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[489] part of the boat, to the same place. This was done to prevent the boat from straining. The Belvidere meanwhile had crossed the bar, and anchored in a position half a mile from the Expounder. The safety of the troops was now a matter of serious consideration. The captain of the steamboat, and Colonel Dandy, of the One Hundredth regiment, held a consultation, and at once determined to lower all the boats, and remove the troops forthwith to the Belvidere. In addition to boats' crews from the Expounder, several were made up from volunteers from among the troops. The Belvidere sent all her boats to assist in the rescue. In a short time, a dozen or more small life and surf-boats, were loading with troops. The work was conducted with coolness. The first boats that left the Expounder for the Belvidere, dashed through the surf boldly; but it seemed the white-capped waves would cover them at any moment. This perilous work was continued until dark. By this time, about three hundred soldiers had been removed from the Expounder to the Belvidere.

While this work was going on, more assistance was sent to us by Commander Balch, of the Pawnee. He sent the ship's launch, manned by twenty gallant sailors. In the launch was a long rope cable and an anchor, with which to assist in heaving the stranded steamer off the shoal. The naval men worked like heroes, and succeeded in getting a hawser to the Expounder, and threw the anchor in a proper place to obtain the desired result.

At eleven o'clock at night, the tide had risen to such an extent, as to warrant the attempt to rescue the steamer. A heavy strain was got on the cable referred to, and with the assistance of the engines, the Expounder got off the reef, after a trial of less than an hour from the time the tide served. The gunboat McDonough got off the place where she grounded an hour or so previous. These facts afforded a great relief to all on board the unfortunate steamer. We anchored for the night in the channel.

During the day, the rebel batteries at Light-House Inlet, or Folly Island, four or five miles distant, tried the range of their guns upon us. The range was too long, and their shells exploded harmless on the beach, a mile or two short of us. At night, the rebel lookouts on Folly Island fired rockets, emitting red fire, at intervals. This appeared to be a signal of warning, either to Gen. Beauregard that the Yankees were approaching, or to warn off contraband blockade-runners.

On Friday morning, the twenty-eighth instant, the Belvidere and Expounder steamed into Stono River, opposite Coles's Island. Under the direction of Commander Balch, of the Pawnee, they took anchorage within a few hundred yards of the centre of the island. The steamers' boats, with those from the gunboats, were all brought into use at eight o'clock A. M. The troops commenced disembarking. Major D. D. Nash, of the One Hundredth regiment, with three companies of that regiment, was the first to land. The movement was promptly made. The troops formed in line as they landed, with muskets loaded, ready for any attack from the enemy. The enemy did not come, and the regiment was safely landed, in one hour from the time the disembarkation commenced.

While the troops were disembarking, Colonel Dandy, of the One Hundredth regiment, Commander Balch, of the Pawnee, and Capt. Rice, of the Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania volunteers, (on special duty on the Pawnee,) landed on the island, and reconnoitred in the vicinity. They discovered a rebel battery, situated near the end of the causeway that leads from Coles's to James Island, about one and three fourths miles from where the troops were making their camps. They also saw evidences of numerous concealed works on Folly and James Islands. The rebels are in force in this vicinity. We look for an attack at any moment.

Coles's Island, now occupied by our troops, is at the confluence of the Stono and Folly Rivers. It is about two miles long, and one eighth of a mile wide. It might be considered a part of James Island, as the dividing line (if it may be so called) is a marsh. A causeway connects Coles's with James Island. The island is in proximity to Kiawah, John's and Folly Islands, and Stono, Folly, and Kiawah Rivers. The topography of the island is of an undulating character, and is covered with a sparse growth of pine and palmet-to-trees. The ground is covered with thick switch-grass, interspersed with cactus and semi-tropical wild plants. In the water-front, or rather, the sea-front of the island, there is the debris of a round fort, occupied by the rebels at the commencement of the war. There are two embrasures still visible, and portions of platforms for guns. In the rear of the work, is a large bombproof powder-magazine. On the east end of the island, there are a number of rifle-pits, close to which is a rebel graveyard, in which are ten or twelve graves. From the head-boards it is seen that the island was at one time garrisoned by the Fourteenth South-Carolina regiment. When our troops landed, they discovered water-wells were already dug for them.

From the north side of Coles's Island, two miles distant, is the pretty town of Legareville. It is situated on the Stono River, and runs parallel with it. It has many large buildings of modern architecture, and appears to have been once, if not now, occupied by a pretty enterprising people. The houses are surrounded by large flower-gardens, and ornamented in front by shade-trees of various descriptions. The town has been deserted by its inhabitants, and is now occupied by the rebel soldiers. The rebels have three forts here, two of them of recent construction. The United States gunboat Isaac P. Smith, was captured by one of these forts several weeks ago. Since that time, the enemy have made accessions to these works, by the addition of the forts named, besides a line of rifle-pits, nearly half a mile long, on the south side of the town. In addition to these fortifications, the rebels have a mortar-battery on James Island, directly opposite the town.


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