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Doc. 48.-expedition to Doboy River, Ga.


Report of General Saxton.

Beaufort, S. C., November 25, 1862.
Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
sir: I have the honor to inclose for your in formation the report of the expedition to Doboy River, Ga. The expedition was composed of three companies First South-Carolina volunteers, (colored,) under command of Lieut.-Col. Oliver T. Beard, Forty-eighth New-York volunteers, and was in every respect a success. It gives me pleasure to bear witness to the good conduct of the negro troops. They fought with most determined bravery. Although scarcely one month since the organization of this regiment was commenced, in this short period these untrained, lowly soldiers have captured from the enemy an amount of property equal in value to the cost of the regiment for a year. They have driven back equal numbers of rebel troops, and have destroyed the salt-works along the whole line of this coast. Great credit is due to Lieut.-Col. Beard for his energy and skill in the management of this expedition.

I am, Sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

Rufus Saxton, Brigadier-General and Military Governor.


Colonel Beard's report.

Beaufort, S. C., November 22, 1862.
General: I have the honor to report that, as directed by you, I proceeded, on the thirteenth instant, on the United States steamer Darlington, with one hundred and sixty of the First South-Carolina volunteers, (colored regiment,) in quest of lumber and other articles needed for the department. The steamer Ben Deford, ordered by you to report to me at Doboy Sound, did not, owing to heavy fogs and adverse winds, reach that point until the seventeenth instant. On the eighteenth, accompanied by the United States gunboat Madgie, I proceeded to the mills located on Doboy River, Georgia. On reaching the mill, I found it necessary to reconnoitre the land adjacent thereto. To do this it was needful to cross a narrow causeway leading from the mill through a swamp to the main land — a distance of about four hundred and fifty yards. This high land was heavily wooded, except on the summit, which was cleared and occupied with houses. My men--thirty-four in number — had no sooner passed across the causeway, and through the woods to the clearing beyond, than they were fired on by the enemy, who were posted in the thicket in front and on both sides. On the first fire one man was dangerously wounded, and a momentary panic seized the men, but it was only momentary. They speedily rallied and opened a brisk fire on the places occupied by the concealed enemy. This fire they kept up with great regularity and coolness until ordered by me to retire to the end of the causeway. They retired, firing as they went, with a slowness and deliberateness that could not have been surpassed by veteran troops. Three others were severely wounded while they were retiring. When my men reached the end of the causeway, I had the bow-gun of the Darlington directed on the woods, after which the fire of the enemy ceased, though numbers of them were seen through the days and nights we remained. I succeeded in loading the steamers Ben Deford and Darlington with from two hundred thousand to three hundred thousand feet of superior boards and planks, besides securing a number of circular and other saws, belting, corn-mills, and other property, which I was directed by you to obtain for the use of your department.

When it is remembered that these men never had arms in their hands until four days before they started for the expedition, I think you cannot fail to give them great praise for standing a galling fire from a concealed enemy so bravely; for holding the causeways referred to during the two days and nights required for loading two large steamers, with valuable property, in the face of an enemy. To do this, my men worked day and night without intermission; and though short of provisions, I heard not a murmur. On the last expedition the fact was developed that colored men would fight behind barricades; this time they have proved by their heroism that they will fight in the open field. Captain Trowbridge aided me greatly. Captain Crandell, of the Darlington, I found a trifling, childish pest. Capt Meriam, of the Madgie, rendered me valuable assistance. I cannot forbear to make honorable mention of Capt. Hallet, of the steamer Ben De-ford. With a man of less nerve and less capacity [201] I would not have dared to take so large a steamer to such a place. Hence, I could not have obtained so valuable a cargo.

I have the honor to be, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Oliver T. Beard, Lieut.-Colonel Forty-eighth New-York State Volunteers. Brig.-Gen. Rufus Saxton, U. S. Volunteers, Military Governor Department of the South.

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