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[187] thousands of blue-garmented soldiery had departed for other fields, leaving but a remnant behind. Col. W. W. H. Davis still commanded, but had only his own regiment,—the One Hundred and Fourth Pennsylvania,—the Fifty-second Pennsylvania, and five companies of the Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery on Morris Island, and the Eleventh Maine on Black Island. Few events of importance had occurred during the winter months. Vessels still ran the blockade, but sometimes came to grief, as did the ‘Presto,’ which went ashore on Sullivan's Island February 2, and was destroyed by our guns. The navy lost the ‘Housatonic’ on February 17, sunk by a torpedo boat, the latter also going to the bottom with all on board. Sumter had been made stronger against assault, and a few guns were mounted on its channel face.

Black Island was reached by the three companies, after laboriously rowing up Lighthouse Inlet and the creeks, on the evening of the 18th. The Eleventh Maine was relieved there and departed the next day. This outpost, occupied by a portion of the Fifty-fourth until Charleston was evacuated, merits description. It was of small extent and almost the only dry spot amid the marshes between Morris and James islands. The safety of Lighthouse Inlet and the inland channel from Stono depended upon its safe maintenance. Our heavy guns, mounted there in August, 1863, had been removed. There was an enclosed work holding a single Wiard rifle-gun. As it was within range of the lower James Island batteries, bombproofs had been constructed. From a platform near the top of a tall pine-tree called the ‘Crow's Nest,’ commanding a fine view of the whole region, a constant watch was kept. Messages were sent to and received from Morris Island by signal flags

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