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[56] well performed; a battalion of the Connecticut Seventh regiment, under Major Gardner, allowed no straggler or spy to approach without seizing him, and, fortunately, only one or two were tempted that way, and no suspicions of the enemy could have been aroused.

Information of these proceedings having been communicated to the navy, Commodore Dupont, of course, perceived of what consequence they might prove, and sent Capt. John Rodgers of the Flag, and Lieut. Barnes of the Wabash, to reconnoitre in company with Lieut. Wilson, so that the report of a strictly naval officer might be obtained, before strictly naval movements should be commenced. It was on the fifteenth of January before this last reconnaissance was made; for all these previous operations had necessarily consumed time. The reconnaissance, like all the others, occurred in the night. Captain Rodgers and his party were able to pass through the Cut, to make soundings in the Wright River, to enter the Savannah, and otherwise to ascertain all that was necessary in order to form an opinion as to the practicability of taking gunboats by this passage into the Savannah.

Capt. Rodgers reported with a measured degree of enthusiasm. He thought the passage possible, but hardly certain, and of course dangerous, but he was willing to assume the leadership of any movement based upon these reconnoissances. So it was finally determined to move forward a portion of the naval and military force in that direction, and to make what is known in the parlance of war, a reconnaissance in force. While preparations for this movement were advancing, some information of what had been done leaked out in the private letters of an incautious officer; his friends were as thoughtless as he, and gave his letters to the public press; the public press with equally culpable imprudence published explicit accounts of many of these circumstances; these accounts, there is reason to believe, were conveyed to the rebels, and two nights before our forces arrived at Wall's Cut, three rebel gunboats appeared in Wright River, where they had not been before in a month; they were seen by our pickets, and despatches instantly sent to General Sherman announcing the fact, in consequence of which additional force was forwarded that very night by Com. Dupont. The rebel steamers came into Wall's Cut, our pickets of course withdrawing; they discovered all that had been done, and then returned, leaving no guard; within fifteen minutes after their withdrawal, the picket was in his place again; but the long concocted and carefully hidden plan had been discovered, and any hope of a surprise frustrated. The scheme, however, was not abandoned, although sure now to meet with opposition.

Meanwhile discoveries had been made in another quarter, which seemed nearly, if not quite, as important as those to which I have already alluded. A passage on the right side of the Savannah has always been known to exist, leading from Warsaw Sound through the Wilmington River, until it narrows into St. Augustine Creek, and finally empties into the Savannah, just below Fort Jackson. The passage was defended, and is still, by a battery; but, through the negroes, information was obtained of another, leading up also from Warsaw, but much nearer to the Savannah, and entering it lower down than St. Augustine Creek, This second passage is called Wilmington Narrows, and is said to have been occasionally used as a short cut by rival lines of steamers from Savannah city. Several reconnoissances were made along its course, both by naval and military officers of distinction, among the latter Capt. (now General) Gilmore, Chief of Engineers in Gen. Sherman's staff, of the former, Capt. Bankhead, of the gunboat Pembina. The result of their explorations was a determination on the part of Gen. Sherman and Com. Dupont to send a combined force up Wilmington Narrows, at the same time that operations should begin in the vicinity of Wall's Cut. Accordingly Gen. Wright, with three regiments, the Fourth New-Hampshire, Col. Whipple, the Sixth Connecticut, Col. Chatfield, the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania, Col. Guess, was ordered on board the transports Cosmopolitan, Boston and Delaware. These vessels, convoyed by six or seven gunboats, the Ottawa, Captain Stevens, the Seneca, Capt. Ammen, the Ellen, Capt. Budd, and others, were despatched to Warsaw Sound, on January twenty-seventh. The naval force was placed under command of Capt. C. H. Davis, the Fleet-Captain, who was accompanied by Capt. Raymond Badgers, of the Wabash, Lieut. Barnes, and other skilful officers. This party proceeded according to order, up the Wilmington Narrows for several miles, quite in the rear of Fort Pulaski, until they arrived at a place where piles had been placed to obstruct their further progress. The gunboats remained at this spot, within a short distance of the Savannah, all night, while reconnoissances were made on land and water, by General Wright, Capt. Raymond Rodgers, and Lieut. Barnes. In the morning, Captain John Rodgers, with three gunboats, the Unadilla, Pembina, and Henry Andrews, appeared on the opposite side of the Savannah, in Wall's Cut, two of these vessels passing through into Wright River.

At this juncture the rebels at Savannah became alarmed, and Corn. Tatnall, with five gunboats, appeared in the stream. Tatnall's fleet was about half way between the two divisions of the Federal naval force, and distant from each of them nearly two miles. The country on each side is, however, so flat that but little obstruction to the sight intervened, and a firing immediately commenced. Tatnall's double object was, to drive out the gunboats under Capt. Davis from Wilmington Narrows, and to run a fleet of lighters, with provisions, down to Fort Pulaski. In the first aim he was unsuccessful ; he hoped proba bly that some of Davis's fleet would get aground, when the rebels could materially annoy them. But this was not the case; Davis returned Tatnall's fire vigorously, and is believed to have done one or more of the rebel gunboats serious damage. Meanwhile John Rodgers opened fire


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