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[37] is but the initial step of a system of operations which will rapidly compel the Rebels either to lay down their arms and sue for restoration to the Union or to withdraw their slaves into the interior, thus leaving desolate the most fertile and productive of their counties along the Atlantic seaboard.

The Fifty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers shall soon be profitably and honorably employed; and I beg that you will send for service in this department the other colored regiment which Colonel Shaw tells me you are now organizing and have in forward preparation.

Thanking you heartily for the kindness and promptness with which you have met my views in this matter, and referring you to my letter to Mr. Jefferson Davis as a guarantee that all soldiers fighting for the flag of their country in this department will be protected, irrespective of any accident of color or birth, I have the honor to be, Governor, with the highest esteem,

Your very obedient servant,

D. Hunter, Major-General Commanding.

It was 4 P. M. when the ‘De Molay’ started for Beaufort, leaving the storehouses, quarters, and long pier making up the military station of Hilton Head. The steamer crossed the grand harbor with some seventy sail moored upon its waters, including the frigates Wabash and ‘Vermont,’ a monitor, several gunboats, and a French steamer, and reached Beaufort before dark. Col. James Montgomery, with the Second South Carolina Colored, was just debarking from a successful foray up the Combahee River, bringing several hundred contrabands. Brig.--Gen. Rufus Saxton was temporarily absent, and Col. W. W. H. Davis was in command of the district. June 4, at 5 A. M., the regiment landed too early in the day to attract the attention of any but a few loiterers. Passing through the

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