but the current was too strong for them, whereupon they set sail and beat out the channel. It seemed, as I watched the progress of the little boat, that she would be momentarily engulfed in the heavy sea-swell then prevailing. By the time the McDonough's boat reached us, the tide had been ebbing an hour and a half, and the stage of water there on Stono bar was so low as not to admit its crossing by either the Expounder or Belvidere. It was therefore deemed advisable by Captain Deering to postpone the attempt until high-water the next day. As the wind was blowing quite fresh, it was thought advisable to make a harbor for the night at Edisto Inlet, twelve miles distant, the entrance to which is practicable at all tides for vessels drawing less than twelve feet of water. This was accomplished by four P. M. As we entered Edisto Inlet we met, going in, a fleet of four iron-clad gunboats, and in tow of a steamer, namely, the United States, Locust Point, Cahawba, and the gunboat Connemaugh. In addition to these were several colliers and store vessels. Preceding this fleet in Edisto Inlet were the gunboats South-Carolina and Flambeau and three schooner mortar-boats. The consolidation of these two fleets made quite an imposing appearance, doubtless stimulating the nerves of the rebels in that vicinity, and particularly the rebel pickets on Botany Bay, Seabrook, and Edisto Islands, many of whom were in sight when the fleet entered the harbor. From the anchorage of the Expounder in Edisto Inlet, half-a-mile distant, on Bohicksett Creek, I could distinctly see the deserted but beautiful town, Rockville. Its inhabitants, being of the secession “persuasion,” had gone Dixieward. The town has a neat church, with an immense spire; a large cotton-ginning establishment, stores, postoffice, dwelling-houses, and the usual concomitants of a first-class town. Some of the dwelling-houses are neat, capacious, and apparently comfortable. The town in many respects wears the air of a Yankee town. The architecture of the buildings seems to indicate that at one time a live Yankee from Massachusetts had settled there. As I said before, the place is uninhabited, except by a few superannuated negroes, male and female. The rebels have a picket station there, and the town is frequently visited by rebel scouting-parties. The view of the surrounding country, from Edisto Inlet, is sublime. The soil is of unexampled natural fertility, out of which can be raised almost any kind of a crop. From Edisto, the eye can describe a semicircle of territory from twelve to fifteen miles in extent. The topography of the land is of an undulatory character. The arable cultivated lands bear such a harmonious proportion to the palmetto and pine woods, as to make the scenery preeminently interesting Through the opens on the small eminences, here and there are seen the palatial residences of the old planters. Many of these houses have observatories on them, which give them an unique and lofty appearance. Near the planters' houses are seen the negro villages. Most of these villages are now deserted, and the lands lying waste for want of cultivation. The landscape from Edisto Inlet, is one well worthy of the pencil and easel of the limner. At eight o'clock, on Thursday morning, the twenty-seventh instant, the Expounder and the Belvidere weighed anchor, took their departure from Edisto, and proceeded once more to Stono Inlet. The weather was delightful, and the heavy wind which prevailed the day previous, had subsided. Both vessels arrived at the inlet before high-water, and were obliged to lay off and on until the tide should serve. We were well repaid for the delay, as we had the gratification of seeing the iron ram Keokuk pass us, en route from Fortress Monroe for Hilton lead. This double-turreted monster looked formidable. While waiting for the tide to serve, the Government pilot on the Expounder made a small boat survey of Stono Bar. After he returned, which was about noon, the Expounder was got under weigh; but immediately after passing the first buoy, she grounded on a shoal, from which her motive power was unable to extricate her. Capt. Deering, of the Expounder, immediately ordered the ensign to be set, union down, as a signal of distress. This was answered promptly by the ranking naval officer in Stono River, who immediately sent the gunboat Commodore McDonough to our assistance. Soundings were taken, to ascertain the position of the Expounder, when it was discovered that the shoal was a fulcrum on which the steamer was resting, a position by no means safe nor desirable. As the tide receded, our position became more precarious, and the breakers by which we were surrounded were intense and dangerous. Before the arrival of succor from the navy, long hawsers of the Belvidere and Expounder were spliced, (the former vessel had not at this time attempted to cross the bar,) but the efforts of the former vessel to relieve the latter, were unavailing. The power of both was nil. The wind was freshening all the time, so that it blew a little gale; the Expounder was surrounded by a surf-swell, which seemed to threaten the lives of those on board, should the gale increase. The Expounder had boats enough only for a few hundred, so that our position was critical. The gunboat McDonough, having a distance of eight miles to come from her anchorage to where the Expounder was on shore, some time elapsed after the time we made our signal of distress, before she reached us. When she came to our assistance, she run a hawser to us, and attempted to pull the Expounder off the shoal. After tugging for an hour or two, and parting several hawsers, the McDonough herself went ashore on the edge of the channel. Shortly after this, a loud report was heard all over the Expounder. It was subsequently discovered that the hog-frame, or, to make it more plain to the reader, the large semicircular frame, seen over the decks of our large river steamers, had broken in twain. Captain Deering immediately ordered the troops to go aft, and the cargo, on the forward
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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