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[62] Tybee made that purpose a dangerous one, but in obedience to the order of the secretary of the navy he loaded the ship with cotton and resin, and on December 20th dropped down to Wilmington island, accompanied by Tattnall's squadron, the Savannah (flagship), Lieut. J. N. Maffitt; the Resolute, Lieut. J. P. Jones; the Sampson, Lieut. J. Kennard, and the Ida and Bartow. The Chatham artillery was also sent to Skidaway island to assist in case there should be a conflict. On the 23d the Fingal and Tattnall's boats ran down near the enemy's gunboats, but found them in such strong force that they were compelled to return. In the brief action which accompanied this reconnaissance, Tattnall's flagship was hit in the wheel-house and required assistance from the Resolute in returning. The Fingal found every channel of escape shut off, and a pilot sent to reconnoiter a passage by way of the Romney marsh, himself narrowly evaded capture. The Federal authorities were undoubtedly fully aware of the presence of the daring cruiser and her anxiety to get out. To add to the difficulties of exit, a number of hulks loaded with stone were sunk by the enemy in the channel of the river below Fort Pulaski, as well as in other channels, and late in January Captain Bulloch reported that there was no prospect of taking the ship out. He then turned her over to Lieut. G. T. Sinclair and returned to Europe by way of Wilmington.

Gen. Henry R. Jackson, whose gallant career in Virginia will be hereafter described, was appointed major-general of State forces by Governor Brown, and assumed command December 28, 1861, with headquarters at Savannah. General Jackson advised General Lee that he held himself subject to the latter's directions in all military operations looking to the defense of the State, and would report as directed; and added that the personal relations between General Lawton and himself were of such a character as to insure the most cordial feelings and a perfect harmony of action. To this Lee responded:

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