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Doc. 36. battle of Port Royal, S. C. Fought November 7, 1861.

War Department order.

War Department, Oct. 14, 1861.
sir: In conducting military operations within States declared by the proclamation of the President to be in a state of insurrection, you will govern yourself, so far as persons held to service under the laws of such States are concerned, by the principles of the letters addressed by me to Major-General Butler, on the 30th of May and the 8th of August, copies of which are herewith furnished to you. As special directions, adapted to special circumstances, cannot be given, much must be referred to your own discretion, as Commanding General of the expedition. You will, however, in general, avail yourself of the services of any persons, whether fugitives from labor or not, who may offer them to the National Government; you will employ such persons in such services as they may be fitted for, either as ordinary employees, or, if special circumstances seem to require it, in any other capacity, with such organization in squads, companies, or otherwise, as you deem most beneficial to the service. This, however, not to mean a general arming of them for military service. You will assure all loyal masters that Congress will provide just compensation to them for the loss of the services of the persons so employed. It is believed that the course thus indicated, will best secure the substantial rights of loyal masters, and the benefits to the United States of the services of all disposed to support the Government, while it avoids all interference with the social systems or local institutions of every State, beyond that which insurrection [102] makes unavoidable, and which a restoration of peaceful relations to the Union, under the Constitution, will immediately remove.

Simon Cameron, Secretary of War. Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sherman, Commanding Expedition to the Southern Coast.

General Sherman's orders.

Headquarters, E. C., steamer Atlantic, October 25, 1861.
special orders, No. 19.
1. This command will sail for its destination in a very few days, under convoy of a naval squadron, commanded by Commander Dupont. The transports will move in three columns, and in rear of the main body of the squadron. The transports belonging to the First brigade, will compose the right column; those of the Second brigade and Third Rhode Island regiment the centre, and those of the Third brigade, and the battalion of volunteer engineers, the third column.

Each vessel will retain its order in. column, and the columns will move in parallel lines equidistant, regulating from the right. The sail vessels and other transports, inadequate to the task of sailing with the fleet, will be towed by such steamers as the chief quartermaster may designate. Commander Dupont, in cooperation with the land forces, has kindly made such an arrangement of his fleet as will secure the transports from unnecessary diffusion, and all senior officers on transports, and masters of vessels, will enter into the spirit of, and conform to these arrangements, a copy of which will be duly given.

2. The General commanding announces to the expeditionary corps that it is intended to make a descent on the enemy's coast, and probably under circumstances which will demand the utmost vigilance, coolness, and intrepidity on the part of every officer and man of his command. In consideration of the justness and holiness of our cause, of the ardent patriotism which has prompted the virtuous and industrious citizens of our land to fly to their country's standard in the moment of her peril, he most confidently believes that he will be effectually and efficiently supported in his efforts to overthrow a zealous, active, and wily foe, whose cause is unholy and principles untenable.

3. On the approach of the transports to the place of disembarkation, each Brigade Commander will anchor his transports as near each other as practicable, and will at the proper time superintend the disembarkation of his brigade. The surf boats, with other means of disembarkation on hand, are believed to be capable of landing at once from three to four thousand men. The surf boats are of different sizes; two of the largest may take the officers and men of a company of one hundred men; two of the next size a company of seventy men, and so on in proportion. The other means of transportation may take the remainder of a brigade, with probably one or two sections of field-artillery.

4. The disembarkment will be made in three lines. The first line will be the brigade of General Wright, flanked by two sections of Hamilton's light battery, accompanied by the squad of regular sappers and miners, and two companies of Serrell's Volunteer Engineers, with a sufficient supply of intrenching tools and sandbags. The second line will be the brigade of General Stevens, and, if necessary, accompanied by a section of Hamilton's battery and two field-pieces, to be manned by a company of the Third Rhode Island regiment. The reserve will be composed of General Viele's brigade, the remaining portions of Serrell's Volunteer Engineers and the Third Rhode Island regiment, and will be disposed of according to circum-stances.

5. The boats of not only each company, but of each regiment and brigade, will land abreast, as far as practicable, and in the order of battle. The utmost effort will be made to effect the landing in that order. Should it be found impracticable to land immediately from the lighters, then the surf boats, when emptied, will immediately proceed to the rapid landing of the men from the lighters; and as soon as the whole line is landed, all the boats will return and bring forward in like manner the troops of the second line, and so with the reserve.

6. The general officers and commanders of battalions, &c., will be furnished in time with a plan of descent and the particular order of battle. It is probable that the first line will have to conquer the ground on which to establish itself, and if opposed by greatly superior numbers, to manoeuvre and probably to momentarily intrench. If not seriously opposed, the first line, after overcoming immediate difficulties, will continue to drive backward the enemy, but will not venture beyond supporting distance from the shore, before the landing of the General commanding, or without his special order.

7. The commanding officer of the naval squadron has kindly consented to furnish three hundred sailors to assist in launching and manning the surf boats, and he appeals to the patriotism of the masters, mates, and sailors of the several transports, to furnish an additional number of cockswains and oarsmen. Any deficiency of oarsmen in surf boats will be supplied from the platoons on board of these respectively, so that each boat, when ready, may be rapidly rowed ashore. The soldier oarsmen will land and form with their platoons.

8. General and field officers, with their respective staffs, will endeavor to obtain landing-boats for themselves, and the necessary cockswains and oarsmen from the transports and other hired vessels of the fleet.

9. The senior officers of the troops on board each transport will arrange with the master for voluntary helps of this kind which may be needed and can be given, and will make a special [103]

The Coast of South Carolina

[104] report to Headquarters, as early as practicable, of the assistance thus rendered.

10. As soon as the landing shall have been effected, the surf and other landing boats will revert to the chief quartermaster for immediate supples.

11. The sick and non-effective men will remain on board the several transports until provision can be made for them on shore. The non-effectives will be especially charged with the care of the sick, under directions to be left by the respective medical officers.

12. Medical officers, excepting one from each brigade, to be designated by the respective brigade commanders, will land with the troops. The three medical officers left afloat will, under the direction of the medical director, divide the duty by visiting all the sick on board, including those of the Third Rhode Island regiment, and the battalion of Volunteer Engineers.

By order of

Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sherman. Louis H. Pelouze, Capt. Fifteenth Inf., Asst. Adjt.-Gen.

General Sherman's report.

Headquarters of the Naval expedition, Port Royal, S. C., Nov. 8, 1861.
To the Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
sir: I have the honor to report that the force under my command embarked at Annapolis, Md., on the 21st of October, and arrived at Hampton Roads, on the 22d. In consequence of the delay in the arrival of some of our transports and the unfavorable state of the weather, the fleet was unable to set out for the southern coast until the 29th, when, under convoy of a naval squadron in command of Commodore Dupont, and after the most mature consideration of the objects of the expedition by that flag-officer and myself, it was agreed to first reduce any works that might be found at Port Poyal, S. C., and thus open the finest harbor on the coast that exists south of Hatteras.

It was calculated to reach Port Royal in five days at most, but in consequence of adverse winds and a perilous storm on the day and night of the 1st of November, the fleet did not arrive at Port Royal bar until the 4th, and then only in part, for it had been almost entirely dispersed by the gale, and the vessels have been straggling in up to this date. The transport steamers Union, Belvedere, Osceola, and Peerless have not arrived, Two of them are known to be lost, and it is probable all are. It is gratifying, however, to say that none of the troop transports connected with the land forces were lost, though the Winfield Scott had to sacrifice her whole cargo, and the Roanoke a portion of her cargo, in order to save the lives of the men in the different regiments. The former will be unable again to put to sea. The vessels connected with the naval portion of the fleet have also suffered much, and some have been lost. After a careful reconnoissance of Fort Royal Bay, it was ascertained that the rebels had three field-works of remarkable strength, strongly garrisoned, and covered by a fleet of three gunboats, under Capt. Tatnall, late of the U. S. Navy, besides strong land forces, which the rebels were concentrating from Charleston and Savannah. The troops of the rebels were afterward ascertained to have been commanded by General Drayton. One of the forts, and probably the strongest, was situated on Hilton Head, and the other two on Philip's Island. It was deemed proper to first reduce the fort on Hilton Head, though to do this a greater or less fire might have to be met from the batteries on Bay Point at the same time. Our original plan of cooperation of the land forces in the attack had to be set aside, in consequence of the loss during the voyage, of a greater portion of our means of disembarkment, together with the fact that the only point where the troops should have landed, was from five to six miles, measuring around the intervening shoal, from the anchoring place of our transports — altogether too great a distance for successive debarkation with our limited means.

It was therefore agreed that the place should be reduced by the naval force alone. In consequence of the shattered condition of the fleet, and the delay in the arrival of the vessels that were indispensable for the attack, it had to be postponed until the 7th instant. I was a mere spectator of the combat, and it is not my province to render any report of this action; but I deem it an imperative duty to say that the firing and manoeuvring of our fleet against that of the rebels and their formidable land batteries was a master-piece of activity and professional skill that must have elicited the applause of the rebels themselves as a tactical operation. I think that too much praise cannot be awarded to the service and skill exhibited by the flag-officer of the naval squadron, and the officers connected with his ships. I deem the performance a masterly one, and it ought to have been seen to be fully appreciated. After the works were reduced, I took possession of them with the land forces. The beautifully constructed work on Hilton Head was severely crippled and many of the guns dismounted. Much slaughter had evidently been made there, many bodies having been buried in the fort, and some twenty or thirty were found some half mile distant. The island for many miles was found strewed with the arms, accoutrements, and baggage of the rebels, which they threw away in their hasty retreat. We have also come into possession of about forty pieces of ordnance, most of which are of the heaviest calibre and the most approved models, and a large quantity of ammunition and camp equipage. It is my duty to report the valuable services of Mr. Boutelle, assistant in the Coast Survey assisting me with his accurate and extensive knowledge of this country. His services are invaluable to the army as well as to the navy, and I earnestly recommend that important notice be taken of [105] this very able and scientific officer by the War Department.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient serv't,

T. W. Sherman, Brigadier-General Commanding. Adjutant-General U. S. A., Washington, D. C.

Commodore Dupont's reports.

flag-ship Wabash, off Hilton head, Port Royal harbor, November 6, 1861.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington:
sir: The Government having determined to seize and occupy one or more important points upon our Southern coast, where our squadrons might find shelter, possess a depot, and afford protection to loyal citizens, committed to my discretion the selection from among those places which it thought available and desirable for these purposes.

After mature deliberation, aided by the professional knowledge and great intelligence of the Assistant Secretary, Mr. Fox, and upon taking into consideration the magnitude to which the joint naval and military expedition had been extended, to which you have called my attention, I came to the conclusion that the original intentions of the Department, if carried out, would fall short of the expectations of the country and of the capabilities of the expedition, while Port Royal, I thought, would meet both in a high degree.

I therefore submitted to Brigadier-General Sherman, commanding the military part of the expedition, this modification of our earliest matured plans, and had the satisfaction to receive his full concurrence, though he and the commanders of the brigades very justly laid great stress on the necessity, if possible, of getting this frigate into the harbor of Port Royal.

On Tuesday, the 29th of October, the fleet under my command left Hampton Roads, and, with the army transports, numbered fifty vessels. On the day previous I had despatched the coal vessels, twenty-five in number, under convoy of the Vandalia, Commander Haggerty, to rendezvous off Savannah, not wishing to give the true point of the fleet.

The weather had been unsettled in Hampton Roads, though it promised well when we sailed. But off Hatteras it blew hard; some ships got into the breakers, and two struck, but without injury, on Friday, the 1st of November. The rough weather soon increased into a gale, and we had to encounter one of great violence from the southeast, a portion of which approached to a hurricane.

The fleet was utterly dispersed, and on Saturday morning one sail only was in sight from the deck of the Wabash. On the following day the weather moderated, and the steamers and ships began to reappear. The orders were opened, except those in case of separation. These last were forwarded to all the men-of-war by myself, and to the transports by Brigadier-General Sherman; and as the vessels rejoined, reports came in of disasters. I expected to hear of many, but when the severity of the gale and the character of the vessels are considered, we have only cause for great thankfulness.

In reference to the men-of-war: the Isaac Smith, a most efficient and well-armed vessel for the class purchased, but not intended to encounter such sea and wind, had to throw her formidable battery overboard to keep from floundering; but, thus relieved, Lieutenant-Commanding Nicholson was enabled to go to the assistance of the chartered steamer Governor, then in a very dangerous condition, and on board of which was our fine battalion of marines under Major Reynolds.

They were finally rescued by Captain Ringgold in the Sabine, under difficult circumstances, soon after which the Governor went down. I believe that seven of the marines were drowned by their own imprudence. Lieutenant-Commanding Nicholson's conduct in the Isaac Smith has met my warm commendations. The Peerless transport, in a sinking condition, was met by the Mohican, Commander Gordon, and all the people on board, twenty-six in number, were saved under very peculiar circumstances, in which service Lieutenant H. W. Miller was very favorably noticed by his commander.

On passing Charleston I sent in the Seneca, Lieutenant-Commanding Ammen, to direct Captain Lardner to join me with the steamer Susquehanna off Port Royal without delay.

On Monday, at eight o'clock in the morning, I anchored off the bar, with some twenty-five vessels in company, with many more heaving in sight.

The Department is aware that all the aids to navigation had been removed, and the bar lies ten miles seaward, with no features on the shore line with sufficient prominence to make any bearing reliable. But, owing to the skill of Commander Davis, the fleet captain, and Mr. Boutelle, the able assistant of the Coast Survey, in charge of the steamer Vixen, the channel was immediately found, sounded out, and buoyed.

By three o'clock I received assurances from Captain Davis that I could send forward the lighter transports, those under eighteen feet, with all the gunboats, which was immediately done, and before dark they were securely anchored in the roadstead of Port Royal, S. C. The gunboats almost immediately opened their batteries upon two or three rebel steamers under Commodore Tatnall, instantly chasing him under the shelter of the batteries. In the morning Commander John Rodgers, of the U. S. steamer Flag, temporarily on board this ship, and acting on my staff, accompanied Brigadier-General Wright in the gunboat Octavia, Lieutenant-Commanding Stevens, and supported by the Seneca, Lieutenant-Commanding Nicholson, made a reconnoissance in force, and drew the fire of the batteries on Hilton Head and Bay Point sufficiently to show that the fortifications [106]

Plan of the battle of Port Royal, S. C. The draft of this plan was made by G. C. Plicque, of the engineers attached to the Port Royal expedition. The batteries were situated--one, a strong, admirably-built fortification, called Fort Walker, mounting 23 guns, on the one side of the Broad River, (here about 2 1/2 miles wide,) and two other batteries, behind less elaborate earthworks, on the opposite side of the river. Of the latter, one mounted 15 guns, and was named Fort Beauregard, and the other 4 guns. The plan of the attack was simple and effective, being for the ships to steam in a circle, or ellipse, running close to one shore as they came down the river, drifting or steaming as slowly as possible past the batteries there, and paying their fiery respects, then making the turn to go back, and as they went up the river, favoring the other batteries with a similar compliment.--N. Y. Tribune.

[107] were works of strength, and scientifically constructed. On the evening of Monday, Captain Davis and Mr. Boutelle reported water enough for the Wabash to venture in. The responsibility of hazarding so noble a frigate was not a light one, over a prolonged bar of over two miles. There was but a foot or two of water to spare, and the fall and rise of the tide are such that if she had grounded she would have sustained most serious injury from straining, if not totally lost. Too much, however, was at stake to hesitate, and the result was entirely successful. On the morning of Tuesday, the Wabash crossed the bar, followed closely by the frigate Susquehanna, the Atlantic, Vanderbilt, and other transports of deep draft, running through that portion of the fleet already in. The safe passage of this great ship over the bar was hailed with gratifying cheers from the crowded vessels. We anchored, and immediately commenced preparing the ship for action. But the delay of planting the buoys, particularly on the Fishing Rip, a dangerous shoal we had to avoid, rendered the hour late before it was possible to leave with the attacking squadron.

In our anxiety to get the outline of the forts before dark, we stood in too near these shoals, and the ship grounded. By the time she was gotten off, it was too late, in my judgment, to proceed, and I made signals for the squadron to anchor out of gun-shot from the enemy. Today the wind blows a gale from the southward and westward, and the attack is unavoidably postponed.

I have the honor to be, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. F. Dupont, Flag-officer Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

flag-ship Wabash, off Hilton head, Port Royal harbor, Nov. 8, 1861.
The Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington:
sir: I have the honor to inform you that yesterday I attacked the batteries of the enemy on Bay Point and Hilton Head and Forts Walker and Beauregard, and succeeded in silencing them after an engagement of four hours duration, and driving away the squadron of rebel steamers, under Commander Tatnall.

The reconnoissance of yesterday made all satisfied with the superiority of Fort Walker, and to that I directed my especial efforts, engaging it at a distance of eight hundred, and afterward of six hundred yards. But the plan of attack brought the squadron sufficiently near Fort Beauregard to receive its fire, and the ships were frequently fighting the batteries on both sides at the same time.

The action was begun on my part at twenty-six minutes after nine, and at half-past 2 the American ensign was hoisted on the flag-staff of Fort Walker, and this morning at sunrise on that of Fort Beauregard. The defeat of the enemy terminated in utter rout and confusion. Their quarters and encampments were abandoned without an attempt to carry away either public or private property.

The ground over which they fled was strewn with the arms of private soldiers, and the officers retired in too much haste to submit to the incumbrance of their swords. Landing my marines, and a company of seamen, I took possession of the deserted ground, and held the forts on Hilton Head till the arrival of Gen. Sherman, to whom I had the honor to transfer their command.

We have captured forty-three pieces of cannon, most of them of the heaviest calibre and of the most improved design. The bearer of these despatches will have the honor to carry with him the captured flags and two small brass fieldpieces, lately belonging to the State of South Carolina, which are sent home as suitable trophies of the success of the day.

I enclose herewith a copy of the general order which is to be read in the fleet to-morrow morning at muster.

A detailed account of this battle will be submitted hereafter.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. F. Dupont, Flag-officer Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
P. S.--The bearer of despatches will also carry with him the first American ensign raised upon the soil of South Carolina, since the rebellion broke out.

S. F. D.

flag-ship Wabash, Hilton head, Port Royal Bay, Nov. 8, 1861.
General order, No. 2.--It is the grateful duty of the Commander-in-Chief to make a public acknowledgment of his entire commendation of the coolness, discipline, skill, and gallantry displayed by the officers and men under his command in the capture of the batteries at Hilton's Head and Bay Point, after an action of four hours duration.

The Flag-officer fully sympathizes with the officers and men of his squadron in the satisfaction they must feel at seeing the ensign of the United States flying once more in the State of South Carolina, which has been the chief promoter of the wicked and unprovoked rebellion they have been called upon to suppress.

S. F. Dupont, Flag-officer Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

flag-ship Wabash, off Hilton head, Port Royal, Nov. 8, 1861.
Hon. Gideon Welles:
sir: I have the honor to report the following casualties in the action of yesterday in the capture of the batteries at Hilton Head and Bay Point:

Wabash--Killed one; Thomas Jackson, cockswain, captain of a gun. Slightly wounded, two--Alfred Hernsby, seaman, and William Wall, seaman.

Susquehanna--Killed, two--John P. Clark, orderly sergeant, and Wm. Price, second coal-heaver. Wounded seriously, one--Samuel F. [108] Smart first class boy. Wounded slightly, two-Patrick Dwyer and Samuel Holbrook, second grade.

Pawnee--Killed, two-John Kelly, Orderly Sergeant, and Wm. H. Fitzhugh, first class boy. Wounded slightly, three--Alfred Washburne, Master's Mate; Jacob House, ordinary seaman, and Patrick Quinn, ordinary seaman.

Mohican--Killed, one--John A. Whittemore, Third Assistant Engineer. Wounded seriously, three--W. Thompson, Isaac Seyburn, Acting Master, and Sherman Bascom, ordinary seaman. Wounded slightly, four--Mayland Cuthbert, Third Assistant Engineer; John O. Pittman, Master's Mate; John W. Townsend, ordinary seaman, and Charles Browne, ordinary seaman.

Bienville--Killed, two--Patrick McGuigan and Alexander Chambers. Wounded slightly, three--Peter Murphy, Alexander Ferey, and Wm. Gilchrist.

Seminole--A few slightly wounded. The number not reported.

total — Killed, 8; wounded severely, 6; wounded slightly, 17.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. F. Dupont, Flag-officer Commanding United States Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

flag-ship Wabash, off Hilton head, Port Royal, Nov. 9, 1861.
Hon. Gideon Welles:
sir: Since writing my official despatches, I have sent gunboats to take possession of Beaufort and to protect the inhabitants; but I regret to say they have fled and the town is abandoned to the negroes, who are reported to me as in a lawless condition. The light vessels which I hoped to have made use of, were destroyed on the desertion of the forts by the rebels. The post-offices were visited, and a number of documents, letters, &c., obtained. I have covered Scull Creek, the mouth of Broad River, and have cut off this communication between Charleston and Savannah.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. F. Dupont, Flag-officer Commanding United States Atlantic Squadron.

Letter of the Secretary of war.

Navy Department, Washington, Nov. 16.
sir: It is with no ordinary emotion that I tender to you and your command, the heartfelt congratulations and thanks of the Government and the country, for the brilliant success achieved at Port Royal.

In the war now waging against the Government in this most causeless and unnatural rebellion that ever afflicted a country, high hopes have been indulged in the navy, and great confidence reposed in its efforts.

The result of the skill and bravery of yourself and others, has equalled and surpassed our highest expectations. To you and your associates, under the providence of God, we are indebted for this great achievement by the largest squadron, ever fitted out under that flag, which you have so gallantly vindicated, and which you will bear onward to continued success.

On the receipt of your despatches, announcing the victory at Port Royal, the Department issued the enclosed general order, which with this letter you will cause to be read to your command. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Gideon Welles. Flag-officer Samuel F. Dupont, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Port Royal, S. C.

General order.

The Department announces to the navy and to the country its high gratification at the brilliant success of the combined navy and army forces, respectively commanded by Flag-officer S. F. Dupont, and Brigadier-General T. W. Sherman, in the capture of Forts Walker and Beauregard, commanding the entrance to Port Royal harbor, South Carolina. To commemorate this signal victory, it is ordered that a national salute be fired from each navy-yard, at meridian, on the day after the reception of this order.

Report of Major Reynolds.

U. S. Ship Sabine, at sea, November 8, 1861.
sir: I have the honor to report that the marine battalion under my command, left Hampton Roads on the transport steamboat Governor, on the morning of Tuesday, the 29th of October, with the other vessels of the fleet, and continued with them, near the flag-ship Wabash, until Friday, the 1st November.

On Friday morning, about ten o'clock, the wind began to freshen, and by twelve or one blew so violently we were obliged to keep her head directly to the wind, and thereby leave the squadron, which apparently stood its course. Throughout the afternoon the gale continued to increase, though the Governor stood it well until about four o'clock. About this time we were struck by two or three very heavy seas, which broke the port hog-brace in two places, the brace tending in-board.

This was immediately followed by the breaking of the hog-brace on the starboard side. By great exertions on the part of the officers and men of the battalion, these braces were so well stayed and supported, that no immediate danger was apprehended from them. Up to this time the engine worked well. Soon after the brace-chains, which supported the smoke-stack, departed, and it went overboard. Some three feet of it, above the hurricane deck, remained, which enabled us to keep up the fires.

Soon after the loss of the smoke-stack, the steam-pipe burst. After this occurrence we were unable to make more than fourteen pounds of steam, which was reduced, as soon as the engine commenced working, to from three to five pounds. The consequence was, we had to stop the engine frequently in order to increase the head of steam. At this period the steamer was making water freely, but was [109] easily kept clear by the pumps of the engine, whenever it could be worked. About five o'clock we discovered a steamer, with a ship in tow, which we supposed to be the Ocean Queen. To attract attention we sent up rockets, which signal she answered. When our rockets (six in all) were gone, we kept up a fire of musketry for a long time, but the sea running high, and the wind being violent, she could render us no assistance. She continued on her course in sight, the greater part of the night. About three o'clock Saturday morning the packing around the cylinder head blew out, rendering the engine perfectly useless for some time. The engine was finally put in running order, although it worked very slowly. The rudder chain was carried away during the night. The water gained constantly on us, and the boat labored violently.

At every lurch we apprehended the hog-brace would be carried away, the effect of which would have been to tear out the entire starboard side of the boat, collapse the boiler, and carry away the wheel-house. Early in the morning the rudder-head broke, the engine was of very little use, the water still gaining on us rapidly, and we entirely at the mercy of the wind.

It was only by the untiring exertions of our men that we were kept afloat. Nearly one hundred of them were kept constantly pumping and baling, and the rest were holding fast the ropes which supported the hog-braces.

Toward morning the weather, which during the night had been dark and rainy, seemed to brighten, and the wind to lull. At daybreak two vessels were seen on our starboard bow, one of which proved to be the United States steamer, Isaac P. Smith, commanded by Lieutenant W. A. Nicholson, of the navy. She descried our signal of distress, which was ensign half-mast, union down, and stood for us. About ten o'clock we were hailed by the Smith, and given to understand that, if possible, we should all be taken on board. A boat was lowered from her, and we were enabled to take a hawser. This, through the carelessness of Capt. Litchfield of the Governor, was soon cast off or unavoidably let go. The water was still gaining on us, the engines could be worked but little, and it appeared that our only hope of safety was gone. The Smith now stood off, but soon returned, and by one o'clock we had another hawser from her, and were again in tow. A sail, (the propeller bark Young Rover,) which had been discovered on our starboard bow during the morning, was soon within hailing distance. The captain proffered all the assistance he could give, though at the time he could do nothing, owing to the severity of the weather. The hawser from the Smith again parted, and we were once more adrift. The Young Rover now stood for us again, and the captain said he would stand by us till the last, for which encouragement he received a heartfelt cheer from the men. He also informed us a large frigate was ahead, standing for us. He then stood for the frigate, made signals of distress, and returned. The frigate soon came into view, and hope once more cheered the hearts of all aboard the transport. Between two and three o'clock the United States frigate Sabine (Capt. Ringgold) was within hail, and the assurance given that all hands would be taken on board. After a little delay the Sabine came to anchor. We followed her example, and a hawser was passed to us. It was now late in the day, and there were no signs of an abatement of the gale. It was evident that whatever was to be done for our safety, must be done without delay. About eight or nine o'clock the Sabine had paid out enough chain to bring her stern close to our bow. Spars were rigged out over the stern of the frigate, and every arrangement made for whipping our men on board, and some thirty men were rescued by this means. Three or four hawsers and an iron stream cable were parted by the plunging of the vessels. The Governor at this time had about three feet of water, which was rapidly increasing. It was now evidently intended by the commanding officer of the Sabine to get the Governor alongside and let our men jump from the boat to the frigate. In our condition this appeared extremely hazardous. It seemed impossible for us to strike the frigate without instantly going to pieces. We, however, were brought alongside, and some forty men succeeded in getting on board the frigate. One was crushed to death between the frigate and the steamer in attempting to gain a foot-hold on the frigate. The port bow of the Governor struck the starboard quarter of the frigate, and carried away about twenty feet of the hurricane deck from the stem to the wheel-house. The sea was running so high, and we being tossed so violently, it was deemed prudent to slack up the hawser and let the Governor fall astern of the frigate, with the faint hope of weathering the gale till morning. All our provisions and other stores, indeed every movable article, were thrown overboard, and the water-casks started to lighten the vessel. From half-past 3 until daybreak the Governor floated in comparative safety, notwithstanding the water was rapidly gaining on her. At daybreak preparations were made for sending boats to our relief, although the sea was running high; and, it being exceedingly dangerous for a boat to approach the guards of the steamer in consequence, the boats lay off and the men were obliged to jump into the sea, and then be hauled into the boats. All hands were thus providentially rescued from the wreck, with the exception, I am pained to say, of one corporal and six privates, who were drowned or killed by the crush or contact of the vessels. Those drowned were lost through their disobedience of orders in leaving the ranks or abandoning their posts.

After the troops were safely reembarked, every exertion was directed to securing the arms, accoutrements, ammunition, and other [110] property which might have been saved after lightening the wreck, and I am gratified in being able to say, nearly all the arms were saved, and about half the accoutrements.

The knapsacks, haversacks, and canteens were nearly all lost. About ten thousand rounds of cartridges were fortunately saved, and nine thousand lost.

Since being on board of this ship, every attention has been bestowed by Capt. Ringgold and his officers, toward recruiting the strength of our men and restoring them to such a condition as will enable us to take the field at the earliest possible moment.

Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the officers and men under my command — all did nobly. The firmness with which they performed their duty is beyond all praise. For forty-eight hours they stood at the ropes and passed water to keep the ship afloat. Refreshments in both eating and drinking were passed to them at their posts by non-commissioned officers. It is impossible for troops to have conducted themselves better under such trying circumstances. The transport continued to float some three hours after she was abandoned, carrying with her when she sunk, I am grieved to say, company books and staff returns.

In order to complete the personnel of the battalion, I have requested Captain Ringgold to meet a requisition for seven privates, to which he has readily assented.

I considered this requisition in order, as I have been informed by Captain Ringgold, it is his intention, or orders were given for his ship to repair to a northern port, in which event he can easily be supplied, and my command, by the accommodation, rendered complete in order to meet any demand you may make for our services. Under God, we owe our preservation to Captain Ringgold and the officers of the Sabine, to whom we tender our heartfelt thanks for their untiring labors while we were in danger, and their unceasing kindness since we have been on board the frigate.

This report is respectfully submitted.

I am, Commodore, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Jno. Geo. Reynolds, Commanding Battalion Marines. Flag-officer Samuel F. Dupont, Commanding U. S. Naval Expedition, southern coast U. S. North America.

Report of Capt. Gilmore.

The following is Capt. Gilmore's report of the first reconnaissance of Hilton Head:
Official Document.--First Reconnoissance of Hilton Head Island, S. C., made on Friday, Nov. 7, 1861, by Capt. Q. A. Gilmore, Chief Engineer E. C., escorted by the Seventh Connecticut Regiment, Col. Terry.

office of Chief Engineer, E. C., Hilton head, S. C., Nov. 8.
Brig.-Gen. Wright, Commanding Forces on Hilton Head, S. C.:
sir: In obedience to your directions of this date, to proceed on a reconnoissance of Hilton Head Island, or so much thereof as I could examine, returning to Headquarters on the same day, I have to report a completion of the day's operations under the escort promised to me, to wit, the Seventh Connecticut regiment, nine hundred strong, Col. Terry commanding.

The regiment was placed at my disposal at eleven o'clock A. M., when I at once set out upon the reconnoissance, the principal object of which was to proceed across the island to Seabrook, on Shale Creek, a distance of six miles by the nearest practicable route, and locate suitable positions for batteries, to control the inland water communications by way of Skull Creek, between Savannah and Charleston.

As no advance had been made from our position on Hilton Head since we came in possession yesterday evening, and as nothing certain was known of the position and movements of the enemy since he was driven from the work, I deemed it proper to exercise great caution against surprise, and accordingly requested Col. Terry to cover the advance of the main body of escort by skirmishers. Over a very considerable portion of the route we took to Seabrook Point, the one running through the woods beyond Gen. Drayton's plantations, as distinguished from the one near the shore, skirmishers could not be deployed, as both sides of the road are lined by an impenetrable jungle. Our progress was necessarily quite slow. We reached Seabrook Landing about two o'clock P. M., without encountering any of the enemy or any white person whatever. From what I can gather from negroes, there are no rebel troops on any of the northern portions of Hilton Head Island.

About three hundred of them, with some wounded, passed over the road last night, about the time we were disembarking. They were under the influence of a terrible panic — knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, cartridge-boxes, &c., &c., were found scattered over the road, and on the wharf at Seabrook, where the hasty embarkation took place. We also found at the landing a number of rifled muskets and bayonets. There is, near the wharf, some in store and some outside, a considerable quantity, say fifteen or eighteen large wagon-loads of valuable commissary supplies, such as bacon, hard bread, sugar, rice, corn, vinegar, &c. We brought back two wagon loads of these articles, which Colonel Terry will account for. Had my orders admitted of it, I would have remained at Seabrook with half the escort, until boats could have been despatched from Headquarters under convoy, to bring off the commissary stores. At Seabrook, an excellent position for a battery, elevated some twelve or fifteen feet above the level of the river, to sweep and control the Skull Creek channel, has been selected. The river at that point is about one-fourth of a mile inside, and is skirted on the further side by a marsh which enlarges the distance between the firm ground on the opposite shore to half a mile, or a little more. [111]

I caused soundings to be taken across the stream at half tide, finding two fathoms at the end of Seabrook wharf; three fathoms a short distance out, and a good five-fathom anchorage in the middle of the stream.

A battery of five or six heavy guns at Seabrook would be quite sufficient to close this inland water passage between Charleston and Savannah; but to secure it against a coup de main, I would recommend an enclosed work of strong relief, and of sufficient capacity for one thousand men, with guns on the gorge, and with suitable flanking arrangements, should be commenced immediately. It should mount fifteen guns at least, of all calibres. The route over which I passed is practicable for heavy artillery and heavy transportation generally, but materials can best be taken to Seabrook by water. The wharf there requires some repairs.

On my return I increased the guard at General Drayton's plantation, at the request of the officer in charge there. I found no public property or papers at General Drayton's, with the exception of two letters, already in your possession.

There is no post-office at Seabrook. I have to acknowledge the cordial and efficient cooperation of Colonel Terry in carrying out the objects of the reconnaissance.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

General Sherman's proclamation to the people of South Carolina.

After landing and taking possession of the forts, General Sherman issued the following proclamation:

To the People of South Carolina:
In obedience to the orders of the President of these United States of America, I have landed on your shores with a small force of National troops. The dictates of a duty which under the Constitution I owe to a great sovereign State, and to a proud and hospitable people among whom I have passed some of the pleasantest days of my life, prompt me to proclaim that we have come among you with no feelings of personal animosity; no desire to harm your citizens, destroy your property, or interfere with any of your lawful laws, rights, or your social and local institutions, beyond what the causes herein briefly alluded to, may render unavoidable.

Citizens of South Carolina: The civilized world stands appalled at the course you are pursuing!--appalled at the crime you are committing against your own mother; the best, the most enlightened, and heretofore the most prosperous of nations. You are in a state of active rebellion against the laws of your country. You have lawlessly seized upon the forts, arsenals, and other property belonging to our common country, and within your borders, with this property, you are in arms and waging a ruthless war against your constitutional Government, and thus threatening the existence of a Government which you are bound, by the terms of the solemn compact, to live under and faithfully support. In doing this, you are not only undermining and preparing the way for totally ignoring your own political and social existence, but you are threatening the civilized world with the odious sentiment that self-government is impossible with civilized men.

Fellow-citizens: I implore you to pause and reflect upon the tenor and consequences of your acts. If the awful sacrifices made by the devastation of our property, the shedding of fraternal blood in battle, the mourning and wailing of widows and orphans throughout our land, are insufficient to deter you from further pursuing this unholy war, then ponder, I beseech you, upon the ultimate, but not less certain result, which its further progress must necessarily and naturally entail upon your once happy and prosperous State. Indeed, can you pursue this fratricidal war, and continue to imbrue your hands in the loyal blood of your countrymen, your friends, your kinsmen, for no other object than to unlawfully disrupt the confederacy of a great people, a confederacy established by your own hands, in order to set up, were it possible, an independent government, under which you can never live in peace, prosperity, or quietness?

Carolinians: We have come among you as loyal men, fully impressed with our constitutional obligations to the citizens of your State; those obligations shall be performed as far as in our power — but be not deceived; the obligation of suppressing armed combinations against the constitutional authorities is paramount to all others. If, in the performance of this duty, other minor but important obligations should be in any way neglected, it must be attributed to the necessities of the case, because rights dependent on the laws of the State must be necessarily subordinate to military exigencies, created by insurrection and rebellion.

T. W. Sherman, Brig.-Gon. Commanding. Headquarters, Port Royal, S. C., Nov. 8, 1861.

Accounts by officers engaged in the battle.

The following is a portion of a private letter from Flag-officer Dupont to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy:

Wabash, Port Royal, Nov. 9, 1861.
my dear Mr. Fox: During the disheartening events of our passage, my faith never gave way, but at some moments it seemed appalling. On the other hand, I permitted no elation at our success, yet I cannot refrain from telling you that it has been more complete and brilliant than I ever could have believed. I have been too fatigued to send a detailed official account of the battle.

My report is full up to the eve of it, and I [112] think will interest you-but I had to content myself with a succinct account, which I think will be liked as well as a more detailed narrative. This I will, however, forward in time for the Secretary's report. I kept under way, and made three turns, though I passed five times between the forts. I had a flanking division of five ships to watch, and old Tatnall too, who had eight small and swift steamers ready to pounce upon any of ours, should they be disabled. I could get none of my big frigates up. I thought the Sabine would have gotten clear up to the St. Lawrence.

I sent no word, however, and the Savannah was blown off. I do not regret it now, except on their account. I believe my plan was clever. I stood against the tide, and had the management the better in consequence. Their confidence was extreme that they could drive us away. They fought bravely, and their rifle guns never missed. An eighty-pounder rifle ball went through our mainmast in the very centre, making an awful hole.

They aimed at our bridge, where they knew they could make a hole if they were lucky. A shot in the centre let water into the after magazine, but I saved a hundred lives by keeping under way and bearing in close. We found their sights graduated at six hundred yards. When they once broke, the stampede was intense, and not a gun was spiked. In truth, I never conceived of such a fire as that of this ship on her second turn, and I am told that its effect upon the spectators outside of her was intense.

I learn that when they saw our flag on shore the troops were powerless to cheer, but wept. Gen. Sherman was deeply affected, and the soldiers are loud and unstinting in their expressions of admiration and gratitude. The works are most scientifically constructed, and there is nothing like Fort Walker on the Potomac. I did not allow the victory to check our ardor, but despatched some vessels under Capt. Gillis over the other side. To-day I have an expedition to Beaufort to save the light vessels, but they were fired instantly after the surrender. Beaufort is deserted.

The negroes are wild with joy and revenge. They have been shot down, they say, like dogs, because they would not go off with their masters. I have already a boat at Skull Creek, and the communication between Savannah and Charleston is cut off.

Capt. Rogers' letter.

U. S. Steamer Bienville, Port Royal harbor, off Fort Walker, Saturday, Nov. 9, 1861.
We took this fort, mounting twenty-one guns, after a four-hours' fight. It was nobly done. The Wabash, which led, was carried along the shore by the soundings as close as possible. The soundings were given regularly, as upon an ordinary occasion; signals were made continually without a single mistake, while the rain of fire from this ship (the Wabash) fell upon the fort with all the cool precision of target-practice.

During the action I looked carefully at the fort with a powerful spy-glass. Shell fell in it, not twenty-eight in a minute, but as fast as a horse's feet beat the ground in a gallop. The resistance was heroic — but what could flesh and blood do against such a fire? I watched two men particularly, in red shirts; I saw them seated at the muzzle of a gun, apparently waiting, exhausted, for more ammunition. They were so still that I doubted whether they were men. This terrible fire fell around them — I saw them move, and I knew they were men. They loaded the gun — a shell burst near them, and they disappeared — doubtless blown into atoms.

The Wabash was a destroying angel — hugging the shore; calling the soundings with cold indifference; slowing the engine, so as only to give steerage-way; signalling to the vessels their various evolutions; and at the same time raining shells, as with target-practice, too fast to count.

Commodore Dupont had kindly made me his aid. I stood by him, and I did little things which I suppose gained me credit. So when a boat was sent on shore to ask whether they had surrendered, I was sent. I carried the Stars and Stripes. I found the ramparts utterly desolate, and I planted the American flag upon those ramparts with my own hands--first to take possession, in the majesty of the United States, of the rebel soil of South Carolina.

The Confederate forces were in an utter panic; they deserted every thing. Arms, tents, personal property were abandoned, and by men intent only upon safety, and spurred by over-whelming fear. I was for an hour with only a boat's crew in the camp. I found a sword, mounted in solid silver, hilt and scabbard, which proved to be a blade with two golden lines of Arabic writing, doubtless a Damascus blade, and an heir-loom. I presented it to Commodore Dupont, as his right, for he had taken it. In the same tent I found a soldier's new scarf, still in its box of pasteboard. This I beg you to accept. In Fort Beauregard I found another scarf; this is for----. It is a trophy, and, as such, worth as much as yours, though it is neither so large nor so new. I found trunks enough to furnish a shop, most of them twenty-five dollar trunks, locked, and I collected them for the wounded or the prisoners, of whom I took only five; all the rest had gone. I captured a negro, but having given him permission to deck himself in new clothes, I lost him. He stayed too long for me to wait.

Gen. Sherman said that he had no idea of such magnificent fighting, for the guns were eleven, ten, nine, and eight-inch guns, not horse artillery. The Wabash was awfully sublime in her destroying energy, and yet most coolly precise and magnificently fearless.

The panic was wild, abject terror on the part [113] of the “Southrons.” Not a soldier had been landed, because it had not been possible for them to get on shore, except at the batteries, and of course not until the batteries were taken. Yet men strewed the road for miles with muskets, blankets, and knapsacks. One company, of about sixty horsemen, abandoned their horses and fled for life, while no one pursued. So say the contrabands. I do not think the importance of our acquisition can be exaggerated. The channel is fair for any wind with southing in it, the only dangerous ones. It admits the largest class of vessels; it is easily defended; it is in the heart of South Carolina; it is twenty miles from Savannah, and thirty from Charleston; it has room enough for the navies of the world; it is a Fortress Monroe in South Carolina. Negroes are pouring in; they believe their condition is to be bettered. The white men have all fled. Vessels go up to Beaufort to-day.

This will be carried by Capt. Steedman, of the Bienville, who followed the Wabash into the thickest fight, and behaved very gallantly.

Beaufort has been taken by the gunboats, the town having been abandoned by the whites. The negroes were pillaging the town. They said the whites were shooting them right and left, in order to drive them back into the interior. A boat which came off to the Seneca said one man, giving his name, shot six of the negroes.

Letter from General Viele.

The following letter was received by the Secretary of the Union Defence Committee in the city of New York:

Beaufort harbor, S. C., November 9.
dear sir: The first result of the expedition to the Atlantic coast is the occupation of this harbor, the capture of Forts Walker and Beauregard--the former mounting twenty-three and the latter sixteen guns, all of the heaviest calibre and most approved pattern for sea-coast defence — some of them rifled, and several of English manufacture, lately imported.

The rebel forces were commanded by General Drayton and Colonels Heywood and Dunovant, (the latter was killed,) and consisted of the Ninth and Twelfth South Carolina regiments, composed of the “German artillery,” the “Beaufort Rangers,” “Whippe swamp Guards,” the “Carlton Guards,” and “Beaufort guerillas.”

After four hours bombardment the rebels fled precipitately, leaving many of the sick, wounded, and killed, their entire camp equipage, ammunition, provisions, and personal effects. They escaped by means of small steamers plying in the creeks between the islands and mainland.

The Stars and Stripes are again planted in South Carolina, never to be removed.

When it is considered that the fleet was dispersed in the terrific gale of the 1st and 2d, and a number of vessels lost, their coming together and achieving the above result on the 7th, is a subject of congratulation. And I hope and trust that it is an indication of the future progress of the national arms.

Very truly, yours,

Letter from the “Pocahontas.”

The subjoined private letter was addressed to his father in Washington, by a non-commissioned officer on board the United States steamer “Pocahontas,” commanded by the gallant Captain Drayton, in the action:

U. S. Steamer Pocahontas, Port Royal, S. C., Nov. 8, 1861.
We were to have left Hampton Roads on the 25th October, but did not make a start until the 29th. The fleet consisted of eighteen men-of-war and thirty-eight transports, carrying twelve thousand troops, as near as I could find out. The day after we sailed we had a pretty stiff gale, which lasted about two days. The fourth day out was a very fine one; but about twelve M. on the 1st the wind began to increase, and at sundown it blew a perfect hurricane in strength — a regular snorting south-wester — and lasted four days, the severest I have ever experienced. It blew us out into the Gulf Stream, and we had to be very saving with our coal, as we carried but a sufficiency to last us twelve days.

We reached the coast off the mouth of Savannah River yesterday morning, and made a sail in the offing with a Confederate steamer in chase of her, but as soon as she saw that we were a “mudsill,” she turned and made tracks for the river again. The sail proved to be a schooner loaded with coal, and had been parted from the fleet during the blow. We immediately took her in tow, and commenced coaling from her by means of our boats. I was on board of the schooner in charge of the coaling party, when, about nine o'clock, we heard some heavy firing to the north of us. We dropped the schooner in double quick, ran up to see the fun, and were just in time.

As the entrance to this place is very difficult, we had to go very slow and feel our way. We did not get a chance for a shot until near noon, but in the mean time we put every thing ready for action — rigging stoppered, decks sanded down, fires put out, and pumps rigged, in fact every thing that could be thought of, “to give them Hatteras.”

In the mean time Capt. Dupont was pitching into two batteries--one on the right and one on the left bank of the river — with the Wabash, Susquehanna, Seminole, Pawnee, Mohican, and several of the gunboats. But when the old “Pocahontas” arrived, the others had to stand back and give us a chance with our big ten-inch. I could not help admiring the conduct of the Confederates, for though they had stood it for more than two hours before we arrived, they stood it for more than two afterward. [114]

Our captain is a hero; he is one of the most quiet and active men I ever saw.

The battery on our left was a very strong one, mounting about thirty guns, three of them rifled; besides, they had a fortified camp. Their first shot took out a large piece from our main-mast, hurting it so badly that we shall have to get a new one; and the rest of their shot cut some of our rigging; but that can be soon repaired. Our first shells fell right in their camp, and the slaughter must have been dreadful. A shot from our ten-inch put a hole in their “stars and bars;” another took down the flag-staff; but the “Confeds” ran another up pretty quickly; but it was a doomed piece of bunting. The “Forbes” fired with her rifled gun, and the ball, catching the flag, wound it around and carried it off into the woods. About half-past 4 we saw the secessionists moving off in “treble-double quick.” During this engagement we had a very exposed position.

Our captain went on board of the flag-ship last night, and was immediately recognized by two contrabands, the property of his brother, who built and commanded the fort which has just fallen into our hands; and he (our captain) is the only Union man of his family; but I can assure you that he is a family of himself, and of course he makes up the loss.

After raising our flag upon the fort to the left hand, we stood over and commenced upon the one on our right, but the Commodore signalled “cease firing,” so of course we had to range up alongside, when the following conversation took place between our captain and the Commodore: “I am very glad to see you, Captain Drayton. I knew that you would be here in good time. You have had a hard time of it, I suppose?” “Yes, sir; pretty hard.” The Commodore then said that our ship “got there at the right time, took the best and most exposed position, fired the best shots of any vessel in the fleet, and, in fact, fired the best shots he had ever seen.” This, I think, was very complimentary.

During the night the rebels deserted the battery on our right, and consequently left us in complete possession. About half-past 5 o'clock the American flag was raised on the battery. At half-past 7 the troop-steamers came in. They cheered us, and we cheered them, and so on, for about one hour. The Susquehanna's band struck up the “Star-Spangled banner,” and followed it with “Dixie's land;” and I can assure you that the Star-Spangled banner never sounded as beautifully to me as it did last night.

After seeing that the Stars and Stripes were floating over the enemy's fort, we proceeded up the river about ten miles on a scouting expedition.

The rebels did not even carry away their watches and letters. Among the letters was one from Josiah Tatnall, apprising them of the departure of our fleet, the number of the vessels, and even the names of them. It was founded on information received from the Potomac River, and telling them to look out for our fleet at this place.

The following is an extract from a letter in the hands of one of the Wabash's men, and was read by me:

Port Royal, November 3, 1861.
dear brother: I wrote to mother and sister week before last, saying that I hoped to be with them at home soon, but day before yester-day Colonel Mayfield received orders to fortify this place, as Lincoln's fleet of fifty-two vessels had sailed for this port, and would be here soon. * * * We can give shell two to one, and hot and cold shot in quantities to suit. We are all ready for them, and will give a good account of ourselves to the Yankees. I will write to you next week, and give you an account of the fight, the number of prisoners, and the list of vessels destroyed.

Truly yours,

Harry. To------, Charleston, S. C.

I must close by asking God's blessing and protection for us all, and return devout thanks to them for bringing this fight to an end with so little bloodshed. Your affectionate son,

Letter from the “Unadilla.”

The following is an extract from a private letter of an officer of the gunboat Unadilla:

off Hilton head, Port Royal, S. C., U. S. Gunboat Unadilla, Nov. 9, 1861.
<*> On leaving Fortress Monroe our after engine broke down, breaking one of the valve seats, the partition between the steam and the exhaust. We were then taken in tow by the R. B. Forbes, assisting with our one engine after disconnecting. On our way down we encountered a heavy gale and with the Forbes giving out of coal, we had to turn the tables and tow her.

The day before we came in here, through the ingenuity and skill of our highly experienced chief engineer, Mr. Marsland, who repaired the breach with a wooden partition, something, I suppose, never before heard of in engineering, we got both engines working and came in port flying.

Too much praise cannot be given to Mr. Marsland. It was a great piece of work, and if it had not been for him we would not have been able to participate in the glorious battle that has resulted in a splendid naval victory. To make a long story short, he is perfect master of his profession in my opinion, second to none, and so considered by all on board the Unadilla.

On the morning of the 7th November at nine o'clock the signal was made from the flag-ship to get under way, a signal we had been watching anxiously for some time. I never saw an anchor come up livelier in my life. We then started up the bay in the following order: Wabash, Susquehanna, Seminole, Mohican, Pawnee, Unadilla, Ottawa, Seneca, Pembina, [115] Augusta, Bienville, Curlew, Penguin, Pocahontas, Isaac Smith, and R. B. Forbes. The two batteries are called Forts Beauregard and Walker. The former on the right, on Bay Point, the other on the left, on Hilton Head. The former mounting eighteen guns, and the other twenty-two, and big ones, too--ten-inch columbiads and eighty pounders, rifled.

We commenced on Fort Beauregard and so round to Fort Walker, keeping under weigh and going round, first one fort and then the other. The ball opened at ten o'clock, and a warm ball it was. It lasted four and three-quarter hours, and I may safely say that four hours of it was a hard-fought battle. One vessel was struck seven times, but, thank God, no one hurt.

One shot knocked the mainboom to flinders, just grazing the men's heads at the wheel, and showering the splinters all over the quarterdeck. One struck the vessel right abreast of my gun, eighteen inches below water, causing her to leak. Another cut away the main-stay, and so on. The officers say that it was the cause of getting the ship peppered so, for I gave it to them so sharp with “Old rail Splitter,” that they paid particular attention to us when they got a chance. At one time there was one continual buzz over my head of shot and shell going through the air. I think I can hear them now.

They fought well while they did fight, giving it to us on both sides at once. But it appeared to me as if every one in the fleet thought that the country depended upon him, and we piled it into them awfully. At half-past 2 o'clock they ceased firing, the Unadilla claiming the honor of firing the last shot at them.

At three, a boat from the Wabash, under Captain Rogers, landed and planted our glorious Stars and Stripes on the soil of the State that was the first to knock it down. As soon as it was raised I suppose you can imagine what followed. The air was rent with cheers — cheer after cheer — actually deafening.

Our insulted flag was vindicated. This is a great victory. I don't think you will be troubled any more with any thing about Bull Run, for it was not a circumstance to the stampede that took place here. I almost think they are running yet. They left every thing — clothes, muskets, revolvers, swords, all their camp equipage, fowling pieces; never even spiked their guns. Some were loaded, but they could not even stop long enough to fire them. To-day, the large town of Beaufort, fifteen miles from here, is entirely deserted — not a white man in it, and very few blacks.

Oh! what a glorious victory, and exclusively naval. The army had nothing to do with it. They lay off in the transports, a long distance, until after we had taken the place, and the “Gridiron,” that emblem that every true American should be proud of, was flying over it. “Consequently, no General Butler about this, like Hatteras.” The men at my gun fought like Trojans, and the shot and shell flew about them like hail. We expected to be ordered home to repair our engine, but the Commodore says he wants us to do a little more fighting first. So we say we will go it with a stick of wood engine, as Marsland calls it.

We are ready for another brush. I tell you what it is, these 11-inch pills don't agree very well with their digestive organs. I consider this victory the forerunner of the death of secession. In other words, the country saved-our dear, beloved country.

I cannot say where we are bound to next. I cannot see any more fighting to be done here, as the whole district is whipped. Our boys are already spoiling for another fight. My opinion is the enemy is panic-stricken, and will be mighty careful how they tackle the navy again.

Charleston Mercury's account.

The battle of Port Royal will be remembered as one of the best fought and best conducted battles which have signalized the war in which we are engaged. If Gen. Ripley had been appointed a general in command two months sooner, every thing would have been in a better state of preparation. But these two previous months were wasted in doing nothing for our defence. Within the time left to him, Gen. Ripley did all that untiring energy and skill could accomplish, to put our coast in a state of preparation. The two islands of Hilton Head and Bay Point, with their extreme limits, constitute the two points which guard the entrance to Port Royal Sound, about three miles in width. On these two points two forts were erected--Fort Walker on Hilton Head, and Fort Beauregard on Bay Point. The time we possessed enabled us to make them only earthworks, without any protection from shells or bombs.

The island of Hilton Head was commanded by Gen. Drayton. The officers immediately superintending the artillery and conducting the fire of Fort Walker, were Col. Wagoner, Major Arthur Huger, and Capt. Yates, of the regular service, especially detailed by Gen. Ripley to aid in directing the artillery. Col. Danovant commanded at Fort Beauregard, but he generously allowed Capt. Elliott, of the Beaufort artillery, to direct and conduct the batteries of the fort. The day was beautiful — calm and clear, with scarcely a cloud in the heavens — just such a day as our invaders would have ordained, if they could, to carry on their operations. In such a sketch of the battle as, amid the excitement and the thousands of baseless rumors, we are enabled to present to our readers, a brief review of the earlier events of this memorable week will not be uninteresting.

The great fleet of the enemy passed our bar on Sunday, the 3d inst., and on the following day was anchored off Port Royal entrance. About four o'clock on Monday afternoon, Commodore Tatnall, with his “musketo fleet,” ran out from the harbor and made the first hostile demonstration. The immense armada of the invaders, numbering at that time, thirty-six [116] vessels, was drawn up in line of battle; and as our little flotilla steamed up to within a mile of them and opened its fire, the scene was an inspiriting one, but almost ludicrous in the disparity of the size of the opposing fleets. The enemy replied to our fire almost immediately. After an exchange of some twenty shots, Commodore Tatnall retired, and was not pursued.

About seven o'clock on Tuesday morning several of the largest Yankee war steamers having come within range, the batteries of Forts Walker and Beauregard were opened, and the steamers threw a number of shells in over our works, inflicting no damage on Fort Walker, and but slightly wounding two of the garrison of Fort Beauregard. This engagement lasted, with short intervals, for nearly two hours, when the enemy drew off. The steamers made a similar but shorter reconnoissance on Wednesday evening, but without any important results. On the next day the weather was rough, and the fleet lay at anchor five or six miles from shore. During the day several straggling transports came up, swelling the number of vessels to forty-one. All Tuesday night, and all day Wednesday and Wednesday night, our men stood at their guns, momentarily expecting an attack, and obtaining only such scanty rest and refreshment as chance afforded.

Thursday dawned gloriously upon our wearied, but undaunted gunners, and all felt that the day of trial had at last arrived. Scarcely had breakfast been despatched, when the hostile fleet was observed in commotion. The great war steamers formed rapidly in single file, and within supporting distance of each other, the frigate Wabash, the flag-ship of Com. Dupont, in the van. As the long line of formidable-looking vessels, thirteen in number, most of them powerful propellers, with a few sailing men-of-war in tow, swept rapidly and majestically in, with ports open and bristling with guns of the heaviest calibre, the sight was grand and imposing. This was at half-past 8 o'clock. Until the Minnesota came within the range of, and directly opposite our batteries on Hilton Head, all was still. Suddenly the fifteen heavy guns of Fort Walker, which had been aimed directly at the huge frigate, belched forth their simultaneous fire, and the action was begun.

Almost immediately afterward, the batteries of Fort Beauregard, on the other side of the entrance, also opened their fire. The enemy at first did not reply. But as the second steamer came opposite to Fort Walker, the hulls of the first three were suddenly wrapped in smoke, and the shot and shell of three tremendous broadsides, making, in all, seventy-five guns, came crashing against our works

From this moment the bombardment was incessant and terrific; one by one the propellers bore down upon our forts, delivered their fire as they passed, until nine had gained the interior of the harbor, beyond the range of our guns. The Minnesota, still followed by the others, then turned round and steamed slowly out, giving a broadside to Fort Beauregard as she repassed. Then the battle was continued, the enemy's vessels sailing in an elliptical course, pouring one broadside into Bay Point, and then sweeping around to deliver the other against Hilton Head. This furious fire from four hundred guns, many of them the eleven-inch Dahlgren pattern, and some even thirteen-inch bore, (for a sabot of that diameter was found in Fort Beauregard,) was maintained incessantly, and the roar of the cannonade seemed continuous.

Meanwhile our garrisons were making a gallant defence. They kept up a vigorous and well-directed fire against their assailants, and, notwithstanding that their best gun was dismounted at the beginning of the action, they succeeded in setting fire to several of the ships. Whenever this happened, however, the enemy would haul off and soon extinguish the flames. The effect of our guns was, in many instances, plainly visible from the forts. Although the sides of the Minnesota are of massive strength, several of her ports were knocked into one. Nor was she the only vessel upon which this evidence of the power of our fire could be seen. Many of the other steamers were likewise badly hulled.

After some time spent in sailing round and delivering their broadsides in rotation, in the manner we have described, the enemy's steamers adopted another and more successful attack. One of them took a position inside the harbor so as to enfilade the batteries of Fort Walker, while several opened a simultaneous enfilading fire from the outside. Besides this terrific cross-fire, two of the largest steamers maintained the fire in front of the fort. Thus three furious converging streams of shot and shell were rained amongst the brave little garrison for hours. The vessels came up within a half mile of the shore, but nearly all our guns had, by this time, become dismounted, and were no longer able to reply with serious effect.

Soon after eleven o'clock, the batteries of Bay Point were silenced. The fire of Fort Walker, as far as the guns that remained were concerned, was not a whit slackened until one o'clock. By that time the dreadful condition of the fort became too apparent to be disregarded longer. The guns lay in every direction, dismantled and useless; the defences were terribly shattered; the dead and dying were to be seen on every side, and still the iron hail poured pitilessly in.

In this strait it was determined to abandon the fort. A long waste, about a mile in extent, and commanded by the enemy's guns, intervened between the garrison and the woods. Across this they were ordered to run for their lives, each man for himself, the object being to scatter them as much as possible, so as not to afford a target for the rifled guns of the fleet. The preparations for running this perilous gauntlet were soon made. Knapsacks were abandoned, but the men retained their muskets. Each of the wounded was placed in a blanket [117] and carried off by four men. The safety of the living precluded the idea of removing the dead. And thus the gallant little band quitted the scene of their glory, and scampered off, each one as best he could, toward the woods. The retreat was covered by a small detachment who remained in the fort for an hour after their comrades left. Among those who remained were Capt. Harms, with six men; Lieut. Milchers, with four men; and Lieut. Bischoff, with four men. These worked three guns until about two o'clock, when they also quitted the post.

The abandonment of Fort Beauregard was equally a necessity. The garrison were exhausted, and in momentary danger of being cut off. When Colonel Dunovant ordered a retreat, tears of mortification and indignation filled the eyes of Capt. Elliott at the sad necessity. The retreat was admirably conducted, and rendered entirely successful by the prudent energy of Capt. Hanckel, one of Gen. Ripley's aids, who had got together some twelve flats at Station Creek, by which the troops passed safely over to St. Helena Island. From there they passed to Beaufort Island, and reached the train at Pocotaligo without the loss or injury of a man. In this fort none were killed, and but five were wounded, and two of these were wounded by negligence in loading a cannon, by which hot shot was driven on the powder without the wet wad preceding it.

The rest of the story is briefly told. Late on Thursday night the garrison of Fort Walker had collected at the landing, in the hope of being able to reach Bluffton by water. Luckily, several small Confederate steamers were within hail. But here a ludicrous mistake occurred. The retreating troops imagined the little steamers to be Yankee gunboats; while the crews of the steamers were convinced that the troops were a body of disembarked Yankees. Acting upon this double delusion, a deal of mutual reconnoitring was made, and it was only after a vast variety of strategic approaches that they reached the conclusion that it was “all right.” A quick trip to Bluffton followed. Thence the regiment marched to Hardeeville, seventeen miles distant. The road along which they dragged their exhausted frames was filled with a heterogeneous throng of fugitives of all conditions, carriages, carts, and conveyances of every description that could, by any possibility, be pressed into service. The spectacle was a sad one.

Thus ended the defence of Port Royal. The mortification of the disaster is lessened by the consciousness that our troops deserved success.

What injury we did to the enemy we do not know. Our firing was, of course, less efficient than theirs. Our troops were volunteers — theirs were picked artillerists; yet, it is very remarkable how few were killed or wounded among our troops. This battle, in this respect, was very much like the battle of Fort Sumter. How so many cannon could have been dismounted and rendered useless, and yet so few of those who worked them injured, seems very marvellous. Our troops did their duty faithfully and bravely, and fought until to fight longer would have been sheer folly. Though encountering immense odds, no signs of cowardice marked their conduct. Officers and soldiers exemplified the ancient character of the State, and deserve our profound gratitude and admiration.

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