading squadron when compelled to seek a harbor, as well as to create something of a diversion in favor of our armies in the field. After the taking of Port Royal it was intended to proceed to Fernandina and get possession of that harbor, but in consequence of circumstances unnecessary here to particularly relate that part of the expedition has not yet been accomplished, and, although I have been for some time prepared for it, a still further delay arises from the fact that the gunboats of the Navy have first to be occupied in the work of disposing of the stone fleet just arrived from the North; but our operations resulting from the capture of Port Royal have become so developed as to lead to the occupation of Saint Helena Sound, the Tybee, and, in short, to the full possession of the coast from South Edisto to Tybee, and to which may be added Warsaw and Ossabaw Sounds, which, if not yet occupied by us, have been deserted by the enemy.

In the mean time there is a formidable strategic line formed and forming in our front, its right resting on Green Island, in Vernon River, passing by Thunderbolt, or Augustine Creek, at both of which places there are earthworks mounted with heavy guns, through Fort Jackson, Savannah, and thence along the line of the Savannah and Charleston Railroad indefinitely towards Charleston, this line having its principal bodies of troops between Vernon River and Savannah, at Savannah, Hardeeville, Grahamville, Coosawhatchie, Pocotaligo, Saltketcher, &c., and its most advanced posts at Pulaski, New River Bridge, Bluffton, Port Royal Ferry &c. The object of this line appears to be to resist an invasion of the main-land, and not to attack the occupied coast, which, from all that can be learned, the enemy have concluded they cannot maintain, and given up all idea of doing so. It may be hence inferred that the main object of the expedition has been already accomplished, and that the point of Fernandina is now of so secondary a character as to render it not only almost insignificant, but the operation of taking it actually prejudicial to the gnat work which the development of circumstances appears to have set before us.

I am aware of the good effect that the capture of this place would {p.204} have on the public mind, but the military is the only point of view that should be taken of it. It is no point from which to operate, and will probably fall of itself the moment Savannah is occupied by our forces, and therefore the resources of the Navy and Army here should be husbanded for a more important operation, viz, the attack of the enemy’s line the moment preparations can be made.

The precise point of the hostile line to be struck and mode of attack cannot now be specifically set out without first knowing the means to be placed in our hands, and must therefore be left to time and circumstances; but in my judgment, with the necessary means, Savannah should be the point, and to be accomplished somewhat in this way: Pulaski to be vigorously shelled, as already recommended in a former communication; at the same time the gunboats of the naval squadron to shell out the garrisons of the forts on Vernon and Augustine Rivers, to be closely followed up by the landing of the land forces in the vicinity of Montgomery and Beaulieu, thus taking Augustine River, Fort Jackson, and Savannah in reverse; this operation to be connected at the same time with one from this point on Bluffton, New River Bridge, and Hardeeville, to get effectual possession of the railroad crossing the Savannah River, and prevent re-enforcements arriving at Savannah from the center and left of their line. A small head of column shown at Port Royal Ferry would have its effect in aiding this demonstration. I am firmly convinced that an operation of this sort would not only give us Savannah, but, if successful and strong enough to follow up the success, would shake the so-called Southern Confederacy to its very foundation.

Not knowing precisely what forces the enemy may have available, it is difficult to estimate for the men and means necessary to the success of this operation. But I must modify the terms of my letter of the 27th November, which did not look to this precise operation, and recommend that the one “regiment of cavalry, one regiment of regular artillery, ten regiments of infantry, and one pontoon bridge” be extended to “one regiment of cavalry, one regiment of regular artillery, and twenty regiments of infantry, and as many pontoon bridges as can be sent here.” An addition to our armament will also be required to enable us to carry on a siege, if necessary, for which the ordnance officer will make requisition. I do not say but the thing can be done with less troops, but it would be better to have too many than too few, particularly as any success should be followed up rapidly and with sufficient force. I must, at the risk of being considered importunate, again repeat the necessity of having some more experienced staff officers, particularly a quartermaster of rank and great experience, artillery officers, and, if they cannot be had, ordnance officers.

All our work, which is immense, is done by volunteer soldiers, and it all drags for the want of a sufficient number of able directors. The negro labor expected to be obtained here is so far almost a failure. They are disinclined to labor, and will evidently not work to our satisfaction without those aids to which they have ever been accustomed, viz, the driver and the lash. A sudden change of condition from servitude to apparent freedom is more than their intellects can stand, and this circumstance alone renders it a very serious question what is to be done with the negroes who will hereafter be found on conquered soil.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., December 15, 1861.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: For the information of the proper authorities, and for fear lest the Government may be disappointed in the amount of labor to be gathered here from the contrabands, I have the honor to report that from the hordes of negroes left on the plantations but about 320 have thus far come in and offered their services. Of these the quartermaster has but about 60 able-bodied male hands, the rest being decrepit, and women and children. Several of the 320 have run off. Every inducement has been held out to them to come in and labor for wages, and money distributed among those who have labored. The reasons for this apparent failure thus far appear to be these:

1st. They are naturally slothful and indolent, and have always been accustomed to the lash; an aid we do not make use of.

2d. They appear to be so overjoyed with the change of their condition that their minds are unsettled to any plan.

3d. Their present ease and comfort on the plantations, as long as their provisions will last, will induce most of them to remain there until compelled to seek our lines for subsistence.

Although comparatively few have thus far come in, it is therefore probable that in time many will, and if they are to be received and taken care oft, some provision should be made to cover them. They are a prolific race, and it will be found that for every able-bodied male there will be five to six females, children, and decrepit. It is really a question for the Government to decide what is to be done with the contrabands.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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

P. S.-Besides those who have come in there are many still on the plantations employed in gathering cotton.



Captain Louis H. PELOUZE, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen. E. C., Port Royal, S. C.:

SIR: I inclose, for the information of the brigadier-general commanding, reports received from Col. B. C. Christ last evening and early this morning, in regard to affairs at Port Royal Ferry, and also a report from Mr. Rockwell,* received early this morning.

From these reports it will appear that the channel of the river is not obstructed sufficiently to prevent the passage of the lighter-draught gunboats, and that the enemy has no guns in position. I have endeavored to make all portions of the command vigilant and attentive, especially at the ferry, and am having nightly careful inspections of the pickets and camps in that quarter.

The gunboat which went up Port Royal River day before yesterday did not proceed to the ferry, but made the main-land some three and one-half miles to the right of or below the ferry, and yesterday morning was anchored off of Lane’s Point, Ladies Island. At 8 o’clock last evening {p.206} I sent a dispatch to the captain of the gunboat, urging him to proceed to the ferry, but on its arrival, about 11 o’clock, at the point, the gunboat had left and gone in the direction of Saint Helena Sound. Such is the report of Lieutenant Lyons, who bore my dispatch.

I will again urge with all possible earnestness that a gunboat be sent without delay up Broad River and through the Port Royal passage, and if this meets your approval, I trust you may succeed in getting Commodore DuPont to dispatch one to-day. I shall telegraph to this effect this morning.

It is my purpose to go to the ferry in the course of an hour or two, and may remain there until to-morrow evening; but I shall make arrangements to have your dispatches forwarded without delay.

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

ISAAC I. STEVENS, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

* Not found

[Inclosure No. 1.]


General ISAAC I. STEVENS, Commanding Port Royal District:

SIR: I have to report that no demonstration of a hostile character has occurred on the part of the enemy since my last dispatch, save a report (verbally) from Captain Elliott, Company I, Seventy-ninth New York Regiment, that 400 men appeared last evening on the shore occupied by the enemy about 1 mile above Seabrook. Captain Elliott reports, through Major Morrison, that he mounted a log on two cart-wheels and ran it on the beach, which had the effect to scatter the enemy in all directions.

Lieutenant-Colonel Brenholts, accompanied by Lieutenant Kellogg, Company K, Fiftieth Pennsylvania Regiment, with four men, left Port Royal Ferry yesterday morning at 9 o’clock and proceeded down the river (on our right) 2 1/2 miles, taking soundings of the channel 1 1/2 miles below the ferry (on right). Stockades were driven and timber sunk, so as to leave but 7 feet of water in the channel at low tide, but the obstruction does not extend half way across the river. Our side of the channel is clear (the enemy from some cause or other having abandoned the work before finishing it). I wish it distinctly understood that I am correct in this, that not one-half the channel is obstructed; that the obstructions are all on the enemy’s side, and, if necessary, could be easily removed; further, that Lieutenant-Colonel Brenholts reports outside of the obstructions a channel 112 feet wide, with 12 feet of water at low tide and 19 feet of water at high tide. This is reliable, and, so far as our observations extend, no other obstructions exist in the channels.

Our pickets are so posted as to command the shore from Seabrook to a point opposite a brick-yard 2 1/2 or 3 miles below the ferry (our right), said brick-yard being separated from that portion of the island we occupy by a stream, supposed to be the outlet of the stream crossed by a bridge 4 miles from Beaufort. Discovered that the point on which the brickyard is located is occupied by a detachment from the Eighth Michigan Regiment, under Captain Elder. Pickets have been posted from the point last indicated to Seabrook, and every precaution taken to guard against surprise. I would add that on the opposite shore, 2 miles below the ferry (our right), what was supposed at first to be a picket station of the enemy on a more careful examination proves to be an {p.207} entire regiment. Nothing further or more definite than that contained in my previous dispatch has been ascertained relating to the guns supposed to be mounted opposite to and commanding the causeway.

The outer pickets (on our right) report that this morning at 8 o’clock a white steamer landed on the enemy’s shore about 3 1/2 or 4 miles below the ferry (our right), and remained there about one hour; what it unloaded, if anything, or what it took on board, they cannot say.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

B. C. CHRIST, Col. Fiftieth Regt. Pa. Vols., Comdg. Port Royal Ferry.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

HEADQUARTERS PORT ROYAL FERRY, December 15, 1861-9 o’clock.

General ISAAC I. STEVENS, Commanding Port Royal District:

SIR: Your dispatch just received. Have no knowledge of pile driving to the left (or right) of the ferry. The party who gave you the information must have mistaken the chopping of wood for the driving of piles. I am certain that it is not so. They cannot (i. e., the enemy) do anything, from Seabrook down to 2 1/2 miles on the right of the ferry, but our pickets must see them, either day or night. No pickets asleep on post last night have been reported to me. I will inquire into the matter, and if any pickets have been guilty of neglect of duty they will be promptly arrested and their names reported to headquarters as soon as practicable.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

B. C. CHRIST, Col. Fiftieth Regt. Pa. Vols., Comdg. Port Royal Ferry.


PORT ROYAL, S. C., December 19, 1861.

General MCCLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: I have received your kind letter of the 5th,* and hasten to say that I think that the trip to Fernandina is lost for the present. I have been in readiness for some time, keeping all the vessels destined thither waiting for the Navy to be ready, but have found that the latter has a new job on its hands, viz, the convoying and sinking the vessels of the stone fleet; also, for reasons already given in an official letter, I believe that the public interests will be much advanced by deferring it now-it has been postponed so long. It was unfortunate that the naval fleet had to send for more ammunition after the affair of Port Royal, as Fernandina would have been taken then without much trouble, and no doubt it could be easily taken now; but it has been re-enforced, and fresh artillery sent there. It has a garrison of about 1,300 men and four forts, one of which is on Cumberland Island. Fort Clinch, though never yet finished, has a partial armament. We have understood that Brunswick has quite a large garrison, but cannot find out any particulars.

Commodore DuPont thinks he will be ready for Fernandina in a week or two, but I am inclined to believe that the wants of Tybee and Saint Helena will divide him too much until those places are made perfectly secure. Already the Georgians are making serious threats on Tybee, {p.208} and I had to send General Wright down there yesterday with another regiment, and DuPont has sent three of his gunboats, in addition to two vessels he had there. Tatnall is busy reconnoitering with his fleet and Pulaski has been filled with men during the past few days. The; may probably make a desperate effort to retake it before our guns are tip, but every care will be taken that they do not.

I have opened the passage around Port Royal Island, which the enemy attempted to close, but their batteries fired into our boat and hit her once, doing no damage.

As it will be some time before proper preparations can be made for Savannah, I am inclined towards seizing upon the south end of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad as soon as I can get the cavalry. To do this I must be sure of success, for it is quite a vital point in our success on Savannah. I think it can be done at a dash, properly executed, but then the security of our communications will have to be looked to against forays from Coosawhatchie, a point on the railroad strongly fortified. I have tried to get this railroad destroyed, but thus far without success, though our party has not returned.

As to the point of Charleston, of which you desire me to speak, I will have the pleasure of writing you in a day or two. If we are to operate inward, I think another light battery here very necessary, as well as a regiment of cavalry and infantry, as stated in my official communication.

Very truly and respectfully,


* Not found.


FORT WELLES, HILTON HEAD, S. C., December 20, 1861.

General M. C. MEIGS:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have received your letter informing me that all my requisitions on Colonel Tompkins were to be filled. I shall use every endeavor to carry out your views with regard to economy.

I have thus far and shall continue to erect buildings of most temporary character, consistent with utility.

Immediately upon the reception of your first, I took steps to collect the cotton, and was so far successful as to send about the value of $30,000 of it by the steamship Atlantic, consigned to Colonel Tompkins.

By the Vanderbilt, which has just arrived, came the agent of the Treasury Department, and I have turned the whole business over to him. He finds the parties all organized, in successful operation, so that he will have little to do but take the credit of collecting a couple mill ions dollars’ worth of cotton.

I very much wish, general, that you would visit Port Royal. It is but seventy hours’ sail from New York City, and your stay here could be governed entirely by the time at your disposal. I think you would be able to get a better idea of its wants and of our successes already achieved or in prospect than any I could give by letter. The steamship Atlantic will leave New York in a few days after this reaches you for this place. I am very sure that your visit would prove pleasant to yourself and advantageous to the service. I have endeavored to carry out your suggestions with regard to burning the bridges, with what success the future may disclose. Some of my contrabands inform me that they have been expecting that Charleston would be burned, and they think the negroes did it.

General Sherman has strengthened the occupation of Tybee Island {p.209} by an additional regiment, and guns are being put in position bearing on Fort Pulaski; the garrison in that place is about 2,000.

I think before long we shall have accounts of the burning of Savannah. I do not think, however, that we can advance upon either it or Charleston without re-enforcements.

With great respect, I am, general, yours, sincerely,



PORT ROYAL, S. C., December 21, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

SIR: You will pardon me for writing to you in this direct manner, but the newspapers of the country appear in some degree dissatisfied that we have not moved ahead, and it may be that the Government shares in this feeling.

I have for a long time been ready to move to Fernandina, but the Navy is not, even now; after the commodore had waited for his ammunition from the North a new job fell upon his hands: the convoying and sinking the stone fleets. And it is now so uncertain when the Navy will be ready, that my attention has been turned off from that expedition to objects which the development of circumstances is bringing about, and have kept the Department duly advised of my acts and my views.

The operations on the main and towards Savannah were not anticipated in preparing the expedition. We have no cavalry yet, and are not sufficiently supplied with field artillery. We came prepared to take possession of certain harbors and fortify them; that is all. All the boats furnished were prepared by Commodore DuPont, only sufficient, or what were thought to be, for landing purposes. It must therefore be easily seen that any move of our troops into the interior of South Carolina, under the circumstances, was a sheer impossibility. I could long ago have landed and established part of my force on the main, but I have particularly avoided doing anything of the kind until I can ascertain what means are to be furnished me for moving onwards. There are several points to be chosen, and it would not answer to reveal that point to the enemy before I am ready to immediately follow up the movement. No one is more anxious than myself to push on and crush out this rebellion, but there is some judgment and proper prudence to be exercised in this matter. I do not desire to initiate a failure.

Our base is now well, very well, established, and am ready to move as soon as I can get some cavalry and proper re-enforcements to insure and blow up success.

The point of Savannah is now the point, but, to say nothing of the public interest, my own professional reputation would not permit me to make dashes without object and without lasting result. The work before us is a great one. It requires thought, system, and prudence.

I have presumed to write you thus, as I am pained to believe that there is a growing distrust among a portion of the people as to the activity and usefulness of this portion of the Army.

The amount of labor and activity here I would gladly submit to the judgment of the most enlightened men. We have done all that men can properly do under the circumstances.

With the highest respect, your most obedient servant,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding. {p.210}

HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., December 22, 1861.

General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have just been informed by Commodore DuPont that a reconnaissance, under Commander Drayton, with the gunboats Pawnee and Seneca, has discovered that the rebel forts at both South and North Edisto are abandoned and guns withdrawn. He also states that a camp of 500 men, in the vicinity of North Edisto, left with their arms on the approach of the gunboats, leaving tents, provisions, and camp equipage in his possession.

I think it would be well to occupy Edisto Island, and would do so with part of my own forces were it not necessary to remain here as much concentrated as possible, to be ready for movements already contemplated. Troops pushed up towards Stono Inlet at this time would produce a good effect at Charleston.

From all the information I can gather the South Carolinians are strongly fortifying Charleston Neck and James Island, on the Stono River, and are removing some of the guns from Fort Sumter and the islands for that object, evidently supposing that Charleston is to be attacked by land.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


PORT ROYAL, S. C., December 23, 1861.


DEAR GENERAL: I have not yet been able to see Commodore Du Pont, but have thought somewhat of the Charleston problem, which is rather difficult to solve, and will demand much thought; but the premises on which much of the data must be based are that the South Carolinians have long come to the conclusion that Charleston is to be attacked by land. Some time ago they removed several of the barbette guns from Sumter and guns from the island batteries to place on the Neck. They have abandoned Edisto Island entirely and removed the guns to some works they have thrown up on the Stono-I believe three in number, including the one at the mouth. Several vessels have been sunk in this river. They are making, therefore, a desperate effort to prevent a landing on James Island. What they have done on the north side of Charleston I have not learned. Without looking at the thing satisfactorily, yet I am inclined to the opinion that the easiest way to take or destroy the city is by the route of Sullivan’s and Morris Islands, erecting batteries there, carrying Moultrie, seizing on Point Pleasant (making a demonstration by Bull’s Bay, if necessary), and reducing Sumter, then bringing forward the Navy and shelling the city, assisted by mortar batteries on land, if necessary; but the objection will now arise to this that the channel has been stopped up by a stone fleet. If so stopped, of course this mode would not be so convenient, though it will be very possible to shell Charleston from Sumter and Point Pleasant and other points that will readily be seized upon when Sumter has fallen. I have heard it said, however, by officers of the Navy that, if found necessary for the gunboats to enter Charleston Harbor, it can yet be done. As soon as I can get Captain DuPont’s views I will write again.


I believe that the South Carolinians are under the conviction that we are about to strike their center by Port Royal Ferry. We want to keep up the delusion, and if I only had some cavalry would feel justified in moving the bulk of our force to the southern end of the railroads and shutting off South Carolina from Savannah, and preparing the way to effectually take the city by the southern route. I have written also for another battery of light artillery.

Very respectfully and truly,



WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 26, 1861.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding, Port Royal, S. C.:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 21st is received. You are correct in your belief “that there is a growing distrust among a portion of the people as to the activity and usefulness of this (your) portion of the Army.” I do not share in that distrust, for my confidence in your ability is very great. I must confess, however, that I am constrained to believe that all the operations of our Army have been too much delayed, and that there has been too great a desire to avoid responsibility rather than force the enemy into early action. The fact seems to be overlooked that while we are preparing our enemy is also engaged in preparation, and that, being in his own country, he can do so much more rapidly than ourselves. It will give me much pleasure to hear from you frequently. I shall be especially glad at this time to know the actual force under your command, the number of troops you need, and the kind of which you are most in want. You refer in your letter to a want of cavalry. This is the first intimation I have had that any were needed by you. Let me know the number required and they shall be sent at once, as well as any other force that you may deem necessary.

At this distance from the field of your operations this Department will not attempt to give you specific instructions. You will have to rely upon your own judgment, in which I have every confidence; but let me add that I trust you will soon be able to accomplish something. Winter is now half over; spring is coming, and our forces must soon be useless in a region so far south.

I am, general, very respectfully and truly, yours,

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.


PORT ROYAL, S. C., December 26, 1861.

General MCCLELLAN, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have been unable to get Commodore DuPont to investigate with me the problem of Charleston, and, as time is important, I have conferred with Captain Gillmore on the subject confidentially, and after the most serious deliberation of his views and my own have come to the conclusion that but two modes suggest themselves as practical operations:

First. In the preliminary taking of Sullivan’s and Morris Islands and the reduction of Sumter from these two points. When Sumter is reduced, the naval fleet to pass into the harbor and shell the city, with {p.212} assistance, possibly, of the Army, that will have obtained possession of Point Pleasant in the mean while. When the city is thus reduced the country around will probably become abandoned, and a base thus formed for further offensive operations.

Second. In operating by Stono Inlet and Stono River, getting possession of James Island, and shelling the city from the northern side of the island, leaving Sumter and Moultrie intact, to fall of themselves.

The difficulty in operating on this line consists in the preparations the enemy have made on Stono River for the defense of James Island. So far as I have been able to learn they consist of two forts near or at the mouth-one near its junction with Wappoo Creek and one at Guerin’s Ferry. Several vessels, too, have been sunk in the river at points not yet ascertained. Now that the channels entering Charleston Harbor have been blocked up by stone vessels (except Maffitt’s Channel, the shoalest) the first plan seems impracticable-at least until nature opens a new channel, which time alone can determine. The operation will probably have to be confined to the second plan, assisted, probably, by a demonstration by way of Bull’s Bay; and if a landing can be effected on fast land not far from the mouth of the Stono, after the taking of the forts near the mouth, a victorious battle fought on James Island will enable us to plant siege batteries in a position for the effectual shelling of Charleston. At a rough estimate I should consider the means necessary to be 20,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, two light batteries, thirty siege pieces, with a sufficiency of 8 and 10 pounder mortars. Two or three pontoon bridges also would be necessary for operating about the Stono and James Island.

If the railroad to the north is to be so cut as to open that side to demonstrations from the north, I would diminish the assailing force at least one-third.

I inclose the views of Captain Gillmore, to which I have agreed in most points.

Very truly, yours,


P. S.-I am still waiting to hear from you in the way of re-enforcements. I really do not consider it prudent to make a grand attack on the main without cavalry. The enemy has a plenty of it. Would prefer vastly my general plan carried out, as expressed in official letter of the 14th instant, but, to quiet the public mind, which is getting furious, would make a dash on the railroad at once if I had cavalry to assist me and boats enough.



Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN Commanding Expeditionary Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.:

SIR: In response to your verbal directions to me I have the honor to submit a plan, or rather the prominent features of a plan, for obtaining possession of the city of Charleston, S. C.

Three projects for attaining this object naturally suggest themselves for our examination, viz:

1st. By way of Morris and Sullivan’s Islands, involving the reduction of Forts Sumter and Moultrie, Johnson, and Castle Pinckney, and the subsequent bombardment of the city. The fall of Forts Sumter and Moultrie would insure the success of this project if the Navy could co-operate with us afterwards.


2d. By way of Stono Inlet and River and James Island, taking Fort Johnson, and leaving Forts Sumter, Moultrie, and Castle Pinckney on the right for the time being. We could not occupy Fort Johnson, however, until Sumter had been reduced.

3d. By way of Bull’s Bay, leaving all the forts in the harbor on the left, and taking the city in the rear by Wando and Cooper Rivers.

The Bull’s Bay project presents the greatest difficulties in the way of land and water transportation; would probably for other reasons be the most difficult of execution, and I therefore would not recommend a principal attack in that direction. A feint there in force would in my opinion very materially second the initial steps of any offensive operations on James Island via Stono River.

As between the other two projects I distinctly favor that by James Island for the following prominent reasons, without going into details, viz:

First. The recent blockade of the channels leading into Charleston Harbor by old hulks. Although it will most likely eventuate in opening one good channel for vessels of moderate draught, it will, for some time to come at least, practically exclude any effective co-operation of the Navy in a direct attack from the sea;

Second. The complete success of the first project (by first reducing the forts) would neither give us the possession of Charleston as the objective point nor a good base of operations, unless we had all of James Island also; while,

Third. If we have James Island we command and can even hold the city, and of course secure all the real advantages which its possession is supposed to confer, even if the forts in the harbor (that is, Sumter and Moultrie) remain in the hands of the enemy.

Fourth. The attack by James Island would render it necessary for the Navy first to shell out the battery or batteries on Stono Inlet and River, so as to secure to us the undisputed command of those waters up to the first good landing place on the island, probably Turnbull’s. Having a footing on the island, we would have to fight a battle for its possession. If beaten, a position on the south of the island could be maintained against very great odds, even in the absence of any active assistance from the Navy.

It would be equally necessary to fight and gain this battle on James Island in order to hold and occupy Charleston, even if we first captured the harbor per se by reducing the forts by a siege. Once in possession of James Island and holding the sea, the forts fall into our hands in due time as a matter of course. The reduction of Fort Sumter, or even Fort Moultrie, with an investment by water only, is a matter of no small moment.

As an isolated movement, not really seconded by descent on other important points of this coast, I would consider the following force sufficient to carry this project by James Island into effect. Our knowledge of the extent of the preparations against such an attempt by us is quite meager, and radical modifications of this plan may be necessary so far as it relates to the proportion of the different arms when a thorough reconnaissance shall have placed us in possession of more facts. I should consider the following as simply a near approximation to what is required, viz: 14,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, 12 pieces light artillery (two light batteries), 20 siege guns, with a large proportion of 20-pounder and 30-pounder Parrott guns.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Q. A. GILLMORE, Captain, and Chief Engineer Expeditionary Corps.



PORT ROYAL, S. C., December 27, 1861.

General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army:

DEAR GENERAL: The Ocean Queen arrived yesterday with a mail, but brought no news of any cavalry. Had I cavalry and another light battery this would be a fine opportunity to strike for the railroad and cut off Savannah, and thus prepare ourselves for operations south of it.

It is absolutely necessary to do something here soon, without waiting for our armament for P-L-S-. The rebels are exceedingly active. They are erecting earthworks around Port Royal Island-one, I understand to-day, on the Ashepoo, above Otter Island, and another below Thunderbolt, on Skidaway Island, making two on this last island. In a word, they are erecting a cordon of earthworks, armed with heavy cannon, a certain distance from the coast, just far enough back to avoid fire from gunboats.

I shall try to organize a dash on the forts about Port Royal Island, and also to the railroad, if not running too much risk without cavalry and artillery. It will require much consideration. It would not do to sustain here a defeat. We are badly in want of boats, too.

We are quite secure here now. The place is well fortified, and can be held by 2,500 or 3 000 men against any force that can be brought against it. Had I the means, now is the time to do something. These fellows are getting stronger and stronger every day.

Very truly, yours,




Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I ordered a dash on the enemy’s batteries opposite Port Royal Island, but no doubt you will have perceived the object of advancing no farther which the public will not. I want to make no real movement in that direction, yet I want the enemy to think I do, which he evidently does. I want to make a great dash on the north side of Savannah River, thus occupying the road to that city, the whole country between Broad River and Savannah River, and the southern end of the railroad, and at the same time, if found practicable, the islands in this river north of Pulaski.

But to do this I must have a regiment at least of cavalry and at least another strong battery of light artillery. Circumstances are developing themselves wonderfully here. The time has come to act; every day’s delay now is a sad loss.

Let me take possession of that country now, and the siege of the south of Savannah will be comparatively light and easy. I think Pulaski need not be shelled. I can cut it off, I think.

Important information has been obtained with regard to the topography of the country about Savannah River which we never knew before. I hope to lay the whole subject before you in an official and topographical form as soon as it can be prepared. But we are so hard pushed for proper engineers that they have no time for office work.

I think a terrible blow struck here will aid your important work most materially, but we must have cavalry and light artillery. You, general, are to be the savior of this country, if it is saved. Let me aid you in {p.215} the work. But I must act militarily, and not to please the superficial and nonsensical views of the public press, by which I have been soundly berated for not playing the militiaman and egotistical soldier.

I am, general, yours, truly,



OFFICE CHIEF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEER E. C., Hilton Head, S. C., January 2, 1862.

Capt. LOUIS H. PELOUZE, Fifteenth Infantry, A. A. A. G. Hdqrs. E. C., Hilton Head, S. C.:

SIR: In accordance with the verbal instructions of the general commanding I have made an examination of the land and water between the Cooper and Savannah Rivers, and have to report as follows:

The communications between Cooper and New Rivers by the channel around the north side of Long Pine Island are practicable and comparatively easy at all times for vessels of 10 or 12 feet draught. Soundings to a distance of 2 miles beyond Box’s plantation were made, and show nowhere less than 18 feet water. From this fact and those referred to in my former report (evidence of the negroes, tides, &c.) there is no doubt that boats of the draught mentioned can pass up New River to or even beyond Red Bluff or Whitehead’s Landing.

From Bloody Point, the western extremity of Danfuskie Island, through Bull or New River to Wall’s Cut and thence both by Wright and Mud Rivers to the Savannah, accurate soundings were made. They show a sufficient depth of water through the lower entrance of Wright River for gunboats of 15 feet draught, but from the out to the Savannah by the Mud River Channel only boats of 6 or 7 feet draught can pass at full flood tide. The former route conducts into the ship channel of the Savannah about 2 miles above Fort Pulaski, the latter about 6. Wall’s Cut is straight, about 250 yards long, and has a water-way of near 100 feet. At the distance of 120 yards from either end a bark 90 feet long and 24 feet beam has been sunk; beyond her three rows of square piles have been firmly driven into the bed of the stream from side to side. Originally the bark was placed directly athwart the channel, completely obstructing it, but she is at present lying diagonally across it, with a water-way of 20 feet on both sides. An examination revealed the fact that there is but little mud or ballast in her, and, instead of being stationary, she swings and careens with the tide. When first visited she was at least 20 feet from the first line of piles, careened into the direction of the tide. When I returned four or five hours afterwards she was in the same place, but careened in the opposite direction. When visited the second time her stern had drifted against the piles, partly removing several. From these circumstances I conclude that little difficulty will be experienced in removing her entirely from the cut. The piles, thirty-three in number, of squared timber, are on the farther side of the vessel, arranged in three rows, so as to completely close the channel, but from the softness of the soil into which they are driven they can be removed quickly and easily by attaching an anchor chain to each, hitching to a tug-boat, and running her at full speed from it.

All the islands between New and Savannah Rivers are low salt marshes, subject to overflow at full flood tide aided by strong winds, and are impracticable for the transportation of troops or stores. Long Island and all the other islands in the Savannah below Fort Jackson are of the same character.

Wright River, although navigable for some distance, has no other {p.216} practicable communication with the Savannah than those described above. It runs throughout its entire course through the marsh and finally becomes lost.

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

J. H. WILSON, First Lieutenant Topo. Engrs., and Chief Top. Engr. E. C.



General LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: Reconnaissances are being made on both sides the Savannah River to ascertain the practicability of getting gunboats into it from either or both sides and establishing batteries on the islands between Fort Pulaski and Savannah, and thus cutting off Pulaski and reducing it without the slow and expensive mode of bombarding it from Tybee. I have already had the creeks and inlets on this side examined, and the result of the examination is this: 1st. Steamers of light draught can get into the Savannah River from this side, entering it by the south end of Jones Island, about 2 miles above Fort Pulaski, provided it may be found practicable to remove the obstruction placed across Wall’s Cut, which consists of a brig 90 feet in length sunk across it and secured by three rows of piles. 2d. That Jones Island and Long Island are entirely marsh, and that it is hardly practicable to construct batteries upon them. It is believed, however, that batteries may be erected on Elba Island, above both the former, though our party did not examine it. Important information, moreover, has recently been received of a route possibly practicable for small gunboats from Warsaw Sound into the Savannah River, turning the forts now on Skidaway Island and Thunderbolt. Captain Gillmore leaves to-day to examine the Wilmington Narrows for this object. I am just sending off a party to attempt removing the hulk and piles in Wall’s Cut.

I hope to be soon able to report some of our command in the Savannah River. I should at once seize upon all the country between here and Savannah River, including the south end of the railroad, if I had some cavalry and more light artillery.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th ultimo.

I feel thankful for the confidence still reposed in me, and trust that I may do nothing that will diminish it.

The intimation in my letter of a want of cavalry was made with a view of bringing your mind to the subject in case my previous letters to the Adjutant-General had not reached the attention of the Department. In {p.217} my letter of the 15th of November I mentioned the subject. In my letter of the 27th November I asked for “not exceeding a regiment,” and in a letter of December 14 repeated the request.

From the letters above referred to it may be seen that if we attack Savannah on both sides a very large force will be requisite. I think the force should be sent, so that we can not only meet any emergency and attack in the manner that circumstances will prove to be the best, but so that we can have a force large enough to follow up rapidly our success.

I am trying to open Wall’s Cut, and, if successful, the Navy, I think, will be able to throw gunboats into Savannah River, and we to erect batteries on some of its islands, out off Fort Pulaski, shell Fort Jackson, and afterwards the city, without the slow and expensive process of first bombarding Pulaski.

The north side of Savannah will also have to be looked to, and I propose taking possession of that district of country as soon as I can get some cavalry and more light artillery.

But should we be not successful in getting into Savannah River, the siege of Savannah will be imperative in order to take it. This will require extensive operations from Ossabaw Sound in addition to those north of Savannah River. I have made all the necessary estimates for the operation.

The actual force under my command is 14,768, rank and file, including about 600 in Saint Helena Sound, 3,000 on Port Royal Island, 200 at Fort Seward, 1,400 at Tybee, leaving about 9,500 on hand in Hilton Head. I calculate to have available for the field out of this force, say, 9,000 men. These troops are all infantry except one company of light artillery. Before a step can be taken towards the enemy’s forces we should have a full regiment of good cavalry and at least another battery of light artillery.

The number of additional troops we need I would estimate at 10,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, one regiment of regular heavy artillery, and one or two light batteries; but, whatever number of infantry, the cavalry is indispensable.

I have just received the latest news from Savannah, which confirms that received the other day, that there are about 20,000 men in and around the city, among which some two or three regiments of cavalry and four batteries of light artillery. Besides the works on Skidaway Island at Thunderbolt and Green Island, and the masonry work of Fort Jackson, the city is being covered with a line of intrenchments.

The force in our immediate front is estimated at about 9,000 men, stationed on the railroad between Savannah River and Pocotaligo, among which are said to be about two regiments of cavalry and two batteries of light artillery, besides some earthworks at various points.

I have the honor to remain, with the highest respect,

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



HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, A. G. O., Washington, January 11, 1862.

I. A new military department, to be known as the Department of Key West, is hereby constituted, with the following bounds: Key West, the Tortugas, and the main-land on the west coast as far as Apalachicola and to Cape Canaveral on the east coast.


Brig Gen. J. M. Brannan, U. S. volunteers, is assigned to the command.


By command of Major-General McClellan:

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.


ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, January 13, 1862.

Major-General DIX, Baltimore:

Send to General Wool, at Fort Monroe, by this evening’s boat, the following order:

On the arrival of the steamer Constitution from Boston, send her to Port Royal, with her troops, to re-enforce General Sherman.

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., January 15, 1862.

To the ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to ask the attention of the War Department to a subject upon which I have before hinted, but which is of so much importance, that I cannot refrain from again intruding it upon its notice. Of the large numbers of negroes on the islands in our possession some have come into the camps and obtained work, bringing with them their families. These are, therefore, cared for, and the work of the able-bodied men, numbering probably one out of five or six of a family, will be sufficient, with the rations issued, to support them. Those still remaining on the plantations are now living on the corn and potatoes left there, and when these are all consumed the negroes will be in a suffering condition or thrown upon the commissariat of the Army for support.

For the future maintenance of these people some system must be established, and one which will permit them to sustain themselves; but before they can be left entirely to their own government they must be trained and instructed into a knowledge of personal and moral responsibility-which will be a matter of time. I have, therefore, the honor to recommend that suitable instructors be sent to them, to teach them all the necessary rudiments of civilization, and secondly, and in the mean time, that agents, properly qualified, be employed and sent here to take charge of the plantations and superintend the work of the blacks until they are sufficiently enlightened to think and provide for themselves. They should receive wages, and the profits of the plantations, after all expenses are paid, should go to the Government. I can see no other way to lay a groundwork for future usefulness with this unfortunate class of people.

I would also suggest that a quantity of negro clothing be sent out here as soon as practicable, and this should include stuff for women’s and children’s wear.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



OFFICE CHIEF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEER E. C., Hilton Head, S. C., January 18, 1862.

Capt. Louis H. PELOUZE, Fifteenth U. S. Infantry, A. A. A. G., Headquarters E. C., Hilton Head, S. C.:

SIR: In accordance with the verbal instructions of the general commanding, I accompanied Capt. John Rodgers, U. S. Navy, in a boat reconnaissance of the channel from Tybee Roads, by Bloody Point, through Bull River, Wall’s Cut, and Wright River to the Savannah, and have the honor to state that the opinions expressed in my report of January 2 are confirmed in all essential particulars, and that there is no longer any doubt in my mind concerning the practicability of passing our gunboats and lighter transports at high tide into the Savannah 2 miles above Fort Pulaski and entirely beyond the effective fire of that work. The channel leading from Wright River into the Savannah gives, according to the soundings made during the reconnaissance under the direction of Lieutenant Barnes, U. S. Navy, at least 5 (7) feet of water at mean low tide, which, added to the mean rise of the tides, would give a draught of 12 (14) feet for navigation under the most unfavorable circumstances.

The only point upon which there is any doubt is the width of the channel. On this my mind is convinced, and the pilot, Mr. Godfrey, says he has no fears whatever of being able to take through any gunboat drawing 12 feet of water.

Herewith I inclose a sketch, taken from the Coast Survey charts, showing the additional soundings made by Lieutenant Barnes.

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

J. H. WILSON, First Lieutenant, Top. Engrs., and Chief Top. Engr. E. C.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., January 20, 1862.


GENERAL: Reconnaissances of Savannah River had led me to the belief that Savannah might be taken by a combined operation of the Army and Navy by operating in the river itself, which would save the slow and expensive process of bombarding Pulaski by cuffing it from Savannah, and also the slow process of besieging Savannah from the south, as recommended in my letter of the 14th December. Could Savannah have thus been taken at once, any future obstructions and defenses in the vicinity of Savannah by the river would have been prevented.

A combined reconnaissance, however, made by Commodore Rodgers, of the Navy, and Lieutenant Wilson, of the Topographical Engineers, subsequently, has led to a report from the former officer that the navigation of some portions of the Savannah River is too hazardous to attempt the running of gunboats and transports up the river without further examination.

It has therefore been agreed upon by Commodore DuPont and myself to at once commence this examination in force. This movement is particularly calculated to the cutting off of Fort Pulaski, and will do it, I believe, effectually.


In the mean while any operations by land on the north of Savannah River will be out of the question, because of the want of boats, wagons, and light artillery, none of which expected have yet arrived.

In case we find it practicable to effect a landing at or near Savannah by this route, I think it would be judicious and even necessary to send the force heretofore asked for as promptly as possible. As the process is a slow one, the enemy will have an opportunity to accumulate immense forces at that point, and we should be strong enough to make the thing sure.

The Atlantic I am keeping waiting, and must therefore close in haste.

Very respectfully,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General, Commanding


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED’Y CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., January 31, 1862.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN, &c.:

GENERAL: I inclose for your consideration a brief draught of proposed operations with the forces under my command. It is drawn up from my recollection of the place, and may need modification after consultation of the map of the locality, a copy of which I asked for in my communication of this morning. If I am not much mistaken in my recollections of the locality, the whole plan is feasible, though for its full success more troops would be desirable in case the enemy is in large force. I feel confident, however, that a part, and perhaps the whole, may be carried out with the present force.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


I propose landing on the shore of Amelia Island, to engage and cut off, if possible, the retreat of the rebel force-the landing to be beyond the reach of his batteries; the town of Fernandina to be taken possession of as soon as possible, as well as the railroad beyond. A floating force (naval) should be pushed as rapidly as possible up the Amelia River past Fernandina, to intercept the retreat of the rebels, to prevent the destruction of the railroad bridge, and to save any rolling stock of the road that may be at Fernandina. A portion of the land force may be pushed into the interior by the railroad, if thought desirable; and another portion, taken on board the gunboats, may be sent up Cumberland Sound, to intercept the retreat of the garrison on Cumberland Island. Our reliance is on the squadron for boats for landing the troops and for cover in landing.

It is of the highest importance to the full success of our operations that the wharves at Fernandina, which the enemy will no doubt attempt to destroy, should be preserved. They will afford the means of putting troops on board the transports or gunboats for the further operations with great rapidity, and facilitate the landing of stores, &c.

H. G. WRIGHT, Brigadier-General.

HILTON HEAD, January 31, 1862.



HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED’Y CORPS, Steamer Empire City, Warsaw Sound, Ga., February 3, 1862.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN, &c.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that we succeeded in getting into this harbor yesterday with the two vessels in tow of the Empire City without any important damage.

Yesterday the weather was too stormy for vessels to lay alongside each other, and hence nothing could be done toward coaling, watering, &c. To-day, however, the weather is moderating, and work is going on with all dispatch.

The men are so crowded on board the Cosmopolitan and Boston that I shall be compelled to transfer some from each to the Marion, and take the latter on the expedition, according to the understanding I had with the chief quartermaster, Captain Saxton. Part of the medicines to have been forwarded by the medical director have not come to hand, according to the report of the brigade surgeon.

I shall use every endeavor to have the transports ready by the time the naval force shall be ready to move.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., February 5, 1862.

General M. C. MEIGS, Washington, D. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: The light-draught steamers, which we understand left New York for this place a long time ago, have not arrived, neither the boats, wagons, &c., which Saxton has been so long expecting.

I fear now, as the season has so far advanced, we shall do little but simply garrison the coast. I am not my own master. My master thus far have been the exigencies created by want of means and facilities for operating in a way desirable to both ourselves and the country at large. Savannah should have been in our possession by this time, not in the way expected by the anxious public on our arrival here; for of all the visionary and impracticable ideas that could have been invented, nothing could have equaled that of marching on Savannah on landing here; but by a distinct process, in combination with the Navy, either in besieging it by Montgomery, or taking it by the horns by boldly ascending the Savannah River under cover of the gunboats. For the former mode our siege material has never arrived. For the latter mode the opportunity has now unfortunately passed, and if we can, after such delay (which is no fault of the Army), succeed in cutting off Pulaski’s communications, we’ll do well. My firm conviction is that if the gunboats could have been induced to enter the river as early as the l7th or 18th of last month, when Wall’s Cut was then opened, and the enemy had no guns mounted at Savannah but those on Fort Jackson, Savannah would have fallen without a resistance of five hours duration, but it could not have been taken by the land force alone in that way.

As Savannah seems out of our grasp for the present, we shall go down to Fernandina as soon as the Navy is ready.

Very truly, yours,




HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., February 9, 1862.

To the ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. A., Washington, D. C.:

SIR: The imperative necessity of putting the blacks in the way of avoiding starvation before the planting season expires without a draw on the commissariat to an extent that would cripple the service, and for other reasons suggested in the general order which I herewith inclose, has induced me to the measures mentioned therein.

I would respectfully ask for a speedy reply to this communication, and should the plan be generally approved, then how far I shall be authorized to hire instructors. This is a point whereon I have entertained some doubts. I firmly believe, however, that the general agent of instruction should be employed by the Government, if not all the instructors-but the latter, the district or sub-instructors, may possibly be provided by the public charities.

This step which I have taken is of vital importance, and to be beneficial for the present year must go into operation at once. The present condition of the blacks, daily increasing in numbers and daily diminishing in their resources, must be alleviated both for their own welfare and the great cause itself.

No correct census has yet been taken but I estimate the number of blacks now on land in possession of our forces to be at least 9,000, which is probably a low estimate.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Hilton Head, S. C., February 6, 1862.

The helpless condition of the blacks inhabiting the vast area in the occupation of the forces of this command calls for immediate action on the part of a highly-favored and philanthropic people.

The occupation of a large portion of this area of country on the 7th of November last led to an address to the people of South Carolina, briefly setting forth the causes which led to it, its objects and purposes, and inviting all persons to the reoccupation in a loyal spirit of their lands and tenements and to a continuance of their avocations under the auspices of their legitimate Government and the protection of the Constitution of the United States.

The conciliatory and beneficent purposes of that proclamation, except in a few instances, have not only been disregarded, but hordes of totally uneducated, ignorant, and improvident blacks have been abandoned by their constitutional guardians, not only to all the future chances of anarchy and starvation, but in such a state of abject ignorance and mental stolidity as to preclude all possibility of self-government and self-maintenance in their present condition.

Adequate provision for the pressing necessities of this unfortunate and now interesting class of people being therefore imperatively demanded even by the dictates of humanity alone, an additional duty, next only in importance to that of the preservation of a world-revered Constitution and Union, is now forced upon us by an unnatural and wicked rebellion.


To relieve the Government of a burden that may hereafter become insupportable, and to enable the blacks to support and govern themselves in the absence and abandonment of their disloyal guardians, a suitable system of culture and instruction must be combined with one providing for their physical wants. Therefore, until proper legislation on the subject or until orders from higher authority, the country in occupation of the forces of this command will be divided off into districts of convenient size for proper superintendence. For each of these districts a suitable agent will be appointed, to superintend the management of the plantations by the blacks; to enroll and organize the willing blacks into working parties; to see that they are well fed, clad, and paid a proper remuneration for their labor; to take charge of all property on the plantation, whether found there, provided by the Government, or raised from the soil, and to perform all other administrative duties connected with the plantations that may be required by the Government.

A code of regulations on this subject, as well as a proper division of districts, will be furnished in due time. In the mean while, and until the blacks become capable themselves of thinking and acting judiciously, the services of competent instructors will be received, one or more for each district whose duties will consist in teaching them, both young and old, the rudiments of civilization and Christianity, their amenability to the laws of both God and man, their relations to each other as social beings, and all that is necessary to render them competent to sustain themselves in social and business pursuits.

For an efficient and complete organization of this system there will be appointed two general agents, one to have a general superintendence over the administrative or agricultural agents and the other over the educational department.

II. The above system is not intended in any respect to interfere with the existing orders respecting the employment of contrabands by the staff department of the Army and by the cotton agents.

III. As the blacks are now in great need of suitable clothing, if not other necessaries of life, which necessity will probably continue and even increase until the above system gets into working order, the benevolent and philanthropic of the land are most earnestly appealed to for assistance in relieving their immediate wants.

Never was there a nobler or more fitting opportunity for the operation of that considerate and practical benevolence for which the Northern people have ever been distinguished.

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

L. H. PELOUZE, Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED’Y CORPS, Steamer Empire City, Warsaw Sound, Ga., February 10, 1862.


GENERAL: I send the steamer Marion to Hilton Head to-day to procure certain articles of property, officers’ supplies, &c., left behind, which have become essential to the health and comfort of the command, with orders to the captain to return as soon as the objects of the trip are attained, or sooner if the remainder of the expedition should be sooner ready.


The troops have been landed and are in camp on Warsaw Island, but the debarkation has been made under unfavorable circumstances on account of the weather, and I fear the health of the command may suffer in consequence. So far the health of the men has been good, notwithstanding the confinement; much better than at Hilton Head.

A good deal of activity is exhibited by the rebels in their works at the Skidaway battery.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, A. G. O., Washington, February 12, 1862.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, U. S. A., Commanding, &c., Port Royal, S. C.:

SIR: The General-in-Chief directs that you send about 300 or 400 contrabands to Key West, to be employed on the public works there.

I am, &c.,

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, February 12, 1862.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding, Port Royal:

GENERAL: You will learn by the mail that brings you this of our success in the West and East. The line of the Tennessee is open to us. Our gunboats have reached Florence, Ala., after taking Fort Henry, on the line between Tennessee and Kentucky, and we hope to hear to-day that Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland, has also been taken.

Burnside has most gallantly carried Roanoke Island, with some loss, but inflicting terrible destruction upon the enemy. All their positions are taken, their fleet of gunboats captured or destroyed. Our raw troops, according to the rebel accounts, behaved most gallantly.

General Meigs has just informed me that he has ordered a large number of small boats. He is not yet informed of their leaving port. I have to-day a dispatch from Philadelphia in regard to shipping forty-eight surf-boats ready there to go to Port Royal. They will go forward at once.

I have been daily expecting to hear more definite accounts of what can be done in the Savannah River and of the possibility of starving out Fort Pulaski. While awaiting further re-enforcements, and while the rebels are pushed so much in other quarters, I would suggest for your consideration whether, by reducing your garrisons to the minimum, a successful combined attack cannot be made on Savannah so soon as Pulaski has fallen.

In great haste, I am, general, very truly, yours,

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.



HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, February 14, 1862.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding at Port Royal, &c.:

GENERAL: Your dispatches in regard to the occupation of Daufuskie Island, &c., were received to-day. I saw also to-day for the first time your requisition for a siege train for Savannah.

After giving the subject all the consideration in my power, I am forced to the conclusion that under present circumstances the siege and capture of Savannah do not promise results commensurate with the sacrifices necessary. When I learned that it was possible for the gunboats to reach the Savannah River above Fort Pulaski, two operations suggested themselves to my mind as its immediate results:

First. The capture of Savannah by a coup de main-the result of an instantaneous advance and attack by the Army and Navy.

The time for this has passed, and your letter indicates that you are not accountable for the failure to seize the propitious moment, but that, on the contrary, you perceived its advantages.

Second. To isolate Fort Pulaski, out off its supplies, and at least facilitate its reduction by a bombardment.

Although we have a long delay to deplore, the second course still remains open to us; and I strongly advise the close blockade of Pulaski and its bombardment as soon as the 13-inch mortars and heavy guns reach you. I am confident you can thus reduce it. With Pulaski you gain all that is really essential; you obtain complete control of the harbor; you relieve the blockading fleet, and render the main body of your force disposable for other operations.

I do not consider the possession of Savannah worth a siege after Pulaski is in our hands. But the possession of Pulaski is of the first importance. The expedition to Fernandina is well, and I shall be glad to learn that it is ours.

But, after all, the greatest moral effect would be produced by the reduction of Charleston and its defenses. There the rebellion had its birth; there the unnatural hatred of our Government is most intense; there is the center of the boasted power and courage of the rebels.

To gain Fort Sumter and hold Charleston is a task well worthy of our greatest efforts and considerable sacrifices. That is the problem I would be glad to have you study. Some time must elapse before we can be in all respects ready to accomplish that purpose. Fleets are en route and armies in motion which have certain preliminary objects to accomplish before we are ready to take Charleston in hand, but the time will before long arrive when I shall be prepared to make that movement. In the mean time it is my advice and wish that no attempt be made upon Savannah, unless it can be carried with certainty by a coup de main.

Please concentrate your attention and forces upon Pulaski and Fernandina. Saint Augustine might as well be taken by way of an interlude, while awaiting the preparations for Charleston. Success attends us everywhere at present.

Very truly, yours,

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General, Commanding U. S. Army. {p.226}

HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., February 15, 1862.

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

SIR: As I informed you on the 8th instant, General Viele had orders to erect his battery on the Savannah River, whether the Navy could assist him or not. Accordingly a battery of six siege guns was erected at Venus Point, on Jones Island, on the night of the 11th instant, and fortunately without molestation from the enemy.

In order to render the blockade of the river complete, a similar battery is to be erected at the head of Long Island. The preparations for this have, like the other, been ready ever since the day of the reconnaissance, the 28th of January.

As the naval gunboats cannot be prevailed upon to enter the river, I have given General Viele orders to likewise erect this battery without them, which I think will be done without much hazard, now that the Venus Point battery is up.

Commodore DuPont will leave two or three light-draught gunboats in Mud River, which will probably tend to cover our batteries from gunboats of the enemy coming down the Savannah and attempting to take us in rear by way of Mud River.

I have sent a 10-inch columbiad down there, which will now be necessary without the aid of the gunboats.

General Wright’s troops are yet in Warsaw Sound, waiting for the Navy.

Our delays since the middle of January have grieved me to almost a state of mortification. The season is rapidly passing; we can work six weeks longer, and probably twelve. Now, if anything serious is to be done in that time over and beyond the expedition that is about to start, I will state candidly and explicitly what will be required at once: All the means of transportation that have been asked for (which I believe have been ordered but which have never got here); the mortars and siege equipage (which are gradually arriving, though none of the 13-inch are here yet), and 10,000 infantry troops.

The great extent of coast we have had to garrison and guard has absorbed a good portion of our troops.

The mortar battery against Pulaski will go up as soon as the mortars arrive.

Savannah is out of the question with our present force, particularly after the detachments to Fernandina and Edisto Island, which I did not desire to make at present; but, in order to do something in the absence of our ability to get on the main for want of transportation, was compelled to do so.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


The 10,000 infantry asked for are not at present available. Recommend to General Sherman to reduce Fort Pulaski in preference to attempting Savannah.

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General.



WAR DEPARTMENT, February 18, 1862.

Col. DANIEL D. TOMPKINS, Assistant Quartermaster-General, New York City:

COLONEL: You are hereby directed to furnish transportation by sea from New York City to Port Royal, S. C., to all persons who may present to you written permits, issued under the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury, and setting forth that such persons are proceeding to Port Royal, under the sanction of the Government, upon business relating to the collection, safe-keeping, and disposition of cotton, rice, and other property abandoned by persons inhabiting any district within the late territorial limits of States declared by proclamation to be in insurrection, and to the condition and employment of persons of color, there or in the vicinity, lately held to service or labor by enemies of the United States, and now within the occupying lines and under the military protection of the Army. Said permits will specify whether the transportation shall be cabin or steerage, and will cover all baggage, agricultural instruments, and other articles mentioned therein.

You will also make suitable provisions for supplying said passengers with food during the voyage. Permits signed by the collector of the customs at New York City will be regarded by you as emanating from the Treasury Department.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


WAR DEPARTMENT, February 18, 1862.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Commanding at Port Royal, B. C.:

GENERAL: You are hereby directed to afford protection, subsistence, and facilities, so far as may be consistent with the interests of the service and the duties and the objects of your command, to all persons who may present to you written permits, issued to them under the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury, setting forth that said persons have proceeded to Port Royal under the sanction of the Government, for the collection, safe-keeping, and disposition of cotton, rice, and other property abandoned by the late possessors within your military department, and for the regulation and employment of persons of color lately held to service or labor by enemies of the United States, and now within the occupying lines and under the military protection of the Army.

Such permits, signed by the collector of the customs at New York City, will be considered by you as emanating from the Treasury Department.

Under the head of subsistence will be included rations to such persons as may be employed under the direction of the Treasury Department in the temporary charge of abandoned plantations, or, with its sanction, in labors for the instruction and improvement of the laboring population.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


ENGINEER OFFICE, February 21, 1862.


DEAR GENERAL: The inclosed pages were drawn up by Colonel Woodbury at my request. I do not suppose you will have time to read {p.228} them; but you may skim over them to get the main points, and the information may be useful in directing future operations. It is hardly likely you would care just now to get up an expedition of the magnitude required to take Charleston (it appears to be the most difficult point of the whole coast; I mean its forts), but you might hereafter find occasion to attack. Fort Pulaski taken-and that ought to be taken speedily-perhaps Sherman’s and Burnside’s army might unite upon Charleston. Woodbury thinks that Burnside can take Forts Macon and Caswell; if so, it may be a question whether he had not better take these than go to Goldsborough. But all these things are conjectural, and I give you the data, as much as I can, to post you for whatever may turn up.

If those Tennessee prisoners are really disposed to take the oath of allegiance, would it not be a wise policy to let them go home? We want to raise the State in our favor as speedily as possible.

You had better return me these notes as soon as you have glanced at them, as they will be of more use in my hands than yours just now.

Yours, respectfully,




We may assume that we have not now the means required to carry the formidable works of Charleston Harbor by a coup de main. History furnishes no precedent of the success of such an undertaking, but does furnish many examples of failure. In the war of the Revolution a pretty formidable British fleet failed in a contest with old Fort Moultrie. Since that period the power of fleets has been greatly increased by the use of steam and of iron-plated vessels of war; but the fortifications of Charleston Harbor have gained power perhaps in equal ratio. It is quite possible that a few iron-clad steamers, assisted by other vessels, might silence Fort Moultrie, and batter down the walls of Fort Sumter in a very few days, and that the same fleet might take in succession all the other fortifications now in possession of the revolutionists. But we have no such fleet, and cannot have for many months. We are compelled, therefore, to resort to the old methods. I regard, however, as essential to success at least two iron-plated steamers of great power; four such steamers, I believe, would insure success; six, easy success. The attack would comprise, I think, the following operations, the three first to be nearly simultaneous:

1st. Landing on Sullivan’s Island and promptly investing Fort Moultrie.

2d. Landing on Morris Island with artillery to reduce Fort Sumter, including some twenty rifle cannon of large caliber.

3d. Two or more iron-clad war steamers must run in, under cover of partial darkness or of a fog, and take a position in Rebellion Roads, to keep off re-enforcements from Sumter and Moultrie.

4th. The erection of gun and mortar batteries against the forts, cannonade, bombardment, breaching, and finally assault, if necessary.

5th. Sumter and Moultrie taken, Castle Pinckney to be reduced by continued cannonade and bombardment from the iron-clad and other vessels. Some of these vessels may probably be able to take a position behind the fort.

6th. As soon as Sumter and Moultrie are taken the city of Charleston will be virtually in our hands, unless the Confederates have powerful {p.229} batteries on both Cooper and Ashley Rivers; for the iron steamers at least may pass by Castle Pinckney without much damage. Still, to possess the harbor, it would be necessary to take that work, and it would be easy to do so by an attack on all sides after the capture of the works above mentioned. Fort Johnson and the other works around Charleston would, I think, be abandoned by the enemy.

I will now briefly discuss the modus operandi and the details, premising that all our knowledge of the channels and of the adjacent harbors is derived from the charts and notes of the Coast Survey and from the excellent map of Col. Hartman Bache, of the Topographical Engineers, published in 1825. I have myself, as light-house inspector, been somewhat familiar with Charleston Harbor, and have passed through the inner channel from that harbor to Bull’s Bay.


Bull’s Bay, 21 miles east of Fort Moultrie, is an excellent harbor, of easy entrance, with 13 feet on the bar at low water and 18 feet at high water. This place is said to be fortified. There are sand hills immediately behind the light-house, some 50 feet above the water, with a counter-slope and ravines affording excellent cover for infantry.

If the fortifications have been placed on these hills, which are, according to my recollection, about one-fourth mile from the beach, it will be necessary, probably, in order to seize them, to assail by land as well as by water. Troops may be landed from boats on the beach, as Professor Bache states, about 3 miles from the northeast bluff. I am disposed to think the enemy would abandon this place, if they have not already done so, as soon as they perceived that an attack was to be made in force. If they make a stand, the entire garrison ought to be captured. With one or more iron-clad vessels and some vessels of small draught and armed barges we can, I think, take possession of the entire channel around Bull Island. Escape by water would be impossible. Escape by land could only be made at low water through the marshes at the divide, and this I think would be very difficult. The next inlet of any importance, proceeding towards Charleston, is

Dewees’ Inlet, 9 miles from Fort Moultrie, with 7 feet on the bar at low water and 12 feet at high water, and a good anchorage inside.

Breach Inlet, at the eastern end of Sullivan’s Island, about 3 miles from Fort Moultrie, can be entered by boats and barges at high water. Passing by Charleston Harbor, the first inlet west is

Light-House Inlet, 4 1/2 miles west of Fort Sumter and less than 1 mile from Charleston light. Boats entering here can pass through interior channels to Stono River and to Charleston.

Stono Inlet, about 8 miles westerly from Charleston main bar, has about 8 feet at low water and probably 13 feet at high water. It is said to be fortified.

North Edisto Inlet, 18 miles southwesterly from Charleston Bar, has 13 feet at low water and 19 feet at high water. It is, or has recently been, in our possession.


Sullivan’s Island Channel, recently obstructed by “stone ships,” has 11 feet at low water, 16 or 17 feet at high water.

North Channel, still open, 8 feet at low water, 13 or 14 feet at high water.


Swash Channel, still open, 9 feet at low water, 14 feet at high water. Main Ship Channel, obstructed, 13 feet at low water, 18 or 19 feet at high water.

Lawford’s Channel, open, 7 feet at low water, 12 feet at high water.


Our southern Atlantic beach is always rough on the flood tide whatever be the wind. It is always rough on the ebb tide with any considerable onshore wind. But an ebb tide with no wind, or a slight onshore wind, or any kind of offshore wind, secures a good landing. As these conditions are not fulfilled every day, or indeed every week, and as they cannot be predicted many hours ahead, it is necessary to have a rendezvous at hand-the nearer the better. I am disposed to think there should be two such places: Bull’s Bay for the Moultrie party, North Edisto for Sumter. The interior channels from each of these places to Charleston Harbor may perhaps be used as auxiliary directions of attack. The inside channel from Bull’s Bay enters Charleston Harbor at the point of Sullivan’s Island, three-fourths of a mile from Fort Moultrie. It has of course a divide between each two inlets, and these divides, being early or quite bare at low water, will pass boats or vessels drawing 4 or 5 feet at high water. As the high water occurs on all these divides at the same time, it would generally be necessary for vessels drawing 4 or 5 feet to use several tides in going through. Moreover, the channel passes occasionally near the Banks, or narrow islands, which skirt the beach, and at these points a few field pieces would make the navigation difficult.

Enough has been said to show that we could not safely use this inside channel without first taking possession of the Banks. It is quite possible, however, that at the moment of landing on the beach of Sullivan’s Island a few armed barges, having entered at Breach Inlet or Dewees’ Inlet, might make a useful diversion in the rear.


The island generally is about one-fourth of a mile wide. Along the central part, about 1 1/2 miles from Fort Moultrie and 2 1/2 miles from Fort Sumter, along a reach more than one-half mile long at high water and during two or three hours after high water, gunboats of 10 feet draught can lie or maneuver within 300 yards of the beach. Under cover of their fire, and particularly of their cross-fire, good infantry, I think, could land and effect a footing. Once in possession of a strip of the island extending back to the marsh, they could face right and left, and, with the continued aid of the gunboats, first take possession of the eastern end of the island, then advance upon Fort Moultrie within range of its guns, and commence the operations of a siege.

But the preliminary operation in this case is not without its difficulties and its doubts. If the enemy has notice of the attack and suspects the point of attack; if he has strong inclosed batteries at that point, with large bodies of infantry behind the sand hills supporting those batteries, the undertaking would seem to be too hazardous.

There is another mode of attack which ought to be undertaken at the same time. The success of either will be sufficient. I allude to an attack upon the eastern end of Sullivan’s Island. Small craft, drawing not more than 3 feet, made proof against musketry and field artillery, armed with musketry and boat howitzers, can be brought up in any {p.231} number from Dewees’ Harbor, only 6 or 7 miles off, and make an attack which it would be very hard to resist. Once landed in force, aided by the gunboats on one flank and perhaps by the same small craft on the other, our troops could, I am confident, without serious difficulty, drive the enemy down to Fort Moultrie, whatever batteries he may have along the beach. If we can obtain these small vessels of the right kind and in sufficient number I should think this last attack the most promising of the two. Preparations for the other, however, should by no means be omitted. There is in common use in North Carolina a small craft called a flat, drawing, when not loaded, about 15 inches, carrying from 10 to 20 tons, with a center-board, schooner-rigged, strong, easily managed by two men, fast-sailing, open, but seaworthy, as I know by experience, capable of carrying the timbers or bales of wet cotton necessary to make them shot-proof. They would answer the purpose in hand, I think, admirably.


I should recommend here the same preparation for a real or pretended attack on the beach and a simultaneous attack by small craft on the west end of Morris Island. Whether it will be best to make these attacks on Morris Island simultaneously with similar attacks on Sullivan’s Island or to let the one follow the other at the interval of a day or two, I will not pretend to say. It must depend on the means at hand. Simultaneous attacks are certainly desirable.

Preliminary to the attack by small craft on the west end of Morris Island it may be necessary to take possession of Stono Inlet and Folly Island. Vessels of 12 feet draught entering at Stono Inlet can be taken along the channel immediately behind Folly Island to the divide, 2 miles from Light-House Inlet. This divide, according to Hartman Bache, has 1 foot at low water; 5 or 6 therefore at high water. There are several other channels from Stono to Light-House Inlet. The character of the country is such as to make it improbable that the enemy should make a stand around Folly Island. Once landed on Morris Island, our troops would, I think, aided by the gunboats, easily drive the enemy down that narrow strip of land, and probably capture those who had not the means of immediate escape.

As soon as possible after landing on the two islands two or more iron-plated vessels should take a position in Rebellion Roads.


The extent of the harbor is such that the vessels may heat anchor or maneuver 1 1/4 miles from Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney, and as near Fort Johnson on the south and Haddrell’s beacon on the north as it may be safe to go. These vessels could make it difficult for anything but small boats to pass from the city to the forts, and at the proper time, by a reverse fire, they could greatly assist in the reduction of the forts.


This is an irregular open barbette work, covering about 2 1/2 acres of ground. It has three land fronts and three water fronts. The steamboat landing at the point of the island and the road therefrom to the fort are seen and commanded by a half bastion front 213 feet long, with nine guns, of which two are on the flank. The next land front facing the cove north of the fort is a regular bastion 405 feet long, with one gun on {p.232} each face and two on each flank and room for more. The next front, directly opposed to our approaches, is a bastion front 244 feet long, with two guns on each flank, one on one face, two on the curtain, and room for three more.

Next a water front 121 feet long, with five guns.

Next a water front 251 feet long, with twelve guns.

Next a water front 173 feet long, with nine guns.

The guns are stated in accordance with the intended armament of the fort. The guns actually furnished by the United States before the fort was seized by the Confederates were as follows: Four 24-pounder howitzers; ten 8-inch columbiads; five 8-inch seacoast howitzers; fourteen 32-pounders; sixteen 24-pounders.

The fort had been supplied with its full armament, and the Confederates have probably added all they found room for. In 1860-’61 Captain (now General) Foster made some repairs and additions, which are thus described by him:

A wet ditch, 15 feet wide all around the fort, of small depth, in consequence of quicksand, the latter readily yielding to pressure, is a good obstacle in itself. A picket fence all around the fort, bordering the ditch, and protected from fire by a small glacis; a bastionette for musketry at the northwest angle-a temporary machicoulis gallery at the southeast angle; two caponieres of bricks to flank the three water fronts; merlons on the whole of the east front.

The Confederates have added merlons on the water fronts, and it is probable that most of the guns may now be fired from embrasures. The guns are all in barbette, unless some casemate guns (howitzers) have been placed in the caponieres added by Captain Foster. The entrance is through the middle of the longest bastion front. This is or was the sally-port through the curtain of the other bastion front. Our approaches along the island will be opposed by a very short bastion front and by one flank of the other bastion front, mounting ten guns in all. The longest front, which contains the main entrance, will be enfiladed.

There can be no difficulty in breaching the work and dismounting its guns, provided we can advance along the narrow strip of land in places not more than 250 yards between water lines and out off re-enforcements. If the enemy can carry off his wounded, renew his men and means at will, it will be difficult to obtain any advantage over him. His base of operations is close at hand, and he can build batteries in the sand as well as we can; moreover, he has every motive for fighting at this point desperately. Hence the necessity, already urged, of isolating the place, and the necessity of using inside some gunboats of light draught to assist others of heavier draught outside and the land forces in drawing the enemy into the fort. He cannot carry on a very long contest in the fort.

I don’t think we need apprehend any very serious annoyance from Fort Sumter. It will be a mile and a quarter from the nearest part of the theater of operations. A drawing attached hereto* shows the situation of the work, its profile, magazines, barracks, officers’ quarters, &c. I find no drawing at the Engineer Bureau illustrating the recent repairs and additions made by Captain Foster. The two brick caponieres on the water fronts are supposed to be entered from the terre-plein above. The masonry scarp stands about 14 feet above high water. The bottom of the ditch is probably 2 or 3 feet below high water. The merlons added by the Confederates increase still more the proper height of the scarp, except at the embrasures. The parapet is about 11 feet thick. The scarp wall is made of bricks, and is 7 feet thick at bottom and 3 1/2 {p.233} feet at top. There were no casemates in the original work, but little bomb-proofs. What bomb-proofs the Confederates may have added we do not know. The scarp is probably exposed to the view of distant batteries; but on this we ought not to count,as it is exceedingly easy to throw up a protecting barrier of sand. The small elevation of this work-its guns are only 15 feet above high water-exposes it greatly to the action of vessels afloat at the moment of assault. With four iron-plated men-of-war I am inclined to think the work could be carried by assault without waiting for the operations of a siege.


This is a strong casemated work, covering about 3 1/2 acres of ground, rising from an artificial island three-quarters of a mile from the nearest land, armed, or capable of being armed, with 53 barbette guns, in a plane 50 feet above low water; 41 guns in casemates 27 feet above low water, and 41 casemate guns 15 feet above low water. There are no casemate guns on the gorge; light howitzers might, however, be mounted there. The wooden floors which have been placed in the gorge were not intended to bear heavy guns. Still it must be borne in mind that the Confederates may have propped up some of these floors, cut embrasures, and mounted cannon of large caliber in some of the casemates of the gorge. The guns bearing on Cummings Point are: 20 barbette guns at an angle of about 450 with the parapets; 3 barbette guns on the pan-coupé nearly direct; 4 casemate guns on the pan-coupé nearly direct; 27 in all. The Confederates may, however, add to the casemate guns by building oblique embrasures in the scarp.

The guns bearing on Fort Moultrie are: 10 barbette guns, nearly direct; 2 barbette guns, slightly oblique: 18 casemate guns, nearly direct; 4 casemate guns, oblique; 34 in all. The approaches to Fort Moultrie from the east are seen by these 34 guns belonging to the right face; and Sullivan’s Island, northwest of Fort Moultrie, is exposed to an equal number of guns on the left face-some parts of it to nearly all the guns of both faces. Rebellion Roads are exposed to 30 guns in the left face, or 27 guns in the left flank, or all together, according to the situation. I have spoken above of all the guns that can be mounted in Fort Sumter. The guns actually supplied by the United States were, ten 42-pounders; forty-one 32-pounders; three 10-inch columbiads; ten 8-inch columbiads; eight 8-inch seacoast howitzers; six 24-pounders; 78 in all, leaving 57 wanting.

A drawing of Fort Sumter, in connection with the chart of Charleston Harbor, will illustrate the strength and situation of the work. The principal question is, Can a practicable breach be made in Fort Sumter by batteries located on Cummings Point? I believe there can be. Captain Foster, in his journal of the bombardment of Fort Sumter in May last, reports as follows the breaching batteries on Morris Island or Cummings Point:

Breaching battery No. 1, two 42-pounders; one 12-pounder rifle gun =3. Breaching battery No. 2, iron-clad, three 8-inch columbiads=3; 6 in all.

The fire commenced at daybreak on the 13th, and was discontinued at Cummings Point about 1 p.m. on the 14th. The two 8-inch columbiads and the rifle gun were the only ones that were used in the effort to make a breach. The latter was fired with great accuracy. All three missiles made the same penetration-11 inches in the brick masonry. They continued {p.234} firing about twenty hours, and knocked off the face of the wall around one embrasure of the pan-coupé to the depth of 22 inches. Instead of one 12-pounder rifle gun, suppose we have twenty of large caliber, and instead of two 8-inch columbiads, some 12, 10, or 11 inch guns, there is little doubt of our ability to make a breach of any desired magnitude in a week or ten days. If we cut away the masonry between three or four of the lower embrasures to the depth of 3 feet, I believe the scarp opposite and above these cuts will fall over in a body, pressed as it always is by the thrust of the communicating arches. If we cut away the 5 by 7 inch pier between any two casemate arches, all the casemate arches on that front of the work will, I think, fall down, for the piers are far from being abutment piers. Should any such accident occur to the right flank-a matter simply of time-I think the work could not much longer hold out. An assault would hardly be necessary.

Vessels drawing about 9 feet can be taken around the south side of Fort Sumter and placed opposite the gorge, 150 feet from the work, below the range of the barbette guns. The two casemates of each story, at each end of the gorge, are occupied as powder magazines.

Fort Sumter can be taken the more easily if Fort Moultrie is taken first. From the latter place and its vicinity all the barbette guns which bear upon Cummings Point can be enfiladed or taken in reverse. There is a platform 10 feet in width around Fort Sumter about 5 feet below the lower embrasures. The outer slopes of this platform are composed of rough granite, a part of the original artificial island. Landing from boats on this platform would be very difficult.


This small work could not make much resistance after the capture of Moultrie and Sumter, provided we have the two iron-plated vessels considered essential to success in the general attack. These vessels may take a position north of the work at the distance of about 500 yards, where only two guns can bear upon them, unless batteries have been built outside of the fort. Castle Pinckney, to vessels approaching Charleston by the main channel, presents a semi-circle 168 feet in diameter, with eight casemate and ten barbette guns; two other barbette guns look north. The interior crest stands about 25 feet above the foot of the scarp and probably about 35 feet above low water. The exterior pavement is 4 or 5 feet below the embrasures, and nearly on the level of the parade. The details may be learned from the drawing.

Castle Pinckney was supplied by the United States with the following armament: For casemates, four 42-pounders, four 24-pounders; for barbette, four 8-inch seacoast howitzers, ten 24-pounders = 22; two more, apparently, than can be mounted in the work.


Troops, including enough to hold some adjacent islands, 15,000; transports sufficient to carry the troops; fleet as large as the one which captured the works at Port Royal.

Iron-plated vessels required, 2.

Flats or small craft drawing 3 or 4 feet, and capable of carrying 100 men each, proof against musketry and field artillery, armed with boat howitzers, 30.


Siege train.-Twenty rifle cannon of large caliber, each with 1000 rounds of ammunition, twelve 10 or 11 inch guns, twenty mortars, Arc.

D. P. WOODBURY, Lieutenant-Colonel, Aide-de-Camp.

* Not found.


FEBRUARY 18, 1862.-Prepared for General J. G. Barnard, chief engineer Army of the Potomac, Washington, D. C.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., February 23, 1862.

Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army:

GENERAL: Yours of the 12th instant was received to-day by the Harriet Lane. We are all very much elated with your brilliant victories in North Carolina and Tennessee, and hope that they will extend farther South and strike a stunning blow to this rebellion.

We have now two batteries on Savannah River of six guns each; one on Jones Island at Venus Point, and the other on the upper end of Bird Island. The river is effectually blocked, but never were batteries put up and maintained under precisely the same circumstances before. The guns were hauled by hand over the soft marsh of Jones Island with the greatest labor the distance of a mile, the marsh knee-deep and covered with water at high tide; indeed, both batteries are actually in the river.

We have taken since yesterday morning some two or three citizens of Savannah endeavoring to get a mail down to Pulaski through a by creek not far from Tybee. They say that Savannah could very easily have been taken thirty days ago had we gone straight up the river at that time, which fully confirms my opinion, which I endeavored to carry out, but failed in consequence of the unwillingness of the Navy to do it, though they at first agreed to.

The Navy have not yet been ready for Fernandina, but if the weather will suit we shall probably start to-morrow morning. Whilst this expedition is carried out our siege artillery will be arriving and our mortar and columbiad battery erecting on Tybee, when it is hoped that I shall be able to commence operations on Savannah.

The prisoners from Savannah bring word that the news of the fall of Fort Donelson had reached Savannah; that the victory was complete, and 5,000 prisoners taken. We hope it is true and believe that it is.

Very truly, yours,

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

Pulaski is reported to have from six to ten months’ provisions for its garrison, about 500 men, but the prisoners say that they have only ammunition enough for two days’ fighting.


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Off Tybee, Ga., February 27, 1862.


SIR: It was my intention to accompany the expedition for Fernandina, and while waiting in Warsaw Sound for the naval force to join us from Hilton Head I received the important information that Brunswick {p.236} and the forts at Saint Simon’s have been evacuated since the 15th instant. This news was brought by a refugee from Savannah, and is corroborated by the Charleston papers of the 18th instant. Our threat upon Savannah has therefore already reduced the strongest hold of the enemy south of us, and the fall of the city would undoubtedly produce the fall of all forts on the coast between here and Saint Augustine, as predicted in my letter of the 14th of December last. But as this expedition, planned upwards of a month ago, in order to economize and make the most of a short period of time, in which nothing else could be done with the troops engaged in it, has been waiting at the expense of many transports lying idle and some sacrifice of life, I think it should proceed, particularly as the Navy are anxious to complete it, notwithstanding the period of time in which it was to be accomplished has long since run out. But as the enemy are discovered to be concentrating most of their forces on Savannah, and guns too (as upwards of twenty pieces of heavy caliber are known to have recently been brought from Brunswick and planted about Savannah), I consider the coast now but a cobweb, to be penetrated with ease, and am therefore on my return to Port Royal, to continue the charge of affairs in that quarter, leaving the expedition with Brigadier-General Wright. This division of force at this particular juncture may be regarded as a fault, but the reason for it can be seen from what I have stated, and, besides, Fernandina and Brunswick are points of some importance.

The Savannah River is closed as tight as a bottle between Savannah and Pulaski, and we are pushing preparations at Tybee for bombardment as rapidly as the weather will allow.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Port Royal, S. C., February 28, 1862.


GENERAL: The deserters just in from Savannah say there are about 65,000 troops in and about the city, which is well fortified both on the land and river sides. They are moving heaven and earth for a secure defense. So far as I can ascertain some of the smaller forts on the coast are being stripped of artillery with which to protect Savannah. The abandonment of Brunswick is an evidence of it. I hope to soon get under way at Tybee, though the rough stormy weather makes it very slow in getting the ordnance landed. We must get entirely ready before we open. The Massachusetts regiment has arrived, and we hope more will follow soon. I rather think we shall have to take Savannah by way of Vernon River. If the Navy could not assist us last month, when no guns had been put up on the river except those at Fort Jackson, it certainly cannot now, when the enemy have completed so many of them.

Our siege artillery is arriving. The news I have through Savannah papers (found with the prisoners) gives the most cheering and welcome accounts of your successes, and, general, I most sincerely congratulate you on your plans being carried out with such brilliant successes. My opinion is that you have about crushed this rebellion already. The Savannah and Charleston papers show a deeply saddened spirit among the people, though yet an apparently determined one; but I know the people of the South are unable to stand this state of things long. They {p.237} are quick to fight when occasion offers, but as quick to fall when misfortune occurs.

Yours, very truly,

T. W. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General.


Abstract from return of the Expeditionary Corps, commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. Army, for February, 1862.

Stations.Present.Aggregate present and absent.Remarks.
For duty.Total.For duty.Total.
Beaufort, S. C.1211382,8953,3733,737The 2d Brigade and Rockwell’s (Connecticut) battery.
Daufuskie Island, S. C.3437790852906Headquarters 1st Brigade and 48th New York.
Edisto Island, S. C.212253857261347th New York.
Fort Welles S. C.61651,3101,5701,70576th Pennsylvania and 3d Rhode Island.
Hilton Head, S. C.1882014,6675,0345,5688th Maine, 28th Massachusetts, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, 3rd New Hampshire, 1st New York Engineers, and 55th Pennsylvania.
Otter Island338377285693545th Pennsylvania.
Savannah River2260631463d U. S. Artillery, Battery E.
Tybee Island, Ga.59661,3161,5461,6557th Connecticut and 46th New York.
Warsaw Sound, Ga.1291313,0083,2673,708Headquarters 3d Brigade, 6th Connecticut, 9th Maine, 4th New Hampshire, and 97th Pennsylvania.
Division headquarters2828262855Headquarters staff, &c.


  • First Brigade.
    Brig. Gen. EGBERT L. VIELE.
    • 8th Maine, Col. John D. Rust.
    • 3d New Hampshire, Col. E. Q. Fellows.
    • 46th New York, Col. Rudolph Rosa.
    • 47th New York, Col. Henry Moore.
    • 48th New York, Col. James H. Perry.
    • 55th Pennsylvania, Col. Richard White.
  • Second Brigade.
    Brig. Gen. ISAAC I. STEVENS.
    • 8th Michigan, Col. Wm. M. Fenton.
    • 79th New York, Col. Addison Farnsworth.
    • 50th Pennsylvania, Col. B. C. Christ,
    • 100th Pennsylvania, Col. Daniel Leasure.
  • Third Brigade.
    Brig. Gen. HORATIO G. WRIGHT.
    • 6th Connecticut, Col. John L. Chatfield.
    • 7th Connecticut, Col. Alfred H. Terry.
    • 9th Maine, Col. Rishworth Rich.
    • 4th New Hampshire, Col. Thomas J. Whipple.
    • 97th Pennsylvania, Col. Henry R. Guss.
  • Troops not brigaded.
    • 25th Massachusetts, Col. Wm. Montieth.
    • 1st New York Engineers, Col. E. W. Serrell.
    • 45th Pennsylvania, Col. Thomas Welsh.
    • 76th Pennsylvania, Col. John M. Power.
    • 3d Rhode Island, Col. Nathaniel W. Brown.
    • 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, Col. Robert Williams.
    • 1st Connecticut Battery, Capt. A. P. Rockwell.
    • 3d U. S. Artillery, Battery E, Capt. John Hamilton.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED’Y CORPS, Saint Andrew’s Sound, Ga., March 2, 1862.

Col. H. R. Guss, Commanding Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment:

COLONEL: Intelligence, deemed reliable, has been received to the effect that the enemy has abandoned Fernandina and its vicinity, removing the guns and property at that point. It has therefore been decided that, instead of proceeding according to the original project, a portion of the light-draught gunboats, with a part of the land force, shall proceed at once by the inland passage, while the remainder of the fleet will go outside. Your regiment, or rather the eight companies on board the Boston, will accompany the gunboats by the inland passage, and the transport will at once move up the sound to join them.

On your arrival at Fernandina you will co-operate with the naval force under the command of Capt. P. Drayton, of the Pawnee, by landing your troops, taking possession of the town and of the railroad and its crossing over the marsh and the river.

The possession of this road in a serviceable condition may be of the utmost importance to our further operations, and you will consequently use every exertion to prevent its destruction by the enemy.

Should any of the enemy be still upon Amelia Island, you will effect their capture, if possible.

Preserve all public property left behind, and afford every protection to private property, not permitting the appropriation of the smallest article by the troops of your command.

Wishing you every success, I am, very respectfully,

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


MARCH 6, 1862.

General SHERMAN, Port Royal:

If it will not interfere with any operation of greater importance that you may now have on hand, the General-in-Chief hopes that you will be able to arrange with Commodore DuPont for the prompt occupation of Fernandina, in accordance with the original plan of the expedition. It is supposed that this operation will not interfere with the reduction of Fort Pulaski, which is regarded as a matter of very great importance.

The general would also be glad to have your views in regard to the best disposition to be made of your troops during the approaching unhealthy season, and whether any peculiar arrangements should be made to secure their health during the summer in regard to barracks, diet, &c.

Will General Thomas please write about the substance of the above and send it to the Navy Department before 1 o’clock to day, together with the private letter accompanying it?*

Very truly,

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General.

* The letter based upon this, and acknowledged by Sherman (p. 253) March 26, is not found.




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

GENERAL: After consultation with the flag-officer, it has been determined to send an expedition to the Saint John’s River, to consist of several gunboats and a portion of the land force, and it is directed to start to-morrow morning. The troops will consist of eight companies of the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, under the command of Col. T. J. Whipple.

From all that can be gathered in the way of information, it is believed that a portion, at any rate, of the guns removed from this place previous to our arrival have been taken to Jacksonville, or some point below on the river; that the enemy has a battery at the mouth of the river, another at Saint John’s Bluff, and that a third has been commenced at Dame’s Point. To destroy these batteries, take possession of the guns, and capture Jacksonville are the objects of the expedition.

It is agreed by Flag-Officer DuPont and myself that the permanent occupation of Jacksonville at this time would not be judicious nor do I think it in accordance with the spirit of your instructions of the 27th ultimo. It has therefore been determined that, while it may be desirable to land and occupy Jacksonville or other points for a few hours for purposes of reconnaissance or other necessary service, the troops shall be withdrawn and return with the gunboats when this shall have been accomplished.

The McClellan, which did not reach this place till yesterday, will go back to Hilton Head to-morrow, with orders to report to you. The marines, at the request of the flag-officer, return in her. The Star of the South will also probably start for Hilton Head to-morrow.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



Col. THOMAS J. WHIPPLE, Commanding Fourth New Hampshire Regiment:

COLONEL: After having embarked the eight companies of your regiment on board the steamer Boston, in pursuance of the verbal instructions given you this evening, you will proceed with the gunboat expedition to the Saint John’s River, under the command of Commander J. R. Goldsborough, and co-operate with that officer in the objects of the expedition.

It is understood between the flag-officer commanding the naval forces and myself that neither Jacksonville nor any point upon the river below is to be permanently occupied by our forces; but it may be desirable to land at one or more of these points, for the purpose of reconnaissance or other desirable services, and occupy them for a few hours only, returning, of course, with the gunboats to this place when this shall have been accomplished.

You will place yourself in official relation with Captain Goldsborough, commanding the naval force, who is now off the Saint John’s entrance, {p.240} on your arrival there, and arrange with him in regard to the operations in which the services of your command may be required.

Wishing you every success, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



To the ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instructions of the 12th ultimo.

I find it impracticable to conform to those instructions with that promptitude which may perhaps be expected without incurring a strong liability to produce a misconception on the part of the blacks as to what the Government intends to do with them. There is much danger of producing a panic among them by too sudden a movement. Many of them surmise that they will ultimately be sent to Cuba and sold, and to permit a stir among them of this sort would be attended with unfortunate results.

I think, however, that from 400 to 500 will be induced to accept the offer made to them, viz, to accept their services for a limited period, with a promise that they shall return to their homes after their services are performed; and as soon as I hear from Edisto, if the result of the inquiry is as favorable as from other points, they shall be shipped by the first convenience.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army:

GENERAL: Yours of February 14 was received on the 3d instant. Pulaski is thoroughly cut off, and the batteries are being erected on Tybee as rapidly as the rough weather for landing the ordnance will permit.

Agreeably to your instruction no further preparations will be made for the attack of Savannah.

Before the expedition sailed for Fernandina I ascertained that Brunswick and its dependencies had been evacuated for the re-enforcement in men and guns of Savannah, and though I have not yet received any positive information from Fernandina, there is but little doubt but it was occupied without the firing of a gun.

From information we have gathered since I wrote you on the subject of Charleston, I have arrived at the conclusion that that city and its defenses can be carried with much more ease than I anticipated in that letter. Our occupation of Edisto Island and some reconnaissances made by the Navy convince me that Charleston can be beleaguered in a very {p.241} happy manner without having to carry the forts near the mouth of the Stono, and indeed by turning them. Gunboats can ascend the North Edisto and Wadmalaw Rivers, and possibly into the Stono itself; which would bring them within 5 miles of the city. There is a good road all the way from North Edisto River to Charleston, and so situated that a land force can co-operate with the gunboats and be at hand to assist removing any obstructions found in the river or reducing any works that may be found in approaching the city. To ascertain precisely where these obstructions and works are situated will require a reconnaissance in force preliminary to any grand movement. It is much more practicable a route than the one to Savannah. The route proposed will in a great measure turn all the defenses of the enemy on James Island and effectually cut off all approaches to the city by land from that quarter. The demonstration, if successful, will produce the evacuation of Charleston, or, should it not, the city can be shelled at leisure from the right bank of the Ashley. The forts in the harbor would probably fall of themselves, but, if not, Sumter can be shelled and possibly reached from James and Morris Islands. To make matters still more sure, a demonstration and indeed a real attack on Point Pleasant from Bull’s Bay would probably produce the fall of Moultrie. Indeed I think Moultrie could be easily carried by a coup de main, if thought necessary.

I will endeavor to give this subject a very early attention and promptly inform you of all I can gather. In the meanwhile, general, please furnish me with your general idea of what harbors South should be garrisoned. I have no doubt but all down to Augustine will be at once at our disposal (including Saint John’s River), Fernandina and Brunswick are harbors of importance, but are Augustine, Jacksonville, Darien, &c., sufficiently so to absorb our forces?

Very respectfully and truly, yours,

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



General THOMAS W. SHERMAN, Hilton Head:

GENERAL: By the steamer McClellan, which left for Hilton Head this morning, I informed you of the expedition fitted out for the Saint John’s River. It started about 11.30 a.m. to-day.

No very reliable information in regard to the whereabouts of the rebel force which left this place has yet been procured, though am induced to believe that a part, perhaps the whole, have stopped at Baldwin, the junction of Florida and Cedar Keys and the Jacksonville and Tallahassee Railroads, 47 miles from this place. The enemy, in his retreat, burned the bridges of the railroad, making the approach from this island to the main quite difficult; and I have not therefore considered it judicious, or indeed important as yet, to send any reconnaissance in that direction, as I am not in condition to move in force to any distance inland.

Bearing in mind your instructions to return as soon as practicable to Hilton Head any portion of the force not indispensable for the defense of this place, I have given much consideration to the question of the minimum garrison which would render the position secure, and have concluded that two regiments ought to be ample, provided a naval force {p.242} of two vessels remains in the harbor. After a short time this force might, I believe, be still reduced, but for the present I cannot think it advisable.

I shall therefore, unless instructed to the contrary, send one regiment back to Hilton Head as soon as the Saint John’s expedition returns, and other projects, if determined upon, shall be accomplished, remaining here myself till I hear from you that my services are needed elsewhere.

The people still remaining generally express their gratitude for the unexpected good treatment they experience at our hands and for the protection extended to their property, and profess a desire to have friends return to their homes.

Perhaps a liberal course toward these people may have a happy effect in the State at large, in proving to the inhabitants that we do not come amongst them with the designs against their persons and property which their leaders and their public journals have so falsely charged against us.

In pursuing this course I shall be careful to omit no precaution necessary to the full security of the command against any acts of the people by which intelligence can be conveyed to the enemy to our injury.

I desire to be distinctly understood that, while I propose to remain here in command till I receive your orders, I shall be much disappointed if I am kept here while active operations are being prosecuted elsewhere. Forty-eight hours will suffice to bring me to Hilton Head, or any intermediate point, after your orders are issued.

I inclose a copy of a report from Lieutenant Tardy* in regard to the condition of Fort Clinch, which agrees perfectly with the results of my own hasty examination of the work. I will call upon him for estimates for its improvement to the extent he suggests. The batteries on the seaward side of the fort, containing places for ten guns, need not be occupied by us.

I also send a copy of the report of a reconnaissance made by Captain Sears* of the enemy’s defenses on the southern end of Cumberland Island. I have not had time to give them a personal examination.

I propose sending back one section of Captain Ransom’s battery, perhaps both.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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

* Not found.



To the ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: From the reports of Brigadier-General Wright, copies of which I herewith inclose,* you will perceive that Amelia Island has been occupied by our forces without resistance.

It is my desire to carry out the views of the Government as to the occupation of this coast in the most judicious manner.

With the force now at my disposal, and without any plan of operations into the interior, I propose to occupy only some of the most important harbor outlets, to the end only, at this time, of preventing the {p.243} running of the blockade. Saint Simon’s, Fernandina, the mouth of the Saint John’s, and possibly Saint Augustine, would, I think, be sufficient. Other places of some little importance could be blockaded by the Navy.

The occupation of the towns on the main, such as Jacksonville, Saint Mary’s, Darien, Brunswick, would be injudicious with our present force, unless we are sure of being supported by a strong party of Unionists, and it is important to first ascertain whet her such a party exists to much extent. The desertion of Fernandina and Saint Mary’s does not look very favorable.

I shall endeavor to rally the Union men to the support of their flag.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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

* See report of March 5, p. 96, and letter of March 7, p. 239.



Col. THOMAS J. WHIPPLE, commanding Fourth New Hampshire Regiment:

COLONEL: Flag-Officer DuPont proceeds to-day to the Saint John’s River, and, after the contemplated operations in that vicinity shall have peen finished, will probably continue down the coast with the naval force to Saint Augustine, in which case you will still remain with the Navy and co-operate with it.

Should Saint Augustine be taken possession of; and it should be considered by the flag-officer important to occupy it, you are authorized to leave, say, two companies in Fort Marion as a garrison, with at least ten days’ provisions, a trusty captain being placed in command. The remainder of your force will then return to its place in the Boston.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, A. G. O., Washington, March 10, 1862.

Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, U. S. A., Commanding, &c., Port Royal, S. C.:

GENERAL: I am instructed to inform you that, in consequence of information just received that the enemy is abandoning his position at Centreville and towards Manassas, a forward movement of the Army of the Potomac has been ordered this day, to seize upon any advantage that may offer.

I am, sir, &c.,

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED’Y CORPS, Fernandina, Fla., March 10, 1862.

Capt. LOUIS H. PELOUZE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: The inhabitants left behind in the evacuation of this place by the rebels are mainly of the poorer classes of whites and free blacks, with a few slaves, many of whom represent themselves as destitute of {p.244} the means of living, and generally as without money, except the worthless paper in circulation before our occupation. Thus far it has not been necessary to assist them to any considerable extent, but it probably soon will be, unless some means can be devised to aid them in procuring their subsistence.

The army departments here need little, if any, hired labor, and there is no private business carried on to afford them employment. The question therefore presents itself; what is to be done with these people, who cannot be permitted to starve if they are ready to earn their subsistence, and only ask employment to take care of themselves? Instructions in regard to the course to be pursued in this matter are respectfully requested.

The contraband question also presents itself, and will soon require to be decided by the military authority, as regards their support. Some of these people were left behind, and others are presenting themselves daily, coming in from different directions. At Saint Mary’s, where I was to-day on a reconnaissance in company with Captain Drayton, commanding the naval forces here, there are a great many negroes still remaining, some of whom have already followed us to Fernandina. As before remarked, we do not need their services at present, and I cannot conceive we shall, unless it be in building up Fort Clinch. At this work most of the men might be employed if there was any fund for the payment for their services, but unless the Quartermaster’s Department can supply the money there is none available for the purpose. In this matter, too, I would request instructions. The suggestion just made for the employment of the contrabands might be extended to the free blacks and to the whites. None other presents itself to me in regard to either of the classes thrown upon our hands.

The Ben DeFord arrived this morning, bringing quartermasters’ and commissary stores. She will be discharged and sent back without delay.

The five days’ supply on hand, with that now received, will provide provisions for the present force for the next forty days, not including, however, what it may be necessary to issue to citizens and contrabands to keep them from starvation.

I have directed that the Boston be sent back to Hilton Head to report to the chief quartermaster. This will leave here, in the way of transports, the Empire City, the Belvidere, and the George’s Creek, all of which will be needed for the return to Hilton Head of the force which I have proposed soon to send back.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


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

Capt. LOUIS. H. PELOUZE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: I have to report, in regard to the slaves found here and those who have since come in, that I have not attempted to interfere with the rights of the owner so long as he remained within our lines and conducted himself in a quiet and orderly manner, but that I have refused permission to remove any slave from the limits of the command on any plea whatever.

I have conceived that the property of citizens in slaves should be {p.245} protected to the extent referred to, and shall continue the same policy in regard to them unless I receive instructions to the contrary.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


Approved, by order of Brigadier-General Sherman:

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

MARCH 15, 1862.



General EGBERT L. VIELE, Commanding Forces, Daufuskie Island, S. C.:

GENERAL: The general commanding directs me to inform you that he is forced to the conclusion, on his late inspection of the works in Savannah River, that not all the measures are taken to avoid disagreeable things that should be. Of the two light-draught steamers, the Petitt lays at Venus Point, and, if he understood you, does not move from there, and the Mayflower does very little at best.

It appears to him that these two boats should move rapidly about from place to place; for instance, the Petitt should be active enough to cover your rear from any assaults by way of New River, and at the same time be prepared to assist in the Savannah River in case of high tides or other emergencies. By taking advantage of the tides, a great deal might be done by these two steamers. They should be so handled as to be seen by the enemy at unexpected points and at unexpected times.

He does not think that, considering the amount of force at your disposal and the time occupied, the Venus Point battery is in that advanced state that it should be. As to the 10-inch columbiad, it should have been up ten days ago. It was sent from here a month ago.

The Bird Island battery seems to be everything that is desired, and great credit is due to Major Beard and his officers and men for their energy and industry.

I am also directed to communicate that the New Hampshire Battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson, was sent to you with three days’ provisions, for a particular purpose. That purpose should have been accomplished, if accomplished at all, in three days, and that he is dissatisfied with the delay that has attended all its movements.

I am further directed to remind you of the necessity of the chief of artillery and your engineer officer joining him the moment they can be spared.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

[L. H. PELOUZE,] Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.


WILLARD’S HOTEL, Washington, D. C., March 14, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of this morning, ordering me to report without delay upon the military operations {p.246} that have been executed or are in progress, or in contemplation, against Savannah and Fort Pulaski, to include everything that in my judgment “the Department should know, or that would be useful to the Government or the forces there, and generally as to the means proposed or wanted for a speedy and successful result.”

In obedience to this order, I have the honor respectfully to state that, apparently with a view to forming a basis of operations, a considerable area has been fortified at Hilton Head by means of a line of earthworks, a block-house, beach batteries, flooding the marshes, &c., and the construction of piers, one of great length and to deep water (21 feet low tide).

This area is sufficient to encamp from 25,000 to 30,000 men, crowded; is now defended by the guns of Fort Welles, two guns in the beach battery on our right, and twenty-two guns in the works in the advance. The guns are not up in the beach battery on our left.

From this point detachments have been sent forward.

Early in January last, obstructions placed by the rebels in Wall’s Cut, consisting of piles and an old ship, were taken away by our forces. Subsequently a battery of six guns was built by us on Jones Island, at Venus Point, in the Savannah River, and recently another on Bird Island, still nearer to Savannah, which by this time mounts three 01 four guns.

At Tybee Island mortars are being landed and mortar beds and platforms are being erected. A battery of three guns was placed on Goat’s Point, but it was understood when I left that it was to be abandoned, and a sap worked up from near the Martello Tower (which has been repaired), and the mortars placed in position against Pulaski as far up the beach as possible. Thirteen mortars had been landed up to 8th instant, two of them 13-inch.

I learned from an officer of the Navy, on the way to New York, that an old hulk had just been placed by our forces in Lazaretto Creek, about one and a quarter miles from Fort Pulaski.

Fort Pulaski is said by a rebel deserter to contain 427 men, nine months’ provisions, and six months’ water.

The old rebel battery at the point of Great Warsaw Island is in our possession.

The Skidaway battery opposite Koming marsh, at the mouth of the Wilmington River, had not been reduced up to the 8th instant. It is said to be very strong.

The rebels are also camped near Bonaventura, and between there and Fort Jackson, on the Thunderbolt road. Rumor had it that about 30,000 to 35,000 rebels were in and about Savannah, but of the truth of these suppositions I have my doubts.

A large siege train is being put together at Hilton Head, but progresses very slowly; eight or nine guns were ready last Saturday. I was informed the ammunition was not yet prepared.

As to what is contemplated against Savannah I am entirely ignorant. Against Fort Pulaski, I know that orders have been given to prepare to reduce it.

It was for several weeks supposed that a passage for gunboats existed from Port Royal Sound into the Savannah River above Fort Pulaski when the obstructions in Wall’s Cut were removed, but it is now found otherwise, at least for a draught of more than 7 feet of water at high tide, except within range of the guns of the fort.

A reconnaissance has been made up the north side of the Savannah River from Jones Island to above the Union Causeway, about a mile and a quarter from the City of Savannah, by which it has been ascertained {p.247} that if troops could be landed above Elba Island they could march to a point directly opposite the city.

In reply to that part of your order requiring my judgment of the means wanted “to produce a successful and speedy result,” I have the honor to state:

1st. That in my opinion the most essential requisite is an intelligent, vigorous, energetic general, in whom the Army would have entire confidence, who would counsel with his principal officers, and act promptly upon any decision he might form, and who, having orders, would concentrate his efforts on some particular object and accomplish it.

2d. That there should be harmonious action between the land and naval forces.

3d. The forces should either be greatly augmented or concentrated, instead of being scattered up and down the coast from North Edisto to Fernandina, a distance of 130 or 140 miles.

4th. That fire should not be opened upon Pulaski until at least all the mortars now landed on Tybee are in position, and then that the Navy would co-operate as well as they may, while, by having four or five reliefs of men at the mortars, shell should be poured into the fort day and night incessantly, without allowing any time for the rebels to eat, drink, or sleep in security until they surrendered. This will require of the land forces 1,400 or 1,500 men.

5th. That there should be two more ordnance officers sent there immediately, as there is now only one thoroughly efficient officer of that corps on the ground.

6th. That rafts of light pine and palmetto should be made to transport the siege train on the creeks and up the Savannah River, and that while this is being done the Navy should engage the batteries at Skidaway, and, if possible, silence and capture them, the siege of Pulaski being at the same time continued.

7th. Rafts and boats can be taken into the Savannah River above Jones Island, and might with proper management be forced up the river to Saint Augustine Creek, where there is firm ground. The siege train can be carried in the same way, and opposition at landing met at the point of the bayonet. One hundred additional ship boats would greatly facilitate such a movement. Having reached the firm ground anywhere near the Thunderbolt road, either through the Savannah or Tybee Rivers, the way is open to the city in the rear of Fort Jackson.

It might be well, if forces could be spared, to destroy the railroad bridge at Coosawhatchie, to cut off supplies from Charleston, but this is not worth much, as other channels are open by the Augusta and Savannah and South Carolina Railroads. The only materials required, in my judgment, are a few more boats and one or two more light-draught steamers.

Sufficient intelligence and energy to use what is now in that army can produce whatever else may be required.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EDWARD W. SERRELL, Colonel, Volunteer Engineers.



Major-General MCCLELLAN, Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Army:

GENERAL: From information just received from our forces at North Edisto iris probable that gunboats, except such very small ones as would {p.248} be of little use, cannot get into the Stono River by the way of the Wadmalaw, as there will be an obstruction found at New Cut, from the fact that even at high water this cut has not over 5 feet of water. There is a battery of six pieces at Church Flats and vessels sunk in the river at that point. Quite a large force is also at this point, and somewhere near the junction of the Wadmalaw and Stono Rivers is another battery. The rebels are evidently pretty strong in defenses at this point and along the whole line of the Stono. This district is too far off to get very specific information, and what we have thus far gathered is from prisoners and short reconnaissances made by the Army and Navy. The rebel force is too strong in that vicinity to risk the small force we have up there very far from the Edisto. When the gunboats return from the south it is contemplated by Commodore DuPont to make a reconnaissance in that direction, and, if our affairs justify it, I propose sending a force with him.

From last accounts from Fernandina the gunboats had not yet got into the Saint John’s. I hope to send a small force, say one or two regiments, and probably a section of light artillery, across from Picolata to Saint Augustine, and take the place in reverse. For this purpose all the troops sent down with General Wright are left there, one regiment, General Wright informs me, being with the gunboats off the mouth of the Saint John’s.

I am very anxious to raise our flag over Fort Marion and Saint Augustine Barracks, and, if the Navy are not too long in sounding out the channel, expect to do it without much resistance.

Very respectfully and truly, your obedient servant,

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

P. S.-I send the Atlantic back to hurry on the ordnance stores for Tybee.



WAR DEPARTMENT, A. G. O., Washington, March 15, 1862.

The States of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, with the expedition and forces now under Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman, will constitute a military department, to be called the Department of the South, to be commanded by Major-General Hunter.

By order of the Secretary of War:

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General.




SIR: I have the honor to report that after Brigadier-General Wright had taken possession of Amelia Island I directed him to send one or two regiments, as circumstances would require to Picolata, on the Saint John’s River, and march upon the rear of Fort Marion and Saint Augustine.

I have just learned (unofficially) from private sources that General Wright is in quiet possession of Jacksonville; that some of the gunboats are in Saint Augustine Harbor, and that Fort Marion has surrendered {p.249} to the Navy. Whether any of General Wright’s force are yet there I have not heard.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, U. S. Steamer Cahawba, Fernandina, Fla., March 21, 1862.

Brig. Gen. HORATIO G. WRIGHT, Comdg. Third Brigade, Exped’y Corps, Fernandina, Fla.:

GENERAL: I am directed by the commanding general to communicate to you that you are authorized to concentrate any of the troops of the three posts, Saint Augustine, Fernandina, and Jacksonville, on any emergency that may arise that will not admit of time to communicate with these headquarters. Any such change will be at once reported.

I am further directed to instruct that all public property which may fall into your hands from the enemy at the posts referred to be inventoried and reported according to the regulations.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

[L. H. PELOUZE,] Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.



Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

SIR: Mr. Pierce, special agent of this Department at Port Royal, reports that the plantations have been deprived so generally of horses and mules that their cultivation is greatly hindered and in some cases almost entirely prevented. As these animals have been taken for the use of the Army, it seems but just that they should be restored through the agency of the War Department. If you concur with me, will you be good enough to give an order for sending 90 mules and 10 horses to Port Royal immediately, to be placed at the disposal of the special agent?

I suggest the expediency of an order directing the commanders to respect private property on plantations, so as to prevent the recurrence of such evils as those referred to.

Yours, truly,

S. P. CHASE, Secretary of the Treasury.


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., March 25, 1862.

Hon. SIMON P. CHASE, Secretary of the Treasury:

SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 22d instant, requesting him to give an order for sending horses and mules to Port Royal to replace those which have been taken from the plantations in the neighborhood for the use of the Army.

He does not think that he has any authority to furnish horses and {p.250} mules for the purposes mentioned, but would suggest whether the Treasury Department could not furnish them properly out of the proceeds of the cotton received from Port Royal.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary of War.



To the ADJUTANT-GENERAL U. S. ARMY, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: Since my letter of the 9th instant, on learning that General Wright, in conformity to my previous instructions, had detached a regiment from Fernandina to accompany the gunboats to the Saint John’s River, and hearing in the mean time of the happy political sentiments prevailing at Saint Augustine, I sent him a dispatch, urgently recommending him to land that force at Picolata, and with it, and as much additional force as he might think it necessary to take, to march upon the rear of that city and take possession of Fort Marion and Saint Augustine Barracks.

It has since appeared, however, that whilst this force was entering the Saint John’s and occupying Jacksonville a few gunboats were sent around to the front of Saint Augustine with one company of General Wright’s command, and that on the appearance of this force Saint Augustine struck the rebel flag and gave up the place to Commodore DuPont.

As the force sent from Fernandina was landed at Jacksonville, contrary to the tenor of my instructions to General Wright, I felt so anxious about how far such a measure would commit me to any operation by land for which I might not be prepared, that I proceeded thither, to obtain a thorough understanding of the matter.

After thoroughly understanding the political situation of affairs there, and the reign of terror to which the Union men are still subjected, I not only confirmed General Wright’s acts, but have increased the force at Jacksonville one regiment. The best information I can give the Department of the situation of affairs in East Florida is the forwarding herewith of a copy of the proceedings of a town meeting held in Jacksonville on the 20th instant and a copy of my proclamation to the people of East Florida on the same date. I have the sanguine hope that Florida will soon be regenerated. The force I have in Florida is three companies of infantry at Fort Marion and Saint Augustine Barracks (the Navy have some marines there also), sixteen companies of infantry at Jacksonville, one company of infantry in charge of a battery at the mouth of the Saint John’s, one regiment of infantry and two sections of light artillery at Fernandina.

The force at Jacksonville was made sufficiently strong to resist any force of the enemy now occupying the railroad to Tallahassee that might be brought against it. It is probable that the artillery at Fernandina, or a portion of it, will be sent there also. Besides, there are three gunboats in the Saint John’s River and I believe one or two in Saint Augustine Harbor.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Jacksonville, Fla., March 20, 1862.

To the People of East Florida:

The troops of the United States have come amongst you to protect loyal citizens and their property from further molestation by the creatures of a rebel and usurped authority, and to enable you to resuscitate a Government which they have ruthlessly endeavored to destroy.

All loyal people who return to or remain at their homes in the quiet pursuit of their lawful avocations shall be protected in all their rights within the meaning and spirit of the Constitution of the United States. The sole desire and intention of the Government is to maintain the integrity of the Constitution and the laws and reclaim States which have revolted from their national allegiance to their former prosperous and happy condition.

There is great satisfaction in the fact, now become patent to all, that a large portion of you still cling in your hearts to that mother who first liberated you from the thraldom of a despotic government; who next rescued you from the deathly grasp of the wily savage at a frightful cost of life and treasure, and who afterwards elevated you from the condition of territorial dependence to that of a proud and independent State.

I earnestly recommend that in every city, town, and precinct you assemble in your primary and sovereign capacity; that you there throw off that sham government which has been forced upon you; swear true fidelity and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and organize your government and elect your officers in the good old way of the past. When this is done, then will you see the return of prosperous and happy days, in the enjoyment of that trade and industry to which your extensive coast is so well adapted, and in the immunity from that want and suffering to which you have been so wickedly subjected by the traitorous acts of a few ambitious and unprincipled men; then will you enjoy the fruits of your honest labor, the sweets of happy homes, and the consolation of living under those wise and salutary laws that are due only to an industrious and law-abiding people.

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

At a meeting of the loyal citizens of the “United States of America,” held at Jacksonville, East Florida, March 20, A. D. 1862, at 10.30 a.m., C. L. Robinson, chairman; O. L. Keene, secretary; Col. John S. Sannius, S. F. Halliday, Paran Moody, John W. Price, and Philip Fraser, esqs., were appointed a committee to draught resolutions to lay before said meeting. The following is a true copy of said resolutions, which were received and adopted unanimously:

We, the people of the city of Jacksonville and its vicinity, in the county of Duval, and the State of Florida, embraced within the territory and jurisdiction of the United States of America, do here by set forth our declaration of rights and our solemn protest against the abrogation of the same by any pretended State or other authority.

First. We hold that government is a contract, in which protection is the price of allegiance; that when protection is denied, through weakness or design, allegiance is no longer due.

Second. We hold that an established form of government cannot be changed or abrogated except by the will of the people, intelligently and willingly expressed and fairly ratified.


Third. We hold that no State of the United States has any legal or constitutional right to separate itself from the government and jurisdiction of the United States.

Fourth. We hold that the act of the Convention of the State of Florida commonly known as the ordinance of secession, is void, being in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States, in never having been submitted to the people for ratification.

Fifth. We hold that the State of Florida is an integral part of the United States, subject to the constitutional jurisdiction of the same, and we have reason to believe that thousands of her citizens would hail with joy the restoration of the Government, bringing deliverance from the terrors of unrestrained popular and military despotism. We solemnly protest against all the acts and ordinances of the Convention of the State of Florida, which were designed to deprive us of our rights as citizens of the United States. We protest against the despotism fostered by the State and other authorities claiming jurisdiction over us, which has denied us the rights most dear to freemen-freedom of speech and a free press. We protest against the exactions which have been imposed upon us-forced contributions of money, property, and labor; enlistments for military service procured by threats and misrepresentations. We protest against the tyranny which demands of us as a measure of revolutionary policy abandonment of our homes and property and exposure of our wives and children to sickness, destitution, gaunt famine, innumerable and untold miseries and sorrows. We protest against that mad and barbarous policy which has punished us for remaining in our own homes by sending a brutal and unrestrained soldiery to pillage and burn our property, threaten and destroy our lives. We protest against the denunciation of the governor, who threatens to hang us because we do not tamely submit to such indignities and “lick the hand just raised to shed our blood.” From such a despotism and from such dangers and indignities we have been released by the restoration of the Government of the United States, with the benign principles of the Constitution. The reign of terror is past. Law and order prevails in our midst.

It belongs now to the citizens of the State who hold to their allegiance to the United States to raise up a State government according to those provisions of the State which are not in conflict with or repugnant to the provisions of the United States:

Be it therefore resolved, That we adopt the foregoing protest and declaration of rights, and recommend that a convention of all loyal citizens be called forthwith, for the purpose of organizing a State government of the State of Florida.

Be it further resolved, That the chief of the military department of the United States be requested to retain at this place a sufficient force to maintain order and protect the people in their persons and property.

All of which is respectfully submitted.


A true copy of the resolutions as passed at said meeting and adopted as their own act.

C. L. ROBINSON, Chairman. O. L. KEENE, Secretary.



HEADQUARTERS, Jacksonville, Fla., March 25, 1862.

Capt. Louis H. PELOUZE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that I left Fernandina yesterday morning with the Ninety-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Cosmopolitan, and arrived here and landed the troops last evening. Having struck upon the Saint John’s Bar, we were obliged to cast off the schooner in tow, laden with camp and garrison equipage and stores-and, as the tide was rapidly falling and the wind high, we were forced to leave her at anchor. The troops consequently had to be quartered in vacant buildings on shore, instead of going into camp, as I had designed.

Last night, or rather this morning, at about 3 o’clock, a party of the enemy, numbering some 50 perhaps, made an attack upon one of our picket stations, and, out of the 7 men composing it, killed 1; severely, and it is feared mortally, wounded another, and captured :3 more. The remaining two escaped. So far as I can learn from the reports and an investigation of the case, the picket was guilty of gross carelessness and suffered itself to be completely surprised.

Yesterday morning it seems that two members of another picket station went out beyond the lines, and have no doubt been captured. Indeed, it is so reported by a deserter from the enemy who has since come in. These occurrences will no doubt have the effect to make the guards more watchful, by proving to them the [consequences] to themselves of any neglect of vigilance in an enemy’s country.

I have to-day looked carefully over the ground in advance of the town, and find it much more difficult to defend and to picket than I had imagined from the map. Two companies will be necessary for a proper picket guard; and this daily detail, with the number necessary for camp and provost guards, will bear heavily on the command. Some re-enforcement would be desirable if any troops can be spared.

Considerable fatigue work will be necessary also in cutting down the scrub and timber on the outskirts of the town, which now afford cover to parties approaching the pickets. This labor will be undertaken the moment the vessel referred to as having camp and garrison equipage, &c., arrives.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 6th instant * was not received until the 21st instant, and then through the hands of Flag-Officer DuPont.

I had already been directed by Major-General McClellan to abstain from my preparations for the siege of Savannah and confine myself to Fernandina and the siege of Fort Pulaski. Your letter of the 6th recommends me to reduce Fort Pulaski in preference to attempting Savannah In my letter of the 14th December last the Department will perceive that my plan was to carry on both at once. The essential {p.254} features of that plan I had not departed from, and have been very desirous of carrying out, particularly after the opportunity we discovered for taking Savannah by a coup de main failed for want of co-operation of the Navy, the particulars of which the Department has already been apprised of.

I humbly bow to the decisions of my superiors in Washington, but still, general, from the point here to view the subject, I cannot but regret that my plan could not have been carried out. I had every confidence in it, and believe it would have been executed with not so much sacrifice as the general seemed to imagine.

However, the preparations for the bombardment of Pulaski are being made as fast as the material arrives. The mortar and columbiad batteries are all constructed, mortars mounted, and all the shot and shell yet arrived in position. We are still waiting for the columbiad carriages and a considerable portion of the shot and shell. The work is of such a character, you are well aware, that we must be in a state of perfect preparation before opening fire.

It is hoped that we shall be permitted to get through this job early enough in the season to afford a pretty large force in the direction of Charleston, a nucleus from which, in the shape of two regiments, I have already forwarded on the North Edisto River.

The batteries on the mud flats of the Savannah River work like a charm, and, what is remarkable, our men there are in perfect health.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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

* See McClellan to Sherman, March 6, p. 23&


ON BOARD THE ADELAIDE, En route to Fortress Monroe, Baltimore, March 27, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have to state that my continued reflection convinces me that for efficient action it is indispensable that more troops should be sent immediately to South Carolina. I know as well now as I can possibly know when I shall have reached there that from 20,000 to 25,000 additional troops should be sent.

If you could send me General Sedgwick’s division, which I suppose to be now with our rear corps d’armée, I should be very glad; and, even with these alone, would almost guarantee to have our flag waving over Fort Sumter by the anniversary of its capture.

I have the honor most respectfully and earnestly to solicit your early attention to this request, and that you will be kind enough to advise me of your decision by telegraph, addressed to Fort Monroe.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

DAVID HUNTER, Major-General.



To Hon. SECRETARY OF WAR, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have just received the President’s War Order, No. 3, which directs reports to be made direct to the Secretary of War.


My recent letters to the Adjutant-General will show the general status of affairs in this expedition. We hold the whole coast from North Edisto, S. C., to Saint Augustine, Fla. Rapid preparations are being made for the reduction of Fort Pulaski, Ga., and the Savannah River is occupied with a sufficient force to cut off all communications and supplies from Savannah.

The attack of Savannah, for which we have been making preparations, has been given up, by direction of Major-General McClellan.

The fire will be opened on Pulaski as soon as all the material has arrived from the North.

I have left Brigadier-General Wright, with three regiments and two sections of light artillery, in the occupation of Fernandina, Jacksonville, and Saint Augustine, with the hope and expectation that by judicious management East Florida will soon be regenerated.

No operations can be made on the main of South Carolina and Georgia for the want of proper means of transportation-viz, light-draught steamers, boats, and wagons-which have all failed to reach here, not withstanding early and repeated requisitions for them. Now, indeed, that our forces have become so much scattered in the occupation of so extensive a coast, more troops will be required for any extensive inland operations.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


HEADQUARTERS, Jacksonville, Fla., March 27, 1862.

Lieut. Col. Louis BELL, Saint Augustine:

COLONEL: I have to acknowledge the receipt this evening of you two letters of the 26th and 27th instant, respectively; also yours of the 23d, forwarded by the dispatch schooner Azalea.*

I much regret that at present I do not see how any of the force at this post or at Fernandina can be spared to re-enforce your command. Here our force is not too great for our own security against the force the enemy could readily bring if he were disposed to attack us, unprovided as we are with defenses of any kind and with a long line, which we must picket for our own safety. Neither is the force at Fernandina too large, seeing that the fort at that point is of little moment.

I look upon your position as the most secure by far of either of the three posts, even with your present small force, in view of the defensible condition of Fort Marion, now that you have so successfully established the heavy ordnance on the work.

It is no doubt true that you cannot with your present strength successfully defend the town from any attempt in force against it; and I should therefore advise that you confine your undertakings mainly to the fort and its surroundings, leaving the defense of the place, to some extent at least, to the inhabitants. Give the people to understand that they are to help themselves, and that you will then aid them. This, at any time, is all they could demand. In their present attitude, judging from your views as to their want of loyalty, it is more than they have a right to expect.


Desirous, however, of strengthening you as soon as possible, I shall send to General Sherman a copy of your letter of the 26th instant, and ask that more troops be furnished, if they have them to spare.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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

* None of these found.


HEADQUARTERS, Jacksonville, Fla., March 28, 1862.

Capt. Louis H. PELOUZE:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that nothing of importance has occurred at this place since the date of my last letter.

Last night the pickets fired upon a party approaching them in what they conceived to be a suspicious manner, and of the two in advance killed one and wounded the other. They proved, upon examination, to be a party of negroes, who had escaped from their masters at Lake City.

Information in regard to the positions and strength of the rebel forces is somewhat indefinite. From the best I can gather there are still several companies-six or seven perhaps-in the neighborhood of McGist’s Creek, about 12 miles from here, and an additional force at Baldwin and at Sanderson, still farther off on the railroad. The last are of Colonel Hopkins’ regiment, the Fourth Florida; those at McGist’s Creek are of the Third Florida Regiment, commanded by Colonel Dilworth. An attack upon a portion of this force may be expedient, but at this moment I have not the information to warrant the movement.

Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, commander at Saint Augustine, applies pressingly for re-enforcements, as the marines sent by the flag-officer to that post have been withdrawn. I have replied in effect that the condition of affairs here and at Fernandina does not permit me to increase his garrison from my command, and that while he should afford such protection as is in his power to persons and property in town, he should not by so doing compromise the safety of his command. I have further advised him that Fort Marion, with the armament he has put in place, will enable him to resist any attack likely to be brought against him, and that he should therefore direct his attention mainly to that point.

He represents, as will be seen by his letter, that the loyalty of the people generally is doubtful, thus affording an additional reason for not exposing his force unnecessarily to protect a people who are not disposed to take active steps for their own defense. I think, however, with Lieutenant-Colonel Bell that two additional companies to his garrison would be desirable, if they can be spared. With my present force I cannot spare them.

I would also suggest that the two sections of the light battery at Fernandina, under the command of Captain Ransom, would be of more service here than where they are. With that additional force I could operate against the enemy with much more prospect of success. I do not feel authorized, under existing orders, to bring them here for such a purpose without the sanction of the general commanding.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



HEADQUARTERS, Jacksonville, Fla., March 28, 1862.


CAPTAIN: From intelligence received this evening from a deserter I learn that the enemy has an attack upon this place in contemplation so soon as his force, now somewhat scattered, can be concentrated.

The force he is reported to have at command for such an enterprise is such as to make an addition to our strength here very desirable, and I have therefore decided to bring here the two sections of Hamilton’s battery, now at Fernandina. The Cosmopolitan will leave here for the purpose to-morrow morning. The enemy is represented to have along the line of the railroad, or soon expected upon it, (1) the Third Florida Regiment; (2) the Fourth Florida Regiment; (3) a regiment of cavalry; (4) a company with six or seven pieces of artillery.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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


PORT ROYAL, S. C., March 31, 1862.

Maj. Gen. D. HUNTER, Commanding Department of the South:

GENERAL: On being relieved from this command it is proper that I should report the condition of affairs here at the present time.

We have been for some time making preparation for the reduction of Fort Pulaski, and are now only waiting to open our fire for the material brought in the Atlantic to be got out and landed at Tybee. The armament set up for the operations consists of twelve 13-inch seacoast mortars, four 10-inch siege mortars, five 10-inch columbiads, three 8-inch columbiads, and five large rifled guns. In the mean time, and since the 11th of February last, all communication has been cut off from Savannah by batteries erected on the marshes of Jones and Bird Islands. I have no doubt but the place will fall in a short time.

Extensive preparations have also been made for the taking of Savannah, but I have been directed by the General-in-Chief to suspend all operations for the capture of that city.

A plan that was laid by me to take the city by a coup de main with a combined land and naval force about the 20th January last failed for want of the promised co-operation on the part of the Navy. Since that time the defenses constructed are of such a nature as to render it impossible to take it but by a siege entirely by land.

Preparations are making also on Port Royal Island for the occupation of the country up to the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, which we expected to accomplish in about a week or ten days hence.

After the fall of Pulaski, and a proper occupation of all important places on the coast in our possession, it was my calculation to have 900 men disposable for any operation upwards from North Edisto.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Port Royal, S. C., March 31, 1862.

I. Maj. Gen. David Hunter, having arrived at this post, hereby assumes, in accordance with the order of the War Department, the command {p.258} of the Department of the South, consisting of the States of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

II. For the convenience of military operations and the administration of department affairs this department is divided into three districts, to be constituted as follows:

1st. The first, to be called the Northern District, will comprise the States of South Carolina, Georgia, and all that part of Florida north and east of a line extending from Cape Canaveral northwest to the Gulf coast, just north of Cedar Keys, and its dependencies, and thence north to the Georgia line. The headquarters of this district will be at Port Royal, S. C., and Brig. Gen. H. W. Benham (who will relieve Brigadier-General Sherman) is appointed to command this district and the troops therein, which troops will constitute a division, to be called the First Division of the Department of the South. General Benham will receive from General Sherman all charts, maps, plans, reports, moneys, &c., with all official records, returns, &c., appertaining to the expeditionary command in this district.

2d. The second, to be called the Southern District, will comprise all of Florida and the islands adjacent south of the said line from Cape Canaveral, extending northwest to the Gulf coast, just north of Cedar Keys. The headquarters of this district and the troops will remain, as at present, under command of Brig. Gen. J. M. Brannan.

3d. The third, to be called the Western District, will comprise that part of Florida west of the line before described as running north from Cedar Keys to the Georgia line. The headquarters of this district will remain at Fort Pickens, as at present, with Brig. Gen. L. G. Arnold commanding.


IV. The staff of the major-general commanding the department will consist of the following-named officers:

Maj. Charles G. Halpine, assistant adjutant-general; Lieut. E. W. Smith, acting assistant adjutant-general; Col. J. W. Shaffer, chief quartermaster; Capt. J. W. Turner, chief commissary of subsistence.

Maj. R. M. Hough, Maj. Edward Wright, Capt. R. W. Thompson, Capt. W. R. Dole, Lieut. S. W. Stockton, Lieut. Charles E. Hay, Lieut. A. M. Kinzie, Lieut. A. O. Doolittle, aides-de-camp.

D. HUNTER, Major-General, Commanding.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Port Royal, S. C., March 31, 1862.

In relieving Brig. Gen. T. W. Sherman from duty in this department, pursuant to orders of the War Department, dated A. G. O., Washington March 15, 1862, the major-general commanding desires to express to Brigadier-General Sherman his full appreciation of the amount and importance of the services rendered by the expedition under General Sherman’s command, and his thanks for the full, reliable, and valuable information as to the condition of the troops, defenses, &c., in this portion of the Department of the South, which General Sherman has furnished.

By command of Maj. Gen. D. Hunter:

CHAS. G. HALPINE, Assistant Adjutant-General.



HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 1, 1862.

Brigadier-General VIELE:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I inclose you a copy of Major-General Hunter’s order assigning me to the late command of General Sherman.

I regret much that different delays prevented my meeting you in person yesterday, and I missed communicating with your boat by supposing it was to have been off Stoddard’s place, for which we were running, when we saw it where the pilot feared to go with our boat.

My principal desire was to consult you with reference to your means and opportunities of erecting mortar batteries at least, to take in reverse the south and southeast faces of Fort Pulaski and perhaps the northeast face, for by this means your forces can the more efficiently aid in the reduction of that work. I would be glad to have this subject receive your utmost attention. Now it occurs to me as possible to erect such a battery at the lower point of tong Island, with possibly one for direct fire on the faces next you, and I should wish a reconnaissance made there at once with this object.

General Gillmore has a project for preparing a large scow (such as could be brought to you through Wall’s Cut) for the basis of a battery, and floating it to the required position, then to complete it as a land battery. It is very possible that this may be the best expedient for yourself. I shall, however, be happy to receive from you any suggestions or plans that may accomplish best the object to be attained-the most efficient aid from your force in the reduction of this stronghold.

I have in view, unless other circumstances or probabilities of what I am not now fully advised should prevent it, the restoration to you of a part, at least, of the excellent troops of your brigade.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General, Commanding.



Brig. Gen. Q. A. GILLMORE, Commanding U. S. Forces, Tybee Island, Ga.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: Upon reflecting upon your proposition to prepare a scow as the basis of another battery above the mouth of Lazaretto Creek, and, looking upon your sketch map, I would suggest if it would not be best to take it up that creek and prepare the battery there, as it appears that it might be at nearly the end of the first angle to the north and on the prolongation of the gorge wall of the fort. This last line I would by all means select as the line of fire, if the battery can be placed as well or nearly as well in that position, as it cuts off the cover the gorge might afford, gives more complete reverse fire on the north face, and nearly as well a sufficient reverse fire on the northeast face. If you can as securely, and with as much concealment, which would appear to me doubtful, place this battery on the south channel, which, however, appears but a short distance nearer, say 200 yards, it will perhaps be best.

I would like the sketch of your proposed arrangement, with the guns, &c., of the scow, as I would desire, if found feasible, that General Viele, if no better means offers, should prepare one or two batteries of the same {p.260} kind to take the faces next you or reverse. Please have every means continued to cut off communication and another field piece sent up to the upper batteries.

I expect we shall re-enforce you before the actual commencement of the fire, but rest assured that, even if a senior should necessarily be sent with such troops (General Wright), General Hunter and myself will see (as he said to me) the fullest justice done to your labors and efforts.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 2, 1862.

Brig. Gen. EGBERT L. VIELE, Commanding U. S. Forces, Daufuskie Island, S. C.:

GENERAL: The general commanding the district (Benham) has learned from General Sherman that there is at Turtle Island, nearly opposite and above Bloody Point, a small dry ridge, upon which there is a probability that a mortar battery could be placed to act effectively against Fort Pulaski at a distance probably of not more than 2 miles, and which would of course take in reverse the faces exposed to the direct fire from Tybee.

All those large mortars are already landed at Tybee for service there, but there are at this place two of 10-inch and two of the 8-inch columbiads, which it is believed can be effectively used as mortars for the purpose indicated, and that those guns, with such other materials as you may require, can be sent to you at Daufuskie Island-for the latter part of the distance at night, if necessary.

Will you please to give your early attention to this matter, reporting as early as possible your opinion of its feasibility, and, if favorable, what material you will require, as it is now of the utmost importance to our plans that this work, if undertaken, should be completed at the earliest possible moment; your estimate of which time you will please report in your reply.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. B. ELY, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 3, 1862.

Brig. Gen. EGBERT L. VIELE, Commanding U. S. Forces, Daufuskie island, S. C.:

DEAR GENERAL: I shall hope to have your report about the feasibility of a columbiad battery this morning.

The capture of 17 of Gillmore’s men will, I fear, inform the rebels of our preparations, and we may be obliged to open fire from Tybee prematurely or earlier than we would wish.

Please take every precaution to seal the communication between the fort and city hermetically, if possible; even passing your men over at night to the south side of south channel, if you have the means.

Very truly, yours,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General.



HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Savannah River, April 3, 1862.

General H. W. BENHAM, Commanding First Division Department of the South:

DEAR GENERAL: Your dispatch is just received, and as I have also just received the reports of the two officers whom I requested to make reconnaissances, I hasten to forward them, merely adding my own rapid conclusions that two flat-boats, properly arranged, one with two mortars and another with two rifled guns and one 8-inch howitzer, can be made very effective at the lower end of Long Island. I agree with Lieutenant Wilson in regard to Turtle Beach, more especially as the time that it would require to place columbiads in position (a week or ten days at least) would render our efforts at that point inoperative under the circumstances.

If you will let me know your views by the courier in the morning I will at once arrange to put them into immediate execution.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EGBERT L. VIELE, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


BATTERY HAMILTON, GA., April 2, 1862.

Brig. Gen. EGBERT L. VIELE, Commanding, Savannah River:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, as directed by you, I this day and night made a reconnaissance of Long Island, and I sketch the result on the next page.

The lower end of the island is detached at high tide. But, as I have viewed it, I cannot make the form of detachment and the maps agree. I sketch it as it looks to me. This afternoon, after examining the McQueen side of Long Island, I passed around its head and went to a point marked B, being in sight of Pulaski all the time At this point, I was honored with a very wild shot. I then returned, and to-night proceeded as far as the point marked A.

A is the best point for a battery, but guns cannot be landed there unobserved. At B guns can be landed in the night without attracting notice. A clump of tall cane, covering an area 600 feet in length and about 150 feet in width, would cover work. The ground is sufficiently firm, and sand can be procured from the shore of the island 300 or 400 feet from the spot. But any battery placed anywhere on the lower end of Long Island except at A must necessarily be small, the ground capable of sustaining a battery being a strip parallel with the river and not over 30 yards wide at any point. This would be the maximum battery face procurable. At A both shore and soil are favorable, if observation could be avoided in landing guns. I do not think, however, that it would be possible to erect a battery anywhere below the point marked B, owing to the fact that there is scarce any growth of either weed brush, or cane below that point. I should judge B to be about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 miles from the fort.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

O. T. BEARD, Major, Commanding.


TURTLE ISLAND, GA., April 3, 1862.

Capt. J. H. LIEBENAU, Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Brigade, U. S. Forces of the South:

CAPTAIN: In reply to your letter of this date, requesting a report of my reconnaissance of Turtle Island, with a view to its occupation by a battery to aid in the reduction of Fort Pulaski, I have the honor to report as follows:

I have twice visited and carefully examined that side of the island lying next to the fort, and am convinced that it is possible to erect batteries thereon, taking advantage of high tides for landing guns and material. But the labor would be exceedingly heavy, and the difficulties to be overcome in transporting the guns from the landing place over the marsh, a distance of about 500 yards, would be greater than any yet encountered in erecting batteries on the Savannah.

Considering the fact that the nearest point of fast land in Turtle Island is 2 1/8 miles from Fort Pulaski, the battery, although mounting the heaviest guns, would necessarily be inefficient. The inclosed sketch, taken from the Coast Survey charts, shows the topography of the island. The only point at which guns can be landed and removed to ground hard enough to support them is near the mouth of Wright River, marked A. From there to the head of the woods, the nearest point to the fort and the only one where cover can be obtained, is about 500 yards. The ground is comparatively hard, and by the use of corduroy road would allow the passage of the heaviest guns.

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

J. H. WILSON, First Lieutenant, Topographical Engineers.


HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 3, 1862.

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

SIR: By reports received this morning from Tybee Island we learn that some 17 of our men and a field piece, in a plantation canoe, have just been captured by the enemy at or near Wilmington Island, as we fear, through some mismanagement of the lieutenant in command.

Acting Brigadier-General Gillmore at once applied to the commanding officer of the gunboat near to aid him in protecting the Augustine Creek Channel, which he has kindly consented to do, by sending a boat there for the present, awaiting, however, your further orders or sanction in the matter.

As it will now be of the utmost importance to cut off the communication of Fort Pulaski with the city, it being rumored and learned that $12,000 has been offered there for bringing off the garrison, and, as I immediately after my visit to Tybee directed every precaution possible to be taken on our part, I will trust that you may be able to aid us in this matter, and would respectfully request that you would sanction the movement of your commanding officer there, and aid us in this effort by such further means as are in your power from this place; for, with the information which we fear the enemy may obtain from our men (if prisoners, as we expect), we may find it expedient to open our batteries somewhat prematurely or before we had intended.

I would mention that the Boston is now coaling, and as soon as she {p.263} returns I propose to send her to Edisto, with a battery of artillery, and if you have been able to obtain a proper pilot, which my own inquiries have. not enabled me to possess as yet, I should be happy to meet your wishes in having him accompany her, and tow the Dale out from Otter Island. Will you please let me know immediately if you have a pilot?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., April 3, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to report my arrival here on the 30th ultimo. I address you by the first opportunity since my arrival.

I find about 17,000 troops scattered along the coast from Saint Augustine, Fla., to North Edisto Inlet, South Carolina, distributed as follows:

At Saint Augustine, Fla.200
At Jacksonville, Fla.1,400
At mouth of Saint John’s River, Fla.70
At Fernandina, Fla.900
At Tybee Island, Ga.2,200
At Daufuskie Island, S. C.1,600
At Bird Island, S. C.300
At Jones Island, S. C.300
At Hilton Head, S. C.4,500
At Bay Point, S. C.80
At Beaufort, S. C.3,600
At Otter Island, S. C.450
At North Edisto River, S. C.1,400

It is my opinion that this force is entirely too much scattered and is subject to be cut off in detail.

I shall order an abandonment of Jacksonville, Fla., and the re-enforcement of Forts Marion and Clinch. From later accounts I may add the Union feeling in Florida is not so strong as we were first induced to believe.

The batteries for opening on Fort Pulaski have been retarded by the non-arrival of the necessary guns, ammunition, &c. But Captain Gillmore, who deserves great credit for his untiring and scientific exertions, is now nearly ready, and by the next steamer I hope to be able to announce to you the fall of Pulaski. We then shall be able to hold the Savannah River with a small force and to concentrate on Charleston.

General Sherman made a requisition in December for five steamers drawing not more than 6 feet each. He informs me that they were purchased for him and sent from New York, but put into Hatteras in a storm, and are there detained by General Burnside. We are still very much in want of these light-draught boats, and, as we have but three wagons to a regiment, they are absolutely essential.

On my leaving Washington you had the kindness to promise me whatever force I might ask. We shall do all that men can do with the small force we have; but it distresses me to be in such a beautiful situation for striking strong blows without the arms to strike. I beg that you will send us at once as many men as you think we can use to advantage, as all the officers in command report the re-enforcement of the enemy on their respective fronts.


I most earnestly request that 50,000 muskets, with all the necessary accouterments, and 200 rounds for each piece, may be sent to me at once, with authority to arm such loyal men as I can find in the country, whenever, in my opinion, they can be used advantageously against the enemy.

It is important that I should be able to know and distinguish these men at once, and for this purpose I respectfully request that 50,000 pairs of scarlet pantaloons may be sent me; and this is all the clothing I shall require for these people.

I believe the rebel regiments as they retreat from the Army of the Potomac come directly to their respective States, and that in this way the force opposed to us here is becoming considerably augmented.

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

D. HUNTER, Major-General, Commanding.



HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Port Royal, S. C., April 3, 1862.

The following-named officers are hereby announced as additional members of the staff of the major-general commanding Department of the South, and will report accordingly:

Surg. George E. Cooper (Medical Department, U. S. Army), medical director; Capt. Louis H. Pelouze (Fifteenth Infantry, U. S. Army), acting inspector-general; First Lieut. Francis J. Shunk (Ordnance Department, U. S. Army), chief of ordnance; First Lieut. James H. Wilson, (Topographical Engineers, U. S. Army), chief topographical engineer; First Lieut. E. J. Keenan (Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers), chief signal officer.

By command of Maj. Gen. D. Hunter:

CHAS. G. HALPINE, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Read, S. C., April 4, 1862.

Brig. Gen. EGBERT L. VIELE, Commanding U. S. Forces, Daufuskie Island, S. C.:

GENERAL: Your letters reporting your reconnaissance were received late in the night, and the conclusion I come to is that the point you have marked B on Long Island should be selected for a battery; the ridge has width enough by your description for all the guns. I propose four in all that we have available, for which 30 yards will suffice, as little traverse is required; and, if more were needed and were available, I can see no objection to placing a second battery in rear of the first, the latter to be vacated by the men at the actual time of firing the rear battery. I would hope it might be possible to prepare a battery of four guns in less time than eight or ten days. I think it will be best to make your arrangements for the construction of such a battery-not for direct fire, of course, at that distance-and, besides, we cannot conveniently arrange pintle centers, &c. This you will recollect is for two 10-inch and two 8-inch columbiads, and, if I can procure a proper scow, I will also arrange for a battery for rifled pieces for direct fire.


I will communicate with you again by this afternoon’s courier or in the morning.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Savannah River, April 4, 1862.

General H. W. BENHAM, Commanding First Division, Department of the South:

GENERAL: In my communication of yesterday I referred to the time it would take to put guns on Turtle Island, which, on account of the peculiar topography of that island, would be attended with delay and difficulty. But the guns on Long Island can be put in position at once. I have one 8-inch and one 10-inch mortar which I can use. The rebels were busy all night last night moving troops towards Wilmington Island. They have evidently something on the tapis.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EGBERT L. VIELE, Commanding General.


HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 5, 1862.

Flag-Officer S. F. DUPONT, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Port Royal Harbor, S. C.:

COMMODORE: I trust your dispatches for Warsaw have arrived in time to go by my courier, whom I have sent to recall, if possible, if not, I will have them at Tybee this afternoon, and if my engineers can contrive a means of obstructing Wilmington River, I will have it done, though I much fear now the force of the enemy, believed to have been increased lately in that vicinity, may render this more difficult than at a previous day, if not impossible even.

The reports from General Viele from Daufuskie last night lead us to fear that the rebels are concentrating troops near Wilmington Island, probably for an effort to relieve or re-enforce the garrison of Fort Pulaski, as it appears impossible for a land force to act efficiently in those marshes, and we have scarcely any means for effective action by water. General Hunter and myself were last evening most earnest in wishing that you had the means of increasing your own power to an important extent just now on the Wilmington Narrows and on the Tybee River.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. BENHAM, Brigadier-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., April 8, 1862.

Col. ENOCH Q. FELLOWS, Commanding U. S. Forces, Edisto Island, S. C.:

COLONEL: The general commanding desires that you would take every opportunity that offers, either by negroes who come from the {p.266} rebels, by scouts, or other means, of acquiring and transmitting to him all information, with sketch, plans, and descriptions, when practicable, of the best routes of approaching Charleston or James Island, either by land or water. If the rebels come down in force to occupy or remain at Jehossee Island, and you feel sure that you have strength enough, with the aid from Otter Island, to make a dash at them and to rout them from there, you are authorized to do this; or, on learning from you that more force would be requisite, he would, if such force were available from this vicinity, either send or take it to you for this purpose.

It does not appear desirable to occupy the island farther inland, than Edisto, except such small portions of adjacent shores as may be necessary for the security of our pickets on that island, and the main body of your troops will habitually be kept in such position that they can easily be concentrated for resistance to an attack. An especial vigilance is urged upon you at this time, when other important efforts are being made here, as there may be attempts at diversion in your direction, and a full security for your forces would be preferable to attacks upon the enemy, if they even appear to be open to it, at this juncture.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. B. ELY, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., April 8, 1862.

Flag-Officer SAMUEL F. DUPONT, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, On Board U. S. S. Wabash:

COMMODORE: I contemplate opening the attack on Fort Pulaski by sunrise to-morrow morning, and have to ask of you all the co-operation and assistance in your power. A few days’ further delay would place our batteries on Tybee Island in a perfect condition perhaps, but I am satisfied that such delay would be of more service to the enemy than to ourselves.

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

D. HUNTER, Major-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, North Edisto, S. C., April 9, 1862.

Lieut. A. B. ELY, A. A. A. G., Hdqrs. Northern Dist., Dept. of the South:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 8th instant. I will make every endeavor, through spies, intelligent contrabands, &c., to get the required information as regards the best approaches to Charleston, and will forward immediately to the commanding general whatever information I may get.

I visited the outposts of my command yesterday and find everything in an admirable condition; the pickets are well posted, and the whole force, consisting of two regiments of infantry and four pieces of artillery, can be quickly concentrated at any point. I do not think the rebels {p.267} are in large force on Jehossee Island; their pickets are stationed and can be seen at Watt’s Cut.

I do not think it advisable to make any advance on Jehossee Island at present with the force I have, as it could only be held with the assistance of a gunboat.

A field officer of the day was seen visiting the rebel pickets on the 7th instant, which indicates that there is more than one regiment in the vicinity. I am making every effort to ascertain the strength of the enemy’s forces in that vicinity, and will report when I get the desired information.

I shall make a reconnaissance on the Pocahontas soon towards White Point and on the Dawho River. I would request, if it can be conveniently spared, a gunboat drawing not over 7 feet of water. The sloop-of-war Dale has not yet arrived at this port. The Pocahontas draws too much water to run in the South Edisto River. The contrabands will be forwarded immediately by the Mayflower.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. Q. FELLOWS, Colonel Third New Hampshire Infantry.


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.