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[40] the creek. The blacks were found ‘as busy as bees,’ and had already possessed themselves of what they found in camp. Forty-four Sibley tents were taken on board the Vixen.

In relation to this, Colonel John L. Branch, whose encampment was visited, reported as follows: ‘On Tuesday the 17th, at 4.30 P. M., it was reported to me that four of the enemy's vessels had crossed the bar or were in sight and firing shells. I at once prepared to make observations for myself and saw the vessels, one considerably in advance of the others, coming up the Edisto River. I ordered the regimental line to be formed without knapsacks and marched out of camp, supposing that a fire of shells would at once be opened upon it. This was not done, however, and the advanced steamer continued up the river, while others stopped near the entrance to Bohicket Creek.’

‘On this river, and the several bold creeks connected therewith, are many places where troops could be landed, and by a forced march to our rear gain possession of the only two bridges connecting Wadmelaw with John's Island, and thereby cut off my entire command, two hundred and ninety-two rifles ... It is needles to say that had no demonstration been made to cut us off from John's Island, no retreat, save beyond the reach of the enemy's shells, would have been ordered, unless a very heavy force had been landed at Rockville.’ He further states that the ‘activity and energy of the quartermaster deserve the highest commendation,’ and that the losses sustained were due to insufficient means of transportation.

Several hundreds of slaves who had collected on board of the vessels were sent on shore and located themselves in the wood near the earthworks on the southeast end of Edisto Island, and for their protection and the maintenance of a

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