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[625] convinced that they could neither silence them by crossing the river nor leave them behind. Deprived of ammunition, short of provisions, with a large number of their wounded left on the road, they ran the risk, if they waited till night, of being turned by the enemy, who could not fail speedily to receive reinforcements. Brannan therefore about four o'clock gave the order for retreat, which was accomplished without confusion. The column, carrying back all its wounded, joined the fleet which had brought them over at a late hour; and on the 23d the Union troops landed at Hilton Head.

Colonel Barton, on his side, leaving Mackay's Point on the morning of the 22d, where he had received Brannan's instructions, proceeded up the Coosawatchie with four hundred men and four vessels, two gun-boats and two small transports. At three kilometres below the village of Coosawatchie, the tide being low, there was not water enough. He landed his troops on the right bank and proceeded in the direction of the railroad, hoping to be able to reach the great bridge, which he intended to destroy before the enemy had collected sufficient forces to defend it. Whilst his scouts were occupying the track, the whistle of a locomotive announced the approach of a train coming from Charleston. It was a Georgia regiment sent by Beauregard to guard the river crossings. The Federals, who were posted at a short distance, received the Confederates that were crowded in the open cars with a well-sustained fire of musketry. Several of them were wounded. Their leader, Colonel Harrison, was killed at the first discharge; others, astonished by this unexpected attack, jumped out of the cars, most of them being severely injured by the fall; but the train proceeded on its course. It stopped a little farther on to land the troops that were on board; they formed rapidly, so as to protect both village and bridge. Barton did not venture to attack them, but contented himself with tearing up the rails along that portion of the track he occupied, and then returned to the vessels, on board of which he embarked, joining Brannan at Hilton Head the next day. The losses of the Federals in these various engagements amounted to thirty-two killed and one hundred and ninety wounded; the enemy had about one hundred men disabled.

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