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[202] set forth in the accompanying report of Lieutenant-Commander Chaplin. Although we did not meet the enemy, I am confident, from the alacrity and cheerfulness with which my orders were obeyed, that the naval portion of the expedition would have brought back a far different account than that which must be told of the army.

Enclosed you will please find a copy of my orders to Lieutenant-Commander Chaplin, and a sketch showing the points occupied and covered by the forces under my command. Hoping I have carried out your instructions to your entire satisfaction,

I remain respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Edward E. Stone, Lieutenant-Commander U. S. Navy. Rear-Admiral J. A. Dahlgren, Commanding S. A. B. Squadron, Port Royal Harbor, S. C.

Report of Lieut.-Com. J. C. Chaplin.

United States steamer Dai-Ching, Saint Helena Sound, May 21, 1864.
Admiral: In obedience to orders from Lieutenant-Commander Stone to cooperate with General Birney, in his expedition to cut the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, I have to report as follows:

The transports, with the exception of the Boston, arrived here at half past 6 P. M., May twenty-fifth. I immediately called on General Birney for instructions, telling him I had no pilot, but thought I could find one on Ash Island. He replied, if I did not find one he would send the Captain of the transport Wyoming to pilot this vessel up in the morning; but in the mean time to send the Wild Cat outside to bring in the Boston. All the steamers proceeded up the Ashapoo, with the exception of the Boardman, which grounded near the mouth of the river. The Boston arrived about this time. I sent Acting Ensign Nelson on board the Boardman to render assistance, as he knew the channel; Mr. Nelson afterwards went on board of the Boston to pilot her to Bennett's Point. On his arrival at Mosquito Creek he informed Colonel Montgomery that that was the place where the landing was to be made. Colonel Montgomery, seeing a steamer standing up the river, said his orders were to follow. Mr. Nelson said he could pilot no farther. The Boston still kept on, and got in shore, under Chapman's battery, about midnight. At daylight, a pilot having been found, I started up the river to carry out my orders; while under way an Aid of General Birney's came on board and informed me of the grounding of the Boston, and the General thought it useless for me to attempt to get up, and to send our pilot and two boats to him. The pilot of this vessel was confident he could carry the ship up with safety; then the Aid said I had better try it, as we could render them valuable assistance in case of danger. I proceeded at once up the river to the point where the Boston was in shore, and on my arrival found the enemy firing briskly on her from the battery, and nearly all of the troops ashore in the marsh, having thrown away their arms and accoutrements, and, in many instances, their clothing. I immediately opened fire from all of our guns, and in a very few minutes silenced the battery. The army gunboat Plato then proceeded to the Boston, we firing occasionally for two hours without a response.

I called on the General again, and asked if I could be of service in getting her off, or saving public property. He replied, “No;” that he had already sent one of the Dai-Ching's boats, with one of his own officers up to set her on fire, and. requested me to send another in tow of the Plato; however, before she arrived the vessel was in flames, having on board some sixty horses.

After the rebels got the range, every shot struck the steamer; fortunately none were killed by the fire of the enemy, but some seven or eight were drowned in their hurried attempt to get on shore. It was supposed she had been struck seventy or eighty times, one or two shots going through her boiler. The colored troops, being in a position where they could not return the fire, seemed to have been panic-stricken, and Mr. Nelson says it was as much as the officers could do to keep them from crowding into the boats and swamping them.

At eleven A. M. the General started down to Bennett's Point to embark his troops, as the object of the expedition failed. The Dai-Ching followed to cover embarkation. At two P. M., the troops being all on board the transports, they started down the river; we followed, covering the retreat, and anchored off Otter Island at 3.30.

It was the impression of Acting Ensigns Nelson and Sheppard that the Boston could have been gotten off; at all events, the horses might have been saved, as the Plato was alongside of her for some time before she was set on fire, and not a shot fired at them by the rebels.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

J. C. Chaplin, Lieutenant-Commander. Rear-Admiral J. A. Dahlgren, Commanding S. A. B. Squadron.

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