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[217] secured to the Federals the possession of the entire group of the St. Helena islands. During this month, their gun-boats were employed in running into and observing the large bays of which they had taken possession—North Edisto, St. Helena Sound and its branch, South Edisto, the Coosaw, the Broad River, Warsaw and Ossabaw Sounds. The localities of North Edisto, in consequence of its contiguity to Charleston, required particular attention. Reconnaissances were likewise made in the inland channels which connect the Savannah River with the adjoining arms of the sea, in order to complete those we have mentioned above, which had revealed the existence of a navigable communication between the river and Warsaw Sound, by means of which the guns of Fort Pulaski could be avoided. During the early part of January, a bold explorer had discovered another pass on the left bank of the Savannah, which, after a thousand windings between marshy islands, debouched northward into Dawfuskie Bay, near the island of Hilton Head. Commodore Dupont resolved to throw a sufficient force into these labyrinths, so as to take possession of them if those passes should prove to be practicable for his vessels. The expedition on the left bank, although prepared with great care and secrecy, was detected by the enemy a short time before the day fixed for its departure. The channel through which it was to emerge into the Savannah River is so narrow and difficult, that the idea of forcing a passage through could not be entertained; a few sharpshooters lying in ambush along the shore would have been sufficient to defend it. Nevertheless, Rodgers ventured very far into the channel called Wright's River, and reached a point whence he could throw his projectiles as far as the waters of the Savannah River. But Dupont, convinced that he should not be able to attain the object he had in view on that side, directed all his attention to the right bank. There the Federals already occupied Tybee Island, which they contemplated making the base of their operations against Fort Pulaski as soon as the season should permit. The December expedition had found the channel which connects the river with Warsaw Sound strongly barricaded and defended by several works. Captain Davis, with six gun-boats and three

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