Having proceeded through Turner's Creek to Wilmington River, I returned by the same route, and landed at Gibson's. Directly after arriving there I was informed that our patrols had discovered the enemy in force at or near Fleetwood's, and had seen traces of them all the way to Turner's. Col. Fenton had already given orders for the advance companies to fall back to Gibson's, and made his disposition for repelling an attack and covering our embarkation. After an examination of the ground, at my suggestion, one company was thrown farther forward to take shelter behind the hedge and fence surrounding one of the houses. The Colonel had already designated this position, and stationed another in the woods lining the marsh on the left, and the balance behind the houses and trees nearer the landing. After these dispositions were completed, and between four and five P. M., the rebels, subsequently ascertained to be the Thirteenth Georgia volunteers, about eight hundred strong, armed with Enfield rifles, preceded by a heavy line of skirmishers, made an attack upon our position. After our advance-line had delivered its fire from the hedge, the bugler sounded “the charge” for the main body; this was confounded with “the retreat;” the advanced line abandoned its cover, and fell back through an open space toward the reserve. While in this somewhat confused condition the enemy advanced rapidly, pouring in upon us a steady and destructive fire. Our men replied with spirit, from such cover as could be obtained. Order was soon reestablished, and the rebels held in check for an hour or more. After the ineffectual efforts of Col. Fenton and myself to form enough men to charge their lines and drive them from the hedge, a portion of one company was carried to the right, and under cover of the timber skirting that side, the left flank of the enemy was met and frustrated in an attempt to move in that direction; an advance on the left and along the whole line dislodged the enemy and put him in full flight. He fell back rapidly, leaving several dead and wounded on the field, and was closely pressed for half or three quarters of a mile. As it was now almost night, it was not deemed advisable to continue the pursuit further. Our skirmishers were gradually drawn in, strong advanced guards were posted well out on both roads, and two companies again posted on the line of the hedge and the fence to the right. After having made these admirable dispositions of his force to secure our position, Col. Fenton then directed the removal of our killed and wounded to the steamer; and after holding the ground for three hours, the entire force was quietly embarked without further accident, though it must be confessed had the enemy renewed his attack while we were embarking, we should have suffered great loss. Our five small boats could not remove more than fifty men every thirty minutes, and the steamer lay in such a position that the six-pounder could not be brought to bear without jeopardizing the lives of our own people. Our loss is ten killed and thirty-five wounded. Among the former is Lieut. and Adjutant Pratt, who fell while gallantly cheering on the men. Lieut. Badger, in command of the advanced guard, was dangerously if not mortally wounded, and fell into the hands of the enemy; but in the hurry of their retreat, he succeeded in effecting his escape. The loss of the enemy cannot be ascertained. Two of their dead were left in our hands; one, mortally wounded, died before we disembarked; the balance were carried off. I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. H. Wilson, First Lieutenant T. E. and Chief T. E., Department of the South.