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[39] of two nautical miles a rifle shell was thrown at the Seneca, which fell astern; another, a heavy smooth-bore, fired at the Pembina fell far short.

On the 15th of December Commander Drayton crossed the North Edisto Bar. An earthwork was seen on the west side facing the bar, and shells were thrown into it without a reply. The works proved to be two abandoned redoubts for five guns each, connected by a long curtain, and protected in the rear by a double fence of thick plank, with earth between, and loopholed. The guns and platforms had been removed. The Seneca proceeded several miles up the river, when on all sides cotton-houses and outbuildings were set on fire. Many of these fires were miles in the interior, and were known only by the dense volumes of white smoke rising above the pine forests that outlined the horizon. Their property was far beyond the reach of molestation, even had a design existed. Such conduct indicated the actual insanity that reigned among the inhabitants in the region, and the terror inspired by the bombardment of the forts at Port Royal.

Escaped slaves reported a Confederate force of 500 men at Rockville, a handsome-looking village on a bluff about three miles distant. Captain Drayton determined to pay them a visit at daylight and went on board of the Vixen for that purpose, taking with him marines and armed boat crews from the Pawnee and the Seneca. The Vixen got aground in the creek, which prevented her reaching the town until 8 A. M. of the 18th. Fifty men were landed, there being no sign of life on the wharf. On reaching the town large numbers of the blacks were found pillaging commissary stores.

A deserted encampment was found one mile from the water, the troops having left when they saw the vessels entering

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