Doc. 36.-seizure of the “Planter.”
Flag-officer Du Pont's report.
flag-ship Wabash, Port Royal Harbor, S. C., May 14, 1862.sir: I enclose a copy of a report from Commander E. G. Parrott, brought here last night by the late rebel steam-tug Planter, in charge of an officer and crew from the Augusta. She was the armed despatch and transportation steamer attached to the Engineer Department at Charleston under Brig.--Gen. Ripley, whose barge a short time since was brought out to the blockading fleet by several contrabands. The bringing out this steamer, under all the circumstances, would have done credit to any one. At four in the morning, in the absence of the captain, who was on shore, she left her wharf, close to the government office and headquarters, with Palmetto and confederate flag flying — passed the successive forts, saluting, as usual, by blowing her steam-whistle. After getting beyond the range of the last gun she quietly hauled down the rebel flags and hoisted a white one. The Onward was the inside ship of the blockading fleet in the main channel, and was preparing to fire when her commander made out the white flag. The armament of the steamer is a thirty-two-pounder on pivot and a fine twenty-four-pounder howitzer. She had beside on her decks, four other guns, one seven-inch rifled, which were to be taken, the morning of the escape, to the new fort on the middle ground. One of the four belonged to Fort Sumter, and had been struck in the rebel attack on that fort on the muzzle. Robert, the intelligent slave and pilot of the boat, who performed this bold feat so skilfully, informed me of this fact, presuming it would be a matter of interest to us to have possession of this gun. This man, Robert Small, is superior to any who have yet come into the lines, intelligent as many of them have been. His information has been most interesting, and portions of it of the utmost importance. The steamer is quite a valuable acquisition to the squadron, by her good machinery and very light draught. The officer in charge brought her through St. Helena Sound and by the inland passage down Beaufort River, arriving here at ten last night. On board the steamer when she left Charleston were eight men, five women, and three children. I shall continue to employ Robert as a pilot on board the Planter for the inland waters, with which he appears to be very familiar. I do not know whether, in the views of the Government, the vessel will be considered a prize, but if so, I respectfully submit to the Department the claims of this man Robert and his associates. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. F. Du Pont, Plag-Offioer Commanding South-Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
Commander Parrott's report.
U. S. Steamer Augusta, off Charleston, May 13, 1862.sir: I have the honor to inform you that the rebel armed steamer Planter was brought out to us this morning from Charleston by eight contrabands, and delivered up to the squadron. Five colored women and three children are also on board. She carries one thirty-two-pounder and one twenty-four-pounder howitzer, and has also on board four large guns, which she was engaged in transporting. I send her to Port Royal at once, in order to take advantage of the present good weather. I send Charleston papers of the twelfth, and the very intelligent contraband who was in charge will give you the information which he has brought off. I have the honor to request that you will send back, as soon as convenient, the officer and prize crew sent on board. I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,