Doc. 13.-the battle of Pocotaligo, S. C.
General Brannan's reports.
Major-General O. M. Mitchel (then in command) to destroy the railroad and railroad bridges on the Charleston and Savannah line, in the vicinity of Pocotaligo and Coosahatchie. The forwarding of this report has hitherto been delayed, owing to the illness and subsequent death of Major-General Mitchel. The reports of the brigade and other commanders, together with a list of those officers and men who personally distinguished themselves, I will forward by the next mail. I have the honor to be, General, most respect-fully your obedient servant,
Headquarters expeditionary forces, United States transport Ben Deford, October 24, 1862.Colonel: In accordance with instructions received from headquarters, Department of the South, I assumed command of the following forces, ordered to destroy the railroad bridges on the “Charleston and Savannah line.” A portion of the First brigade (Brannan's) Col. J. S. Chatfield, Sixth regiment Connecticut volunteers, commanding — effective strength, two thousand; a portion of Second brigade, Brigadier-General A. H. Terry, commanding — effective strength, one thousand four hundred and ten; detachment Third regiment Rhode Island volunteers, Colonel Brown commanding — effective strength, three hundred; detachment Forty-eighth regiment New-York State volunteers, Col. Barton commanding — effective strength, three hundred; detachment of First Massachusetts cavalry, Capt. L. Richmond, commanding — effective strength, one hundred and eight; section First, United States artillery, Lieut. G. J. Henry, commanding — effective strength, forty; section Third, United States artillery, Lieut. E. Gittings, commanding — effective strength, forty; detachment N. Y. Volunteer Engineers, Lieut.-Col. Hall commanding — effective strength, two hundred and fifty. Total effective strength, four thousand four hundred and forty-eight men. With this command I left Hilton Head, S. C.. on the evening of the twenty-first of October. 1862, and proceeding up Broad River, arrived off Pocotaligo Creek, at half-past 4 o'clock A. M. with the transport Ben Deford and gunboat Paul Jones. Colonel William Barton, Forty-eighth regiment New-York State volunteers, fifty men Volunteer Engineer corps, and fifty men Third Rhode Island volunteers, in accordance with my orders, delivered early that morning, proceeded direct to the Coosahatchie River, to destroy the railroad and railroad bridges in that vicinity. The other gunboats and transports did not all arrive until about eight A. M., October twenty-second. I immediately effected a landing of my artillery and infantry at Mackay's Point, on the junction of Pocotaligo and Tullifiny Rivers. I advanced without delay in the direction of Pocotaligo bridge, sending back the transports Flora and Darlington to Port Royal Island for the cavalry. The First brigade being in advance with section from First United States artillery, followed by the Second brigade, with Col. Brown's command, the section of Third United States artillery, and three boat-howitzers, which Captain Steedman, commanding the naval forces, kindly furnished for this occasion, and a detachment of forty-five men from the Third Rhode Island volunteer artillery, under Captain Comstock, of that regiment. On advancing about five and a half miles, and debouching upon an open, rolling country, the rebels opened upon us with a field-battery from a position on the plantation known as Gaston's. I immediately caused the First brigade to deploy, and crossing my artillery to the front, drove the rebels from this position; they, however, destroyed all the small bridges in the vicinity, causing much delay in my advance. These, with the aid of the Engineer corps, were reconstructed as we advanced, and I followed up the retreat of the rebels with all haste practicable. I had advanced about one and a quarter miles further when a battery again opened on us from a position on the plantation called “Frampton.” The rebels here had every advantage of ground, being ensconced in a wood with a deep swamp in front, passable only by a narrow causeway, on which the bridge had been destroyed; while on our side of the swamp and along the entire front and flanks of the enemy (extending to the swamp) was impervious thicket, intersected by a deep water ditch, and passable only by a narrow road. Into this wood the rebels threw a most terrific fire of grape, shot, shell, canister and musket-balls,  killing and wounding great numbers of my command. Here the ammunition for the field-pieces fell short, and though the infantry acted with great courage and determination, they were twice driven out of the woods with great slaughter by the overwhelming force of the enemy, whose missiles tore through the woods like hail. I had warmly responded to this fire with the sections of First and Third United States artillery and the boat-howitzers, until finding my ammunition about to fail, and seeing any flank movement was impossible, I pressed the First brigade forward, through the thicket to the verge of the swamp, and sent a section of the First United States artillery, well supported, to the causeway on the further side of the wood, leaving the Second brigade with Colonel Brown's command, the section Third United States artillery and the boathowitzers, as a line of defence on my rear. The effect of this bold movement was immediately evident in the precipitate retreat of the rebels, who disappeared in the woods with amazing rapidity. The infantry of the First brigade immediately plunged through the swamp (parts of which were nearly up to their arm-pits) and started in pursuit. Some delay was caused by the bridge having been destroyed, impeding the passage of the artillery. This difficulty was overcome, and with my full force I pressed forward on the retreating rebels. At this point, (apprehending from the facility with which the rebels progressed heading “Pocotaligo Creek” that they would attempt to turn my left flank,) I sent an infantry regiment with a boat-howitzer to my left to strike the “Coosahatchie road.” The position which I had found proved, as I had supposed, to be one of great natural advantages to the rebels, the ground being higher on that side of the swamp, and having a firm open field for the working of their artillery, which latter they formed in a half-circle, throwing a concentrated fire on the entrance to the woods we had just passed. The rebels left in their retreat a caisson full of ammunition, which latter fortunately fitting the boat-howitzers, enabled us at a later period of the day to keep up our fire when all other ammunition had failed. Still pursuing the flying rebels, I arrived at that point where the Coosahatchie road, joining that from McKay's Landing, runs through a swamp to Pocotaligo bridge. Here the rebels opened a murderous fire upon us from batteries of siege-guns and field-pieces, on the further side of the creek. Our skirmishers, however, advanced boldly to the edge of the swamp, and from what cover they could obtain did considerable execution among the enemy. The rebels, as I anticipated, attempted a flank movement on our left, but for some reason abandoned it. The ammunition of the artillery here entirely failed, owing to the caissons not having been brought on, for want of transportation from Port Royal, and pieces had to be sent back to Mackay's Point, a distance of ten miles, to renew it. The bridge across the Pocotaligo was destroyed, and the rebels from behind their earthworks continued firing on the only approach to it through the swamps. Night was now closing fast, and seeing the utter hopelessness of attempting any thing further against the force which the enemy had concentrated at this point from Savannah and Charleston, with an army of much inferior force, unprovided with ammunition, and not having sufficient transportation to remove the wounded, who were lying writhing along the entire route, I deemed it expedient to move on Mackay's Point, which I did in successive lines of defence, burying my dead and carrying our wounded with us on such stretchers as we could manufacture from branches of trees, blankets, etc., and received no molestation from the rebels; embarked and returned to Hilton Head on the twenty-third instant. Facts tend to show that the rebels were perfectly acquainted with all our plans, as they had evidently studied our purpose with care, and had two lines of defence, “Easton and Frampton,” before falling back on Pocotaligo, where, aided by their field-works and favored by the nature of the ground and the facility of concentrating troops, they evidently purposed making a determined stand; and, indeed, the accounts gathered from prisoners leave no doubt but that the rebels had very accurate information of our movements. I greatly felt the want of cavalry, who, in consequence of the transports having grounded in Broad River, did not arrive till nearly four P. M., and who, in the early part of the day, would, perhaps, have captured some field-pieces in the open country we were then in, and would, at all events, have prevented time destruction of the bridge in the rear of the rebels. Great praise is due to the brigade and regimental commanders for their calm and determined courage during the entire day, and for the able manner in which they handled their several commands. Col. Barton, Forty-eighth regiment New-York State volunteers, as will be seen from the accompanying copy of his report, partially effected the object of this movement on the Coosahatchie, but meeting with too strong a force of the rebels, was forced to embark. I desire to call the attention of the Major-General commanding the department to the gallant and distinguished conduct of First Lieutenant Guy T. Henry, First United States artillery, commanding a section of light artillery. His pieces were served admirably throughout. He had two horses shot. The section of Third United States artillery, commanded by First Lieut. E. Giddings, Third United States artillery, was well served. He being wounded in the latter part of the day, his section was commanded by Lieut. Henry. The three boat-howitzers furnished by Captain Steedman, United States Navy, commanding the naval forces, were served well; and the officers commanding them, with the crews, as also the detachment of the Third Rhode Island volunteers, deserve great credit for their coolness, skill, and gallantry. The officers commanding these guns  are as follows: Lieutenant Lloyd Phoenix, Ensigns James Wallace, Samuel P. Adams, and Frederick Pearson. The conduct of my entire staff, Capt. Lewis J. Lambert, A. A.G.; Captain I. Coryell, A. Q.M.; Lieuts. Ira V. Germain, and George W. Bacon, Aid-de-Camp, gave me great pleasure and satisfaction. My orders were transmitted by them in the hottest of the battle with great rapidity and correctness. To Col. E. W. Serrell, New-York Volunteer Engineers, who acted as an additional aidde-camp, I am much indebted. His energy, perfect coolness and bravery, was a source of gratification to me. Orders from me were executed by him in a very satisfactory manner. Lieut. G. H. Hill, signal-officer, performed his duties with great promptness. He acted also as additional aid-de-camp, and gave me much assistance in carrying my orders during the entire day. Col. T. H. Good, Forty-seventh regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Col. Chatfield being wounded early in the day, commanded the First brigade during the latter part of the engagement, with much ability. Nothing could be more satisfactory than the promptness and skill with which the wounded were attended by Surgeon E. W. Bailey, Forty-seventh Pennsylvania volunteers, (Medical Director,) and the entire medical staff of the command. The troops of the command behaved with great gallantry, advancing against a remarkably heavy fire of musketry, canister, grape, round-shot, and shell, driving the enemy before them with much determination. I was perfectly satisfied with their conduct. It affords me much pleasure again to report the perfect cordiality existing between the two branches of the service, and I am much indebted to Capt. Charles S. Steedman, U. S.N., for his valuable aid and assistance in disembarking and reembarking the troops; also in sending launches (with howitzers) to prevent an attack on our pickets while we were embarking to return to Hilton Head. The fitting out of the expedition, as relates to its organization, supplies, transportation, and ammunition, was done entirely by the Major-General commanding the department, who at first proposed to command it. I was not assigned to the command till a few hours previous to the sailing of the expedition from Hilton Head. The reports of the brigade and other commanders, with a list of the officers and men who rendered themselves personally worthy of notice during the engagement, I will forward as soon as received. I have the honor to be, Colonel, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
To Lieutenant-Colonel W. P. Prentice, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the South, Hilton Head, South-Carolina.
To Lieutenant-Colonel W. P. Prentice, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the South, Hilton Head, South-Carolina.
J. M. Brannan, Brigadier-General Commanding.
Colonel Barton's report.
Captain: I have the honor to report my share in the recent operations against the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. In accordance with orders from General Mitchel, received on the evening of the twentieth instant, I left this port at eight o'clock A. M. on the twenty-first instant, with three hundred men of the Forty-eighth New-York volunteers, and fifty men of the Third Rhode Island artillery, (the latter under command of Capt. John H. Gould,) with three days cooked, and seven days uncooked rations, on board the armed transport Planter. On arriving at Hilton Head, I received instructions as to my number on the line of the fleet, and also directions to report to Brig.-Gen. Brannan--who commanded the expedition — on reaching Mackay Point, for further orders. Soon after daylight on the morning of the twenty-second, I reported to Gen. Brannan on board the Ben Deford, and was directed by him to proceed with my command up the Coosahatchie River, as near to the town of that name as I might deem practicable, and disembarking under cover of the gunboats, which were to accompany me, to move toward the town, and, if possible, reach the Charleston and Savannah Railroad and destroy it at that point, and the bridge on it over the Coosahatchie. I was fully instructed, however, not to hazard too much in order to accomplish the above, but if opposed by a force at all superior, to fall back under cover of the fleet. There was some delay in starting, arising from the gunboats being well to the rear, which I improved in borrowing from Commander Steedman, on board the flag-ship Paul Jones, a twelve-pound Dahlgren boat-howitzer, and fifty-two rounds of ammunition, which proved of great service to me, and for which I desire to return my thanks. I was also furnished by Gen. Brannan's order with fifty men from the New-York State Volunteer En gineers, under command of Capt. Eaton, provided with the necessary implements for cutting the railroad, etc. We were soon under way, and had proceeded some three miles up the river, when the gunboats turned around and came back, in compliance, as I am informed, with an order from the flag-ship. I, however, continued on my course in the Planter, meanwhile signaling to the flag-officer for at least one gunboat, in reply to which he kindly sent two, namely, the Patroon and the Marblehead, which followed after the lapse of a few minutes. The river at this point was very narrow and winding, but the water in most places was over twelve feet in depth at low-tide. I found no difficulty, therefore, in reaching a point two miles distant from Coosahatchie, but it now being almost dead low-tide, further progress by water was rendered impossible by the Planter running aground. Throwing a few shells in the woods, I disembarked with my infantry and engineers as expeditiously as possible, taking with me the boat-howitzer referred to above, in charge of Capt. Gould, Third Rhode Island artillery, and a detachment of twelve of his men. The swampy nature of the ground rendered landing difficult, but losing no time, I advanced toward the main road, sending a request to the officer in command  of the Patroon, the gunboat nearest me, and about a mile and a half astern, to cover the road in my rear as I advanced. I should state here that both of the gunboats were unfortunately aground, and were thus prevented from taking a position nearer to the Planter. My advance reported squads of cavalry in sight as the main body entered the road, which it did at right angles to the point of disembarkation. The road proved to be an excellent one, hard and firm, and evidently repaired but an hour or two before, the dirt being still fresh, and the tracks upon it showed plainly that artillery, infantry, and cavalry had just passed over it. I continued my advance toward the town, driving in the enemy's pickets and skirmishing the country as thoroughly as possible. When about one mile from the village the whistle of a locomotive was heard. I was informed by the contraband, who had been furnished as a guide, that it was the dirt-train which always passed at that hour, and which he said was well on its way to Savannah. A few moments, however, proved that he had misinformed me, for when the main body arrived at a point within a few hundred yards of the town, and when the skirmishers had already reached the railroad track and telegraph line, the train was heard and seen rapidly coming down the road. I quickly placed my battalion in position, and as the train approached I directed a heavy and rapid fire upon it, with grape, and canister, and musketry. This fire was very destructive. The train consisted of eight cars, six of which were platforms crowded with men, the two boxcars filled with officers. There were also two light field-pieces on board. Many were seen to fall at the first fire, (among them the engineer,) and twenty-five or thirty jumped from the train, most of whom were maimed or killed; the rest, with one exception, betaking themselves to the woods and swamps on the other side of the track. We carried away or destroyed here about thirty stands of arms, mostly rifles, and secured one officer's sword and cap, and a stand of silk colors belonging to the “Whippy swamp guards.” We left a number of the enemy's dead and wounded on the track. We have since learned from the Savannah papers of the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth, that among the killed at this point was Major Harrison, of the Eleventh Georgia regiment, which regiment, with the Guards named above, were on the train. Immediately after the train had passed, Capt. Eaton, by my directions, set vigorously at work tearing up the railroad track, and continued thus until the retreat was sounded. After this occurrence I concluded, if possible, to push rapidly into the town and attack the troops while in the confusion of disembarking. I had proceeded but a short distance, however, before I came in full view of the enemy's forces, advantageously posted on the other side of the public road bridge, between that and the railroad bridge. They were flanked on their left by the river, and on their right by a thick swamp, with three pieces of artillery commanding the bridge. They immediately opened fire upon us with their artillery and infantry, fortunately for us, however, firing too high. I fired a few rounds in return, when, as it was now nearly night and the enemy's reinforcements above were double my entire force, I marched slowly back to my boats. During my retreat the skirmishers frequently observed and encountered small bodies of the enemy's cavalry, who were, however, easily driven off. I directed Capt. Eaton, of the engineers, to destroy the bridge on the road in my rear, which he did thoroughly, thus in a measure hindering the pursuit. The enemy, however, made his appearance and attacked us with infantry and artillery several times during my embarkation, but in each instance we drove them off with serious loss, as they were directly under the guns of the Planter and Patroon. As soon as the steamer again floated we returned to Mackay's Point by order of Gen. Brannan, and thence by way of Hilton Head to this port. I regret to report that during the last attack of the enemy Lieutenant J. M. Blanding, Third Rhode Island artillery, at that time in charge of the Planter, was dangerously wounded in the left arm and side. He is now, however, doing well. This was the only casualty on our side during the day. It affords me great pleasure to state that every officer and man of my command behaved during the day in the most commendable manner, evincing only a desire to meet the enemy, and regret at the necessity of a retreat. Major Green, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Fortyeighth New-York volunteers, and Acting Major Captain Strickland, New-York volunteers, were especially useful. Capt. Gould, of the Third Rhode Island artillery, also rendered me most efficient service, as did also Captain Eaton, Serrell's Volunteer Engineers, all of whom displayed the utmost zeal, energy, and ability in all they were called upon to perform. I have the honor to be, Captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A National account.
Port Royal, Friday, October 24, 1862.Encouraged by the perfect success of the recent enterprise at St. John's River and the Bluffton salt-works, and true to the promise that he made his troops, of giving them active employment on assuming command of the Department of the South, Gen. Mitchel has just prosecuted a third expedition, of greater magnitude and of more important aim, which, while yielding fresh lustre to our arms, I grieve to say, has only partially achieved its object, and adds another long list to the names of martyrs in the Union cause.  The special design of this enterprise was to destroy the trestle-work bridges of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, crossing the Pocotaligo, Tullifiny, and Coosahatchie. These streams are all tributaries of the Broad River; and to approach them it was determined, after a careful study of the map of this peculiarly impracticable and most difficult country for military operations, to make a landing at Mackay's Point, at the junction of the Broad and Pocotaligo Rivers, a distance of twenty-five miles from Hilton Head, where our troops could be debarked under cover of gunboats, and a march of eleven miles would take them to the village of Pocotaligo, at which place it was supposed the enemy would make a stand. The attack was intended as a surprise; and while our main force was to advance, as stated, a smaller body of troops, commanded by Col. Barton, of the Forty-eighth New-York volunteers, was to create a diversion by penetrating to the Coosahatchie bridge in the steamer Planter, convoyed by the gunboat Patroon; but with imperative orders to retire should they encounter a superior force. By cutting the railroad in the manner proposed, communication between the cities of Savannah and Charleston would be destroyed, and the way opened for a sudden blow upon one or both of these places, at the discretion of the Commanding General. The plan of this expedition was skilfully conceived, and every precaution adopted to render it successful. Few can imagine the perplexities attendant upon the movement of troops and artillery by water. It was necessary to construct flat-boats for the transportation of field-batteries; to concentrate all the light-draught boats; to gain such knowledge as might be gained imperfectly through scouts, of the character of the country to be traversed; to decide upon the possibility of debarking at the point selected; arriving at proper tides; providing for the subsistence of the troops, and a hundred other details regarding prudence anti sagacious foresight, and which after all were susceptible of disarrangement. Considering all these circumstances, and the fact that so many persons are employed in the organization of an expedition of this kind, it is not to be wondered that information of the projected attack passed our lines, and the enemy consequently was ready to receive us. The army transports of light draught were not sufficient for the transportation of the number of men required for this service, and in the emergency Commodore Godon, of the navy, was applied to by Gen. Mitchel for assistance. Commodore Godon promptly agreed to take troops on the gunboats, and the soldiers were assigned as follows: Gunboat Paul Jones, Captain Charles Steedman, commanding naval forces, towing Wabash launches. Transport Ben Deford, with six hundred of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania volunteers, and four hundred of the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania volunteers. Gunboat Connemaugh, with three hundred and fifty of the Fourth New-Hampshire volunteers. Gunboat Wissahickon, with two hundred and fifty of the Fourth New-Hampshire volunteers. Transport Boston, with five hundred of the Seventh Connecticut volunteers, and three hundred and eighty of the Third New-Hampshire volunteers. Gunboat Patroon, with fifty of the Third New-Hampshire volunteers. Gunboat Uncas, with fifty of the Third New-Hampshire volunteers. Transport Darlington, with three hundred of the Sixth Connecticut volunteers. The Relief and schooner, with two hundred of the Sixth Connecticut volunteers. Gunboat Marblehead, with two hundred and thirty of the Third Rhode Island volunteers. Gunboat Vixen, with seventy of the Third Rhode Island volunteers. Steamer Florida, with three hundred of the Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania volunteers. Gunboat Water Witch, with one hundred and thirty of the Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania volunteers. Army gunboat George Washington, with two hundred and fifty of the New-York Volunteer Engineers. Steamer Planter, with three hundred of the Forty-eighth New-York volunteers. The Ben Deford, towed a flat-boat having on board a section of Lieut. Henry's battery First United States artillery, and the Boston another flat boat carrying a section of company E, Third United States artillery. The entire land forces were composed of portions of the first and second brigades of the Tenth army corps, respectively commanded by Brig.-Generals J. M. Brannan and A. H. Terry, the former being senior officer, and therefore commanding the expedition. At nightfall, of Tuesday, the twenty-first, the expedition was ready for departure, but did not leave until midnight, as nothing could be accomplished by reaching its destination before daybreak. The vessels left in the order above designated, but the night was misty, and one or two of them ran aground, delaying their arrival at the rendezvous for some hours beyond the time which had been fixed. Meanwhile the tug Starlight was despatched with some boats of the Paul Jones and a small company of soldiers of the Seventh Connecticut, under Capt. Gray, to capture the rebel pickets at Mackay's Point and at a plantation on the Pocotaligo River, a few miles distant. This project was only partially successful. At the plantation, Lieut. Banks, of the enemy's picket, and three men, were made prisoners, but through the incompetency of a negro guide, the guard at the point escaped, giving warning of our approach. From the rebel officer who was taken, Gen. Brannan learned that our attack had been apprehended by the enemy, and for several days they had been preparing for the encounter. The tedious process of putting the men ashore in small boats was commenced soon after six o'clock A. M., on Wednesday, and by ten o'clock, men, horses, and guns were landed, excepting the detachment of the Third Rhode Island volunteers, who were on the gunboat Marblehead, which was aground all day some miles down the river. The line of march was taken up soon after ten, the section of Lieutenant Henry's battery being at the head of the column, with skirmishers of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania regiment. Advancing  slowly over an admirable road for seven miles, we failed, during the march, of encountering the enemy, who had prudently recoiled from a meeting until it should take place beyond range of our gunboats, although the nature of the ground over which we passed afforded many excellent positions for defence. The road alternated through dense woods, and through marshes, only passable over a narrow causeway, save at one or two points. Choosing a position at the opposite end of this causeway, the enemy opened a furious fire of shell and canister on our advancing column, which was promptly met by the battery under Lieut. Henry. Immediately the order was given by Gen. Brannan for his brigade to form line of battle, the centre resting on the causeway. After a brisk fire of both musketry and artillery the rebels retired to the dense woods in their rear, tearing up the causeway-bridge, which delayed the advance of our artillery until it could be repaired. Meanwhile, the First brigade pressed on to the woods, which they penetrated, driving the enemy before them, and closely followed by the Second brigade, under General Terry, who came up with a cheer, and were quickly in the engagement. Here the fight, it may be said, fairly commenced — the enemy's sharp-shooters picking off our men rapidly. The artillery fire from our side was not slackened while the bridge was being repaired, and it was not long before the batteries went forward to the work in support of the infantry. This action began between twelve and one, and lasted about an hour, ending in the retreat of the rebels to another position at Frampton's plantation, which lies two miles beyond. The enemy were closely followed, and after a fight more hotly contested than the first, our troops were again victorious, the second time driving the rebels from their well-chosen position, and two miles beyond, which brought them up to Pocotaligo bridge, (not the railroad bridge,) over which they crossed, taking shelter behind earth-works on the farthest side. To this point our troops nearly approached, but found farther progress impossible, as the bridge had been cut by the enemy on his retreat. This fact we construe into a clear acknowledgment of his defeat. Although these events are thus briefly noted, it required upward of five hours of impetuous and gallant fighting to accomplish them. At no one time was the entire field of combat in view from a given point, and I therefore find it impossible to speak in detail of the operations of my own regiment. Both brigades participated in the action, and both Generals Brannan and Terry were constantly under fire, leading and directing the movements of their men, awakening enthusiasm by their personal bravery and the skilful manner in which they manoeuvred their commands. Frequently, while the fight was progressing, we heard the whistles of the railroad trains, notifying us of reenforcements for the rebels, both from Charleston and Savannah; and even if we had had facilities for crossing the river, it would have been unwise to have made the attempt in view of these circumstances. Gen. Brannan therefore ordered a retreat, which was conducted in a most orderly manner, the regiments retiring in successive lines, carrying off their dead and wounded, and leaving no arms or ammunition on the field. Of the exact force of the rebels, of course, we know nothing, although Gen. Brannan was of the opinion that it equalled our own. Certainly their artillery exceeded ours by four or five pieces, and this we have from the seven prisoners taken, one of whom, Wm. Judd, belonged to company B, Second South-Carolina cavalry, whose horse was also captured. The prisoners informed us that General Beauregard commanded in person. While these events were taking place between the main forces on either side, Colonel Barton, of the Forty-eighth New-York, with three hundred of his own men and fifty of the Third Rhode Island regiment, under command of Capt. J. H. Gould, went up the Coosahatchie River, convoyed by the Patroon, to within two miles of the town of the same name. Landing this force here, a march was made to the village through which runs the railroad. Arrived there, they commenced tearing up the rails, but had scarcely engaged in the work when a long train of cars came from the direction of Savannah, filled with troops. This train was fired into by our party, killing the engineer and a number of others. Several soldiers jumped from the cars while they were in motion, and were wounded. One was taken prisoner--thirty muskets were captured, and colors of the Whippy Swamp Guards taker from the color-bearer, who was killed by our fire. The work of tearing up the rails was not accomplished in time to prevent the onward progress of the train, and our men afterward completed the job — also cutting the telegraph, and bringing away a portion of the wire with them. Colonel Barton next attempted to reach the railroad bridge, for the purpose of firing it, but was un able, as it was protected by a battery of three guns. Fearing that his retreat might be cut off by the enemy's cavalry, he gave the order to retire to the steamboat, which was done success-fully. His men had nearly all embarked when the cavalry boldly came directly under the guns of the Planter and Patroon, and fired upon both steamers. A few rounds of canister dispersed them, and the only damage which they inflicted was the serious wounding of Lieut. J. M. Blanding, of the Third Rhode Island artillery. Nearly all Wednesday night was passed in bringing the wounded from the battle-field and placing them upon the transports. This humane work was personally superintended by General Terry and Brigade Quartermaster Coryell, of Gen. Brannan's staff. As fast as the boats were filled they returned to Hilton Head, and by Thursday night the whole force had reembarked. Before our last regiment left Mackay's Point the enemy's pickets had reappeared, but not in sufficient force to molest us. Scarcely five minutes after the first engagement began, wounded men were brought to the rear. Surgeon Bailey, the Medical Director at  Beaufort, who accompanied the expedition, established a hospital almost under fire, by the roadside, beneath the shade of the stately pine woods, with Surgeons Merritt, of the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania, and McClellan, of the Sixth Connecticut, and these gentlemen soon had their energies taxed to the uttermost. It was a spectacle to make one shudder as the poor fellows, wounded and dying, were emptied from the ambulances upon the green sward. A striking instance of heroism came under my observation. During the thickest of the fight, Artificer Zincks, of Henry's battery, seized a shell which had fallen into our ammunition-box and threw it into a ditch, where it exploded, seriously wounding him. Had it not been for his bravery and presence of mind, the most serious consequences might have ensued. Lieut. Henry's horse was shot under him, and the shell that killed the animal also killed one man and wounded five others. It is a singular fact that Lieut. Gettings, of the Third United States artillery, whose section also did good service in the fight, also lost one man killed and five wounded by the explosion of a single shell. Lieut. Gettings himself was wounded in the ankle. Three howitzers from the Wabash, under command of Lieut. Phoenix and Ensigns Wallace and Larned, accompanied the land forces, and won a great deal of praise for gallantry and effective firing. Young Wallace was sent by Gen. Terry to cover the retreat from Pocotaligo bridge, which he handsomely accomplished. He had delivered two rounds of grape into the enemy's ranks, when a shower of rifle-balls were sent against him, wounding three of his men and perforating his own clothes. The heroic young fellow was then ordered to retire, which he reluctantly did, after vainly asking permission to fire another round. The rebels left fifteen or twenty of their dead on the field, and the inference is that their loss must have been severe, or they would have had time to remove all in their successive retreats. Two caissons filled with ammunition were captured from the enemy during the second battle. Our own supply of ammunition at this time having been well-nigh exhausted, this proved very opportune. Although the main object of the expedition failed of success, yet the benefits conferred were not of trifling value. We have made a thorough reconnoissance of the heretofore unknown Broad River and its tributaries, and ascertained the character of the country, which is knowledge of immense importance, in view of future movements in that direction. We have also demonstrated the necessity of heavy reenforcements if the Government desire Gen. Mitchel to strike heavily in his department.