material injury inflicted upon it show how wise was General Beauregard
's advice, and what might have been accomplished had a still bolder course and a less generous one been pursued by the flagofficer commanding.
It would not be fair, however, to detract from the merits of an enterprise which, so far as it went, reflected honor on the officers and men engaged in it. It should not be forgotten that Commodore Ingraham
had many serious obstacles to contend with: first, the weakness of the machinery of the two boats; second, their very heavy and objectionable draught; and, third, the fact that neither could be looked upon as altogether seaworthy.
But, whatever may have been the causes that prevented a more brilliant result, the official statement, as made by General Beauregard
, Commodore Ingraham
, and the foreign consuls then on the spot, was true: the blockade of the port of Charleston
, for the time being, had been raised, and the hostile fleet guarding its outer harbor had been unquestionably dispersed.
The reader is aware that the outer works planned, commenced, and partially completed, in 1861, by General Beauregard
, at the entrance of the Stono
, had been abandoned by General Pemberton
for inner defences believed by him to afford better protection.
He removed from Cole's Island
, at the month of the Stono
, eleven guns of large calibre which had protected the entrance.
The river was immediately entered, and a permanent lodgment of Federal troops was made on the southeast end of James Island
This proved to be a serious error upon General Pemberton
The enemy's gunboats, now unhindered, went up the Stono
as near Fort Pemberton
as safety permitted, and were thus enabled to fire their long-range rifled guns upon our camps on James
and John's islands
, thereby causing much annoyance to our troops, and occasionally killing a few men.
It had been ascertained that one of these Federal gunboats— the Isaac Smith
, carrying nine heavy guns—was the most enterprising of them all; that she approached nearest to the fort, and, under the shelter of a high bluff, with banked fires, often remained there the whole night, unconcerned as if afloat on Federal waters.
While the naval attack just described was being prepared General Beauregard
determined to put a stop to the annoying and, thus far, unimpeded incursions of the Isaac Smith
. He called the Commander
of the First Military District to a conference at