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[59] became untenable, and the guns were disabled. The island of Hilton Head was abandoned, the Georgia battery losing its guns. Fort Beauregard was also evacuated, and the enemy thus gained a permanent base for naval action. Tattnall, however, brought off his mosquito fleet in safety.

The Federal light-draught gunboats were soon flitting through the passages of the island-fringed coast of Georgia, and expeditions were sent through Ossabaw, Warsaw, St. Helena and Cumberland sounds, as far down as Fernandina, rapidly gaining possession of the whole coast line except the entrance to Savannah harbor. These scouting vessels did not venture to attack Fort Pulaski, but landed a force of men on Tybee island on the 24th of November, after shelling the martello tower and battery, which had been abandoned some two weeks before. Captain Read, with a detachment of his command, crossed over to the island after dark to burn the hospital, but found the enemy too numerous. Learning that the Federals were gathering up the cotton and rice from the plantations, he burned some of these products and retired to Cockspur island. Commodore Tattnall's flotilla, the steamers Pocahontas, Seneca, Flag and Augusta, lay near Fort Pulaski, and as the enemy's gunboats kept well out of range, he endeavored by an attack and retreat to draw them closer. The naval skirmish continued for an hour, but was ineffective, and the Federals were too wary to give the fort an opportunity to participate. For several days afterward shells were thrown at long range toward Pulaski. During the stay of the Federal fleet at Tybee there was great excitement, and extensive preparations were made under the immediate direction of General Lee for the warm reception of the enemy. To compel the enemy to pass under the guns of Fort Pulaski in approaching the city, piles were driven in the channels which open into the river on the north and south, and other obstructions made which

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