from one end of St. Simon's Island to the other. But one white man is I saw him. He is with his aged mother and little child. He had never been in the army, refused to leave his house, and was in mortal dread of our coming, as the military had informed him that we came for the purpose of destroying even the women and children. We procured beef for the vessels at his plantation, for which we paid the price he asked, and furnished the family with some articles, such as coffee, salt, etc., which articles they had not even seen for months. We stopped at one or two other plantations on our way back; all were deserted, but had been tenanted by the military at various times, for as late as November, some one thousand five hundred troops were quartered on St. Simon's. We found some of the places to contain large quantities of cattle, and at Kind's plantation, not three miles from this anchorage, we counted some fifty head near where we landed. All the blacks have been removed from St. Simon's, and at Doboy we met the only negro seen, who was old, and alone on the place. He had been the father of thirteen children, but he informed me that every one had been sold as they reached about eighteen years of age, and as he graphically expressed it, “for pocket-money for his master.” Your orders did not embrace the reconnoissance I have just made, and which has caused a delay of several days in communicating to you my progress to Brunswick. I hope, however, you will approve my conduct in the matter. I have now cleared the passage to Darien from inside, which can be performed rapidly by gunboats of ten feet draft. The draft of the Pocahontas and Potomska is rather great, as they might be caught and delayed for higher tides. I now beg leave, sir, to express myself in warm terms of commendation for the energy and skill of Lieutenant Commanding Balch and Acting Lieut. Commanding Watmough, and for the aid they have rendered me in the active work we have been engaged in for the last eight days; and I take equal pleasure in mentioning the cheerfulness in the work of the officers and crews of the three vessels engaged. I have the honor to be, etc.,
Flag-officer Du Pont's report.
Flag-ship Wabash, off St. John's, Fla., March 20, 1861.sir: I have to inform the Department that I have heard, from Commander Godon, of a dastardly and concealed attack made upon a boat's crew of the Pocahontas. As I have informed the Department, Lieut. Commanding Balch visited the town of Brunswick, without anywhere discovering an enemy. A reconnoissance had also been made for some miles up Turtle Creek, with the same results. The rebels apparently fled into the interior. On the afternoon of the eleventh instant, Assistant Surgeon A. C. Rhoads, of the Pocahontas, by permission of his commanding officer, landed with a boat's crew near the town, for the purpose of procuring some fresh beef for the ships. Having accomplished his object, the boat was returning to the Pocahontas, but had scarcely gone twenty yards from the beach, when they were suddenly fired upon by a body of rebels concealed in a thicket, and I regret to report that two men, John Wilson, ordinary seaman, and John Shuter, ordinary seaman, were instantly killed, and several wounded--one, William Delaney, mortally, and two seriously, namely, William Smith, second first-class fireman, and Edward Bonsall, coxswain. After the rebels had fired their first volley, they called out in most offensive language to “surrender;” but this demand was refused by Dr. Rhoads, who, with the assistance of Acting Paymaster Kitchen and his wounded boat's crew, pulled as rapidly as they could toward the Pocahontas, the enemy continuing their fire. In a few minutes, a shell from one of the eleven-inch guns of the Mohican dropped among them, and quite near to another company of about sixty men, who were advancing rapidly. The rebels scattered and fled in all directions. Several shells were also fired at a locomotive and train observed in the distance, it is supposed with effect. Throughout this cowardly assault, Dr. Rhoads displayed great coolness and courage, and in his report of the occurrence, whilst commending the crew generally, he especially mentions the bravery exhibited by Daniel Harrington, landsman, into which I shall make further inquiry. Enclosed are the reports of Commander Godon, Lieut. Commanding Balch, and Assistant Surgeon Rhoads. I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,