In the immediate vicinity where the ‘stone fleet’ was sunk, a better channel than had existed at any recent period was at once formed a little south of east of Lighthouse Inlet
So, too, in the narrow inlets where vessels had been sunk by either of the combatants, a wash soon opened a deeper channel than existed before the obstruction had been placed.
Finally, it may be said, every one acquainted with those waters knew that a few months at least would be sufficient for the teredo navalis
(marine worm) to dispose of any timber that might be placed as an obstruction.
While the navy had been busy as above described, and in maintaining a blockade at the many entrances required, the army had completed a very large and strongly intrenched camp on Hilton Head
, which surrounded Fort Walker
It had also occupied Beaufort
, and picketed the whole of Port Royal Island
, upon which the town is situated, as also the whole of Hilton Head Island
, and had established a post on Tybee
and other islands.
The enemy had somewhat recovered from the heavy blow of the battle of Port Royal
, and the forced abandonment of so many earthworks that had been constructed with so much labor.
But he was by no means idle, and had formed the design of swooping down suddenly and capturing a regiment or more of National troops occupying Beaufort
and the island of Port Royal
For this purpose he supposed a necessary preliminary was to place obstructions at Seabrook's Point
, on Whale Branch
, two and a half miles from the ferry, on the one side, and at Boyd
's Neck, on the Coosaw
, five miles below the ferry, to prevent the ascent of gunboats; then by constructing a heavy battery at Port Royal Ferry and another on the shore opposite Seabrook's Point
, he could cross a sufficient force rapidly and sweep over Port Royal Island