previous next

[8] the island to the main. The principal road in this part of the country, leads across this ferry, toward which causeways are built on both sides of the Coosaw. The Ferry can be approached from Hilton Head, by water, in two ways: by the Broad River, on the western side of the island, and through the Port Royal River and its arm, Brick yard Creek, which form the eastern boundary of the same island. Almost immediately after the battle at Hilton Head, the rebels began entrenching themselves on the farther side of the Ferry; here they crossed whenever they visited Beaufort, previous to its occupation by our troops, and since this has been prevented, they have established themselves conspicuously, in sight of our pickets, and attempted to command the navigation of the Coosaw River. Some two weeks ago they fired into the little steamer Mayflower, used for transporting purposes, and one man, in her convoy of small boats, was killed. It was determined to instruct the rebels that no such demonstrations could be made by them with impunity.

On Tuesday, December 31st, the gunboats Ottawa, Capt. Stevens; Pembina, Capt. Bankhead; and armed transport Hale, temporarily under command of Lieutenant Barnes, of the Wabash, were despatched to Beaufort, and thence through Brickyard Creek to its junction with the Coosaw. Capt. C. P. R. Rodgers, of the Wabash, had entire command of the naval force of the little expedition, including the Seneca, Captain Ammen, and the Ellen, Captain Budd; which were to go up through the Broad River, on the other side of island. At three o'clock on New Year's morning, Captain Rodgers took four of the armed launches of the Wabash, which had accompanied him under command of Lieut. Upshur, and proceeded by a narrow arm of Brickyard Creek to its entrance into the Coosaw, some two miles nearer the Ferry than the mouth of the Brickyard itself. Here six companies of the Seventy-ninth New-York, and five of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania, were ready in flats to be rowed across the river to Col. Hayward's plantation, under cover of the guns of the launches. This manoeuvre was executed under the personal supervision of General Stevens and Capt. Rodgers, and was completely successful. The troops were gotten across without either delay or accident, or interruption of any sort. Immediately after landing, they proceeded to a place somewhat on their right, where negroes informed them of a force of rebels. Only tents were found, about sufficient for four hundred men; they were destroyed, and the possibility of any annoyance being caused to the rear of Gen. Stevens's larger force, about to be landed further down the Coosaw, was prevented.

Meanwhile the three gunboats Ottawa, Pembina and Hale, had come out of the Brickyard Creek, higher up the stream, passed the troops landing at Hayward's, and proceeded to Adams's plantation, two miles further toward the Ferry, and remained there to cover the crossing and landing of the Michigan Eighth, under Colonel Fenton, and the other five companies of the Fiftieth Pennsylvania, Colonel Crist. During the night, the gunboats had also been joined by the two steamers from Hilton Head, Delaware and Cosmopolitan, which carried the Forty-seventh New-York, Lieut.-Col. Frazier, and the Forty-eighth New-York, Col. Perry. These two regiments were also landed at Adams's plantation, and the first detachment having by this time arrived from Hayward's, the whole body, five regiments, was ready to proceed toward the Ferry. Thus far they had met with no extraordinary delays or contretemps. The combinations and connections were all made in time — the whole plan was carried out according to pre-arrangements.

Gen. Stevens now threw out skirmishers from all his regiments, along the right of his line; he had between four and five miles to march, and great part of the way across broken fields, over two creeks, amid bushes and thickets, and probably in the face of an enemy. His skirmishers soon drew fire from the rebels concealed in woods, about a miles to his right. Nearly the whole Michigan Eighth regiment, under Colonel Fenton, was thus engaged, when a heavy fire from field artillery was opened upon them. Under this fire, the regiment still advanced as skirmishers, and were fired into at last by musketry, which was not a hundred yards off, but completely under cover. The Michiganders returned the fire, scrambled through brushes, and tore their faces and hands with briers, dared the enemy to come out in the open field and show fight, and finally, when nobody came, retired in good order, but rapidly. They had lost one man killed, and twelve wounded, including Major Watson. Their behavior was the subject of universal admiration from the Navy and their own comrades in other regiments. No attempt was made to pursue them. Meanwhile the Fiftieth Pennsylvania was pushing on in advance of the Michigan people, and, in consequence of information afforded to Gen. Stevens by a negro, deviated from the route originally proposed. It seems a trap had been prepared for them. A small body of about four hundred rebels showed themselves outside of the woods, and endeavored to decoy the Fiftieth; behind them, and in the woods, could be seen from the mastheads of the gunboats, as many as two thousand troops drawn up in line. Had it not been for the negroes, Stevens would have known nothing of this force; as it was, he allowed the Fiftieth Pennsylvania to drive back the decoying party; but before it reached the larger force, lying in ambush, a wellaimed shell from the vessels burst in the advance party of the rebels, who broke and fled at once. After this, the gunboats proceeded to shell the woods — signals being constantly made them from shore of the progress of the skirmishing, and of the direction to be given to their guns. Every company of Federal troops carried flags, so that there was no danger of injuring our own men. The force of rebels in the woods was effectually dispersed by this shelling, which was remarkably accurate, and must have done great damage

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
T. Stevens (6)
C. P. R. Rodgers (3)
Hayward (3)
William M. Fenton (2)
J. Q. Adams (2)
A. B. Watson (1)
Upshur (1)
T. P. Perry (1)
E. B. Hale (1)
Frazier (1)
Crist (1)
W. Budd (1)
Myron S. Barnes (1)
J. Bankhead (1)
D. Ammen (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 31st (1)
January 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: