said to me, “Captain Elliott
, what is the condition of things over the river?”
I replied, “Fort Walker
has been silenced, sir.”
“ By what do you judge?”
“By the facts that the fort has been subjected to a heavy enfilade and direct fire, to which it has ceased to reply, that the vessels having terminated their fire, the flag-ship has steamed up and delivered a single shot, which was unanswered, and that thereupon cheering was heard from the fleet.”
“Then, sir, it having been proved that these works could not accomplish the end for which they were designed—that of protecting the harbor —you will prepare to retire from a position from which our retreat may readily be cut off, and which our small force will not enable us to hold against a land attack.”
I then prepared my command for a retreat, destroyed the greater part of the powder, spiked the guns, and an hour later took up the line of march for Eddings's Island.’
So the troops on Bay Point
also stole away, without giving themselves the trouble to fold their tents.
About 4 P. M. an officer who had landed near Fort Walker
met the body-servant of General Drayton
and took him on board the flag-ship for personal examination.
It was then ascertained, if not known before, that the Confederate
troops could escape from Hilton Head Island
by means of the steamboats that had entered Scull Creek
, there being a wharf about one mile from the entrance.
It was supposed, naturally enough, with a march which General Drayton
gives as six miles from the fort to the wharf, that before a force could get through the intricate channel of Scull Creek
, the embarkation would have been completed, which was not the case, however, as we learn from General Drayton
's report that it was not fully effected until 1.30 A. M. of the 8th.
Not seeing the Seminole
, that had been sent over to guard the approach from Bay Point
—that vessel having by mistake