Federal operations at Port Royal and the vicinity of Savannah.
News from Port Royal
up to the 4th inst. has been received in the North
The New York Times's
correspondent gives the following:
There were no gunboats remaining at Port Royal
, all of them having been sent up Warsaw Sound
to intercept intercourse and cut off supplies between Fort Pulaski
The result of this movement, if successful, will be exceedingly disastrous to the fort, as it receives all its supplies from Savannah
The boats, to the number of 15, were stationed about five miles to the rear of the fort, awaiting further orders.
About ten thousand troops embarked on the expedition.
It is generally believed at Port Royal
will be in possession of the National
force within a short time.
The troops under Gen. Sherman
are very much dissatisfied with their present inactivity.
They were greatly disappointed in not receiving orders, weeks ago, to march either upon Savannah
On the 21st day of January, the embarkation of several regiments of troops, and other active preparations betokening an expedition of some magnitude, gave rise to lively hopes that something was about to be accomplished after so long a period of inactivity.
was generally supposed to be its destination.
Notwithstanding, however, that a period of nearly three weeks has elapsed since the sailing of the expedition, as yet nothing important has been accomplished.
It would not, perhaps, be prudent to give a numerical statement of the entire force, inasmuch as the objects of the expedition have not been accomplished; suffice it to say, that it consists of both land and naval forces, of such strength as to indicate a very important movement.
The troops were quietly and expeditiously embarked, every preparation was hurriedly made, and the fleet would doubtless have sailed without exciting special comment had not five days of stormy weather prevented its departure.
The troops are under command of Gen. Wright
, while the naval force, consisting of six gunboats — the Ottawa
, Petumeka, Western World, Isaac Smith
, and Ellen — were commanded by Capt. Davis
The morning of the 26th proving clear and propitious — after a period of stormy weather of longer duration than any we have yet experienced here — the fleet sailed, and on the afternoon of the same day cast anchor in Warsaw Sound
, a large bay which makes in south of Tybee Island
During the night soundings were made, and the next morning the gunboats entered Wilmington Narrows — a narrow channel which runs within two miles of Fort Pulaski
and nearly parallel with the Savannah river
, which it enters about three miles above Fort Jackson
Upon passing Fort Pulaski
great bustle and activity was observed, as if they were endeavoring to get a heavy gun to beat upon this channel in order to give us a salute as we passed; but our active little gunboats were out of range before their purpose could be accomplished.
Following this river, which winds through flat, swampy lands, the gunboats proceeded for a distance of five miles, when a row of piles was discovered stretching from bank to bank, obstructing the channel and preventing our further progress.
Here the gunboats came to anchor, and General Wright
, who had accompanied the reconnaissance on board the Ottawa
, disembarked two companies of the Sixth Connecticut Regiment to reconnoitre on each bank of the river, while he proceeded in a rowboat to within a short distance of the Savannah
, ascertaining the depth and position of the channel and the nature of the obstructions placed there.
On the left bank of the river was a plantation and house, but the place was deserted, and no signs of life could be seen anywhere, the river, except at high water, they remained here all night.
On the next morning, Tatnall
's fleet of five side-wheel steamers were seen coming down the Savannah river
, putting forth volumes of dense black smoke.
They were towing two hulks, evidently intended for sinking somewhere.
A strip of swamp land, only a mile and a half wide, separated them from our gunboats, and as they passed within good range both sides were at their guns, each waiting for the other to speak first.
Our officers were anxious for the order from Capt. Davis
, to open upon the saucy little rebel craft; but it did not come, and a shade of disappointment passed over their faces as they saw them passing without a shot from either side.
had no intention of allowing the opportunity to pass, and turning back, his little steamer — the Savannah
— discharged a solid shot, which fell short.
This friendly token was replied to by a shell from the Ottawa
, which reached them, but did no damage.
It was received with grim satisfaction by the officers of our other gunboats as the signal for an interchange of shot, and they opened on the rebel fleet with a well-directed fire of shells, which proved very damaging to them, while all their shot fell short and did us no injury whatever.
's vessel was struck twice, once amidships, by a shell from the Ottawa
, and damaged so severely that her flag was lowered and another vessel came to her assistance and towed her off. The other vessels were all more or less damaged, many of our shells striking them frequently and silencing their fire.
They soon withdrew from their position, and made their way back to Savannah