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A very heavy wind swept the island on the 25th, which blew down the Beacon house on the beach-front. This prominent landmark was a frame building, resting on a masonry foundation. On the northerly end was the chimney-stack, and surmounting the roof was a cupola. It had long been stripped of weather boarding, and stood, skeletonlike, in our daily pathway to and from Cumming's Point.

General Schimmelfennig, commanding the Northern District, and Colonel Gurney visited Black Island May 1, and after inspecting the post, viewed the enemy's lines beyond. About this period the commanding officer thus wrote:—

‘So near are we to the enemy on this island that we can distinctly hear the bands and drums on James Island, and see them drilling in the daytime. For the past few nights we could hear them having jolly times at Secessionville, cheering, etc., and from seeing regiments leaving in heavy marching order, with baggage-wagons in the rear, judge that the uproar was occasioned by these departures of troops, probably to join Lee.’

General Gillmore, on May 1, formally relinquished command of the department to General Hatch. Admiral Dahlgren, who had been North, returned that day and records in his journal: ‘Hatch says that Gillmore has taken off twenty thousand men, and leaves him no more than enough to hold on.’ On the 17th Dahlgren writes that Hatch had some fourteen thousand men remaining, ‘which were barely sufficient for the defensive.’

No mails came to Morris Island for many days, while the steamers were all employed in transporting troops North. The infantry regiments went out in regular turn for grand guard, and fatigue work, at the front, or at the ordnance and quartermaster's depots. Our artillerymen were throwing

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John P. Hatch (3)
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