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[623] trouble, concerning the country, of which no map gave a correct description. The hours of the tide had been carefully calculated, and a large number of tenders, towed by steamers, were to facilitate and expedite the process of landing. The fleet weighed anchor during the night, under the direction of Captain Stedman. Mitchell, mortally stricken by the fevers which ravage these coasts in the fall of the year, had transferred the command of the expedition to Brannan. But notwithstanding the secrecy which had surrounded it, the Confederates had either learned or surmised its object, and were on their guard.

The Savannah and Charleston Railroad described a circular arc between these two points, the convexity of which was turned to the west. This course is necessitated by the two arms of the sea, which extend the bays of Port Royal and St. Helena far inland, separating the archipelago which bears the latter name from the continent. Deep estuaries and rivers bounded by vast swamps compelled the railroad constructors to look for firm ground far from the coast. Nevertheless, it was found necessary to build large bridges over water-courses, apparently insignificant, but to which the effect of the tide gave at stated periods considerable breadth. The object of the expedition was to destroy these bridges. The two were selected that could be most easily approached—that of the Coosawatchie, near the village of that name, and that of the Pocotaligo, an estuary very shallow at low tide, which also gives its name to a small village situated on its borders. The brigades of Terry and Brannan, under the command of the latter general, were ordered to land at Mackay's Point, on the right bank of the Pocotaligo, and near the point where it empties into the Coosaw River, while Colonel Barton, with two regiments from Fort Pulaski, ascended the Coosawatchie as far as the vicinity of the railway bridge.

The difficulty in navigating the river at night delayed the landing at Mackay's Point beyond the appointed time. It was, however, effected on the morning of the 22d without accident. The vessel which had the cavalry on board was the only one that remained stranded in the offing, and was unable to land her cargo. As soon as his troops had formed, Brannan set out in the direction of the railway bridge, following the road leading to the village

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