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Chapter 10:

  • Operations in South Carolina, spring of 1863
  • -- capture of the Isaac Smith-Ingraham's defeat of the blockading squadron -- naval attack on Fort Sumter -- Hunter's raids.

The operations of the Federal naval and land forces on the coast of South Carolina at the beginning of the year 1863, pointed to an attack upon either Charleston or Savannah. General Beauregard, commanding the department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, with the active co-operation of the Confederate government and the governors of the States, was making every preparation for the defense of both cities.

In South Carolina, on January 1, 1863, Gen. Joseph H. Trapier commanded from the North Carolina line to the South Santee; Gen. R. S. Ripley from the South Santee to the Stono and Rantowles creek; Gen. Johnson Hagood from Rantowles to the Ashepoo, and Gen. W. S. Walker from the Ashepoo to the Savannah. These officers had under their command a force of 14,500 of all arms, present for duty; more than half this force being stationed in the forts and on the immediate approaches to Charleston. The district, commanded by General Ripley, embraced the harbor defenses, Christ Church and St. Andrew's parishes, and the islands surrounding the harbor. Each island constituted a separate subdivision of the district, the parish of St. Andrew's being attached to James island.

Col. L. M. Keitt, Twentieth South Carolina, commanded on Sullivan's island; Col. William Butler, Fort Moultrie and the batteries outside. On Morris island Col. R. F. Graham, of the Twenty-first, was in charge. [189] Gen. States R. Gist, on his return from Wilmington, commanded on James island and in St. Andrew's. Fort Sumter, garrisoned by the First artillery, was in charge of Col. Alfred Rhett, and Forts Ripley and Castle Pinckney were commanded by Capt. H. S. Farley.

The following South Carolina troops were at this time on duty in the State:

Infantry: First regiment regulars, Col. William Butler, Fort Moultrie; Third volunteers, Col. C. J. Colcock, Third district; Eleventh, Colonel Heyward, Third district; Sixteenth, Col. James McCullough, Second district; Twentieth, Col. L. M. Keitt, Sullivan's island; Twenty-first, Col. R. F. Graham, Morris island; Twenty-fourth, Col. C. H. Stevens, Third district; Twenty-fifth, Col. C. H. Simonton, James island; Twenty-sixth, Col. A. D. Smith, Second district; Charleston battalion, Lieut.-Col. P. C. Gaillard, city; Seventh battalion, Lieut.-Col. P. H. Nelson, Second district; First battalion sharpshooters, Maj. Joseph Abney, Third district.

Artillery: First regiment regulars, Col. Alfred Rhett, Fort Sumter and batteries; Second regiment volunteers, Colonel Lamar, James island; Lucas' battalion, Maj. J. J. Lucas, James island; Palmetto battalion, Maj. E. B. White, James island; siege train, Maj. Charles Alston, city. Batteries: German, Company A, Capt. D. Werner, Sullivan's island; German, Company B, Capt. F. Melchers, James island; Ferguson's, Capt. T. B. Ferguson, Christ Church; Santee, Capt. C. Gaillard, Christ Church; Gist Guards; Capt. C. E. Chichester, Morris island; Mathewes', Capt. P. N. Bonneau, Morris island; Ward's, Capt. J. Ward, Georgetown; Parker's, Capt. E. L. Parker, Second district; Washington, Capt. G. H. Walter, Second district; Horse artillery, Capt. W. L. Trenholm, Third district; Beaufort, Capt. S. Elliott, Third district; Lafayette, Capt. J. T. Kanapaux, Third district; Palmetto, Capt. W. E. Earle, Third district.

Cavalry: Ferguson's regiment, Colonel Ferguson; Third regiment, Col. C. J. Colcock; Sixth regiment, Colonel Aiken; Rutledge cavalry, Col. B. H. Rutledge; Company, Capt. J. H. Tucker; Stono scouts, Capt. J. B. L. Walpole; rangers, Capt. M. J. Kirk.

In aggregate the South Carolina commands were nine [190] regiments and three battalions of infantry; two regiments and three battalions of heavy artillery; thirteen light batteries; four regiments and three independent companies of cavalry. Besides the South Carolina commands, General Beauregard had under his command in the State the North Carolina brigades of Generals Clingman and Cooke, and several regiments and batteries from Georgia. His total effective force of all arms, in February, was about 15,500 for the defense of the State, with 10,000 near Savannah and on the coast of Georgia.

It will be recalled that when General Beauregard assumed command in South Carolina, October 1, 1862, General Pemberton, at his request, estimated the troops necessary for the defense of the State against a probable force which might be sent to attack Charleston, at 30,000 infantry, cavalry and heavy artillery, and fifteen light batteries, an estimate which General Beauregard approved as the minimum required. It was with great concern, therefore, that he contemplated the attack which was evidently pending in January, 1863, when his total of all arms in South Carolina was but a little over 15,000, with about 10,000 in Georgia. But with the war raging in Virginia and in the West, and a Federal army threatening North Carolina, the military resources of the Confederate government were taxed to the utmost. South Carolina had put all her fighting material in the field, and thousands of her noblest sons had fallen in Virginia, in Tennessee, and on her own soil. Meanwhile every preparation was being made to defend Charleston and the line of railroad connecting it with Savannah. January closed with two brilliant incidents in the history of this defense.

The Federal gunboats had control of the Stono river up to the range of Fort Pemberton. This strong work, mounting fifteen heavy guns, commanded the Stono and flanked the defensive line on James island to the west. John's island, on the west side of the Stono, was occupied [191] only by a cavalry picket, and gunboats ran up and down the river with impunity. It was arranged by Generals Beauregard and Ripley to surprise and capture one or more of them. These arrangements were most successfully carried out on the 30th of January. Maj. J. J. Lucas, commanding at Fort Pemberton, sent Capt. John H. Gary with three rifled 24-pounders to put them in battery, and under cover, at Thomas Grimball's place on James island. This was done in the night, and the guns carefully secreted from the enemy's view. They were commanded by Lieuts. W. G. Ogier, E. B. Colhoun and Capt. T. B. Hayne respectively, officers of Companies A, B and C, of Lucas' command. In the same way, lower down the Stono, at Battery island, Maj. J. W. Brown, Second artillery, concealed two rifled 24-pounders in the woods, at night, built platforms for them in the old battery, and kept in hiding for the event. Brown's guns were commanded by Lieuts. John A. Bellinger, Company B, and F. Lake, Company K. Fifty men of the Eighth Georgia battalion, under Lieuts. R. Hays and George Johnson, were detailed as sharpshooters. Lieut.--Col. Joseph A. Yates, First regulars, made a secret disposition of a larger force, on John's island, between the guns of Gary and Brown. He took two companies of Major Alston's siege train, A and B, commanded by Capt. B. C. Webb and Lieut. S. W. Willson, Jr.; Company F, Palmetto battalion, Capt. F. C. Schulz; a light battery, commanded by Capt. F. H. Harleston; one Parrott gun, in charge of Lieut. T. E. Gregg; Capt. John C. Mitchel's company, I, First artillery, and Companies H and I of the Twentieth infantry, Capt. S. M. Roof and Lieut. M. Gunter. Yates masked his guns at Grimball's and Legare‘s points, on John's island, and awaited his opportunity.

The gunboat Isaac Smith, carrying a 30-pounder Parrott in her bow, and eight 8-inch columbiads, steamed up the river on the afternoon of the 30th, passed Brown at [192] Battery island and Yates on John's island, and dropped anchor opposite Gary's position, within 500 yards. Waiting a few moments for her to become settled in her anchorage, Gary unmasked his guns and opened fire. The Smith promptly replied with shot, shell and canister, but suffering from Gary's fire, she slipped her anchor and retreated down the river, followed by the shots of Gary's rifled guns and replying vigorously. But as she began her retreat, she was met by the batteries of Yates, which opened immediately. Reaching Legare‘s point, she was too badly crippled in her machinery to proceed, and dropped anchor and surrendered. She lost 8 killed, 44 wounded, and surrendered 10 officers and 95 men. Private McQueen, of Alston's command, was mortally wounded, the only casualty on the Confederate side. The Isaac Smith was towed up under the guns of Pemberton, and subsequently did service in the harbor. In this affair the Stono scouts, Captain Walpole, rendered Colonel Yates valuable service.

Brown, at Battery island, was only to fire in case the batteries above him had failed to arrest the boat, and was silent until one of her friends attempted to go to her rescue. When within range, Brown opened with his rifles, and after a sharp conflict drove her down the river. Next morning a larger boat steamed up and engaged Brown's battery, but she would not stand long and expose her sides to rifles, and doing Brown no harm, after being hit several times she dropped down out of range. The guns were all removed on the night of the 31st, having done their work well.

Flag Officer D. N. Ingraham, commanding the Confederate naval forces in Charleston harbor, with the Confederate ironclad gunboats Palmetto State and Chicora, made a brilliant attack on the blockading squadron on the early morning of January 31st. The Palmetto State was commanded by Lieut.-Com. John Rutledge, and the Chicora by Capt. J. R. Tucker. The Palmetto [193] State carried Commodore Ingraham's flag. Waiting for a full tide in order to cross the bar with safety, the two steamers took position near the bar before day and passed over at 4:30 a. m., the Palmetto State leading. The plan of attack was to engage the enemy at close quarters and sink his vessels by ramming.

Rutledge encountered the United States steamer Mercedita immediately after crossing, took her by surprise, rammed and sunk her. The Chicora encountered a schooner-rigged propeller, engaged and set her on fire. A large side-wheel steamer was next met and engaged at close quarters, and ran out of sight, it being yet before day. The Keystone State was then met by Tucker and with her consort, a propeller, quickly engaged. The larger vessel struck, being on fire, but after Captain Tucker ceased his fire, she ran off. Meanwhile, Rutledge was vainly endeavoring to bring others to close quarters. The ironclads were slow, and except when taking the enemy by surprise they were at a disadvantage. Seeing the whole squadron in full retreat to the south and east, the flag officer chased them out of sight, and anchored his vessels outside at 8 o'clock.

Temporarily the blockade of the port was raised, but the fleet soon returned, much strengthened, and the gallant gunboats waited another chance.

The Federal land and naval forces had held possession of Port Royal harbor, and the islands surrounding it, since November, 1861. It was now April, 1863. During that period their only achievement had been the capture of Fort Pulaski, at the mouth of the Savannah river. Repeated attempts had been made to destroy the bridges and break the railroad communication between Savannah and Charleston, all of which had been signally repulsed. Battles had been fought at Pocotaligo, Coosawhatchie, and at numerous points along the line of the railroad, and repeated skirmishes with raiding parties of the enemy had always resulted in ‘driving him back to his [194] gunboats.’ The enemy advanced in force against Charleston, by way of James island, in June, 1862, but the Confederate victory at Secessionville, on the 16th of that month, compelled his retreat and return to his base at Port Royal. Charleston or Savannah being his objective, he had been threatening both cities for a period of seventeen months, without accomplishing anything more than the practical ruin of the sea-island planters and their property, the capture of Fort Pulaski, and the possession of the waters surrounding the islands.

The beginning of April, 1863, found the Federals concentrating in the Stono and North Edisto, for another attempt to take Charleston, in which the land attack was to be for the possession of Morris island, by way of Folly island, the objective being Fort Sumter; and the naval attack, by the ironclad fleet, was to be on that fort, Fort Moultrie, and the batteries defending the outer harbor.

On April 7th, General Beauregard commanded a force of 22,648 effectives, of all arms, for the defense of Charleston and the coast of South Carolina. In the forts and batteries, and on the islands surrounding the harbor, the effective force amounted to 12,856. The remainder of the troops were disposed along the main line of defense between Rantowles creek and the Savannah river, guarding the water approaches from Beaufort and the Edistos, while a small force of cavalry and light artillery operated in Christ Church, and beyond the Santees. On the 4th of April, seven monitors had been collected in North Edisto and twenty transports were in the Stono, landing troops on Cole's and Folly islands. On the 6th, the steam frigate Ironsides and eight monitors were off the bar, and on the morning of the 7th, having crossed, were lying off the south end of Morris island. The Federal land forces were commanded by Maj.-Gen. David Hunter, and the fleet by Rear-Admiral S. F. Du Pont.

No attempt by General Hunter's forces was made, or appeared to be in preparation, to attack either Morris [195] island from Folly island, or James island from Cole's island. On James island General Gist commanded a force fully adequate to hold the enemy's advance until he was reinforced; but on Morris island Colonel Graham was not strong enough to resist a division attacking from Folly island under the fire of gunboats, which lay off the north end of the latter island. If the Federal general had known his opportunity, he might have possessed himself of the south end of Morris island, and overwhelmed the gallant little force standing in his path. Graham's command on Morris island was his regiment, the Twenty-first South Carolina, Chichester's and Mathewes' companies of artillery at Battery Wagner, under Lieut.-Col. C. K. Hughes, and a detachment from the First South Carolina artillery at Cummings point, under Lieutenant Lesesne. Morris island was at the mercy of the Federal general, but happily he did not possess the military insight and the aggressive capacity to perceive and use his advantage. He remained inactive and secure in his island isolation, while Du Pont went into battle with the forts and batteries. After the defeat of the admiral, he wrote to that officer from the transport Ben DeFord, that he had been ‘a mere spectator,’ and that he ‘could do nothing but pray for him,’ which he assured him he had done ‘most heartily.’

Du Pont moved to the attack at 2 p. m., on April 7th, in single file, steaming up Ship channel, the monitor Weehawken leading, and the flagship Ironsides in the center of the column. The plan of attack contemplated the destruction of Fort Sumter, whose high walls and broad sides were a noble target for the admiral's 15 and 11-inch turreted guns.

If there had been no Fort Moultrie, or Batteries Bee and Beauregard on Sullivan's island, and no Wagner or Cummings point battery, the noble walls of Sumter might have crumbled beneath the powerful impact of tons of iron; but the writer believes that the barbette and [196] casemate batteries of the east and northeast faces of Sumter, directed, as they were, by skilled and heroic officers, and manned by gallant soldiers, would have been equal to the disabling of the fleet before its powerful guns could have effected a serious breach.

The action began at 3 p. m., by a shot from Fort Moultrie, directed at the Weehawken. Fort Sumter and Batteries Bee, Beauregard, Wagner and Cummings Point opened their fire, and the action at once became general. All the batteries had been instructed to concentrate on the leading assailants, and following these directions, the concentration of fire soon disabled the Weehawken, and she steamed out of range, giving place to the next monitor, which steamed into action on the curve of an ellipse. The Ironsides came into action first against Moultrie, and then Sumter, approaching within 1,600 or 1,700 yards, but the fire of the forts and the batteries directed upon her drove her beyond range. The Keokuk, a double-turreted monitor, gallantly steamed under the walls of Sumter, within 900 yards of her batteries, and opened with her 11-inch guns. Sumter, Moultrie, Bee and Cummings Point concentrated their fire upon her, and for forty minutes she fought heroically for the breach in Sumter. The 10-inch shot and 7-inch bolts penetrated her armor, her hull and turrets were pierced, her boats shot away, the plating at her bow was ripped up for six feet in length and two and a half in width, and she was barely able to retreat to an anchorage off Morris island, where she sank. The battle was continued for two hours and twenty-five minutes, when Admiral Du Pont signaled his vessels to retreat. He had made a gallant fight, but his ironclads could not stand the fire of Ripley's guns, and his defeat was decisive. ‘I attempted to take the bull by the horns,’ he wrote General Hunter, the day after the battle, ‘but he was too much for us. These monitors are miserable failures where forts are concerned; the longest was one hour and the others fortyfive [197] minutes under fire, and five of the eight were wholly or partially disabled.’

By the 12th of April the surviving monitors had been taken to Port Royal or sent north for repairs, and the Ironsides, much damaged, was being repaired at her moorings on the blockading line outside the bar. There is no report at hand of the casualties in the fleet.

In the forts and batteries the casualties were very few. At Fort Sumter five men were wounded by splinters from a traverse. Their names are not reported. At Fort Moultrie the flagstaff was shot away, and falling, mortally wounded Private Lusty, Company F. Private Joseph Harrison, Company G, lost a finger, but after having his wound dressed, returned to his gun. Both these gallant men were of Colonel Butler's regiment. At Battery Wagner there were 8 casualties, 3 killed and 5 wounded, by the explosion of an ammunition chest. Sergt. G. W. Langley and Privates Amos Fitzgerald and Jerry Dyer were killed, and Lieut. G. E. Steedman, Corp. Matthew Martin and Privates Samuel Red, Marion Quillan and Thomas Prince were wounded. Total casualties, 4 killed and 11 wounded. Fort Sumter suffered some damage, but none of a serious nature. The other forts were entirely unhurt. At Sumter an 8-inch columbiad burst, a 42-pounder rifled gun was dismounted by recoil, and a 10-inch gun was dismounted by having part of its carriage shot away. The walls of the fort were not materially damaged. Fifty-five shot struck the east and northeast faces, damaging several of the embrasures to the casemates, cracking the parapet wall in places, and dislodging the masonry surrounding the spot struck. Three shot, striking very near each other, on the east face and near the parapet, made a crater 10 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 2 feet deep. In other places the penetrations were 2, 3 and in two instances as much as 5 feet, with craters from 2 to 6 feet in height, and from 1 to 5 feet in width. This damage was speedily repaired, and the fort [198] stood as strong as ever for battle in forty-eight hours after the action.

The brilliant victory of the forts over the much-dreaded ironclad fleet was celebrated on every hand, and the gallant commanders of batteries, their officers, and their men, were the boast and the toast of the day. The legislature being in session at the time, passed, amid much enthusiasm, a joint resolution of thanks to the officers and men for the gallant defense of Charleston ‘against the onset of the foe,’ and hailed their achievement as the bright harbinger of a still more glorious victory.

The forts and batteries engaged were garrisoned and commanded by the following troops and officers:

Fort Moultrie was garrisoned by a detachment of the First South Carolina regular infantry, drilled as artillery, and commanded by Col. William Butler, Maj. T. M. Baker second in command. The guns engaged were manned by Company A, Capt. T. A. Huguenin; Company E, Capt R. Press. Smith; Company F, Capt. B. S. Burnet; Company G, First Lieut. E. A. Erwin, and the mortars, Company K, Capt. C. H. Rivers. Staff: Capt. W. H. Wigg, Lieut. Mitchell King, Capt. G. A. Wardlaw, Lieut. Thomas Williams.

Battery Bee was garrisoned by another detachment of the First South Carolina, and commanded by Lieut.-Col. J. C. Simkins. The guns were fought by Company C, Capt. Robert De Treville; Company H, Capt. Warren Adams, and Company I, Capt W. T. Tatom.

Battery Beauregard was commanded by Capt J. A. Sitgreaves, with Company K, First artillery, Lieut. W. E. Erwin commanding, and Company B, First infantry, Capt. J. H. Warley commanding. The commanders on Morris island have already been referred to.

Fort Sumter was garrisoned by seven companies of the First South Carolina regular artillery, Col. Alfred Rhett, Lieut.-Col. Joseph A. Yates, Maj. Ormsby Blanding. Colonel Rhett commanded the fort, Lieutenant-Colonel [199] Yates the barbette guns, and Major Blanding the casemate batteries. Lieutenant Clarkson's detachment of Company B, Charleston battalion, was posted in second tier of casement as sharpshooters. Companies B and D, Capts. D. G. Fleming and F. H. Harleston, fought the guns on the east and northeast parapet batteries. The other companies were stationed as follows: Company F, Capt. J. G. King, northwest parapet; Company I, Capt. J. C. Mitchel, west parapet; Company E, Capt. J. R. Macbeth, mortar battery and east casemate battery; Company G, Capt. W. H. Peronneau, northeast casemate battery; detachments of Companies C and E, Capt. C. W. Parker, northwest casemate battery. Lieut. W. H. Grimball, with regimental band, battery in second tier of casemates. Staff: Lieut. S. C. Boyleston, adjutant; Capt. T. M. Barker, quartermaster; Capt. S. P. Ravenel, chief of staff; Lieut. J. B. Heyward, ordnance officer; Rev. N. Aldrich, chaplain; Lieut. Edward J. White, engineer officer. Signal corps: T. P. Lowndes, Arthur Grimball, Joseph Seabrook.

The following extracts from the reports are of interest:

The nearest the enemy ventured at any time to Fort Moultrie was estimated at 1,000 yards; to Battery Bee, 1,600 yards; to Battery Beauregard, 1,400 yards. (Gen. J. H. Trapier's report.)

The enemy's fire was mostly ricochet and not very accurate; most of their shots passed over the fort and several to the right and left. The greater portion of their shots were from 1,300 to 1,400 yards distant, which appeared to be the extent of their effective range. Some shots from a greater distance did not reach the fort at all. (Col. A. Rhett's report.)

The advance vessels took their positions alternately, ranging from 1,800 to 2,000 yards from this battery. . . . Two hundred and eighty-three solid shots were fired from this battery. . . . Of this number, many were distinctly seen to strike the vessels aimed at, and it is believed, doing serious damage in many instances. (Lieutenant-Colonel Simkins' report.)

I am satisfied that the Ironsides was struck several [200] times by shot from this battery, and I think one or two others were also struck, with what effect it is impossible to say, except from reports since the engagement, which lead us to believe that the enemy were considerably damaged. (Captain Sitgreaves' report.)

The guns of this battery were of too light a caliber to be of much service, but those at Cummings point were much heavier, and the firing was particularly good. (Maj. C. K. Huger's report.)

Our batteries were admirably served by our skilled artillerists. Much of the rapidity and accuracy with which the heavy guns were fired was due to the use of Colonel Yates' traverser, with the merits of which the general commanding has been fully impressed. Our batteries discharged. 2,200 shot of all sorts, the enemy's fleet about 110, chiefly 15-inch shell and 11-inch solid shot; not less than 80 of which were directed at Fort Sumter. The sinking of the Keokuk, and the discomfiture of the other ironclads have established their vulnerability to our heavy projectiles at a range, say, of from 900 to 1,200 yards. (Maj. D. B. Harris, chief engineer.)

The Weehawken, which led the attack, carried on her bow a huge raft for finding and exploding torpedoes, popularly called the ‘devil,’ which greatly retarded her advance, and was ultimately shot adrift by the batteries. Maj. W. H. Echols, of the engineers, in his report says of this raft:

The ‘devil’ floated ashore on Morris island; the cables by which it was attached to the turrets' bow being cut away. It is probable that the ‘devil’ becoming unmanageable, was the cause of the turret retiring early from the action, it being a massive structure, consisting of two layers of white pine timbers 18 inches square, strongly bolted together; a re-entering angle 20 feet deep to receive the bow of the vessel; 50 feet long, 27 feet side; a layer of beveled timbers on the front, forming a bow; seven heavy iron plates, through which passed chains directly down and over the sides through hawser plates; to these were attached grappling irons, with double prongs, suspended underneath at the sides and bow; in the countersinks were loose iron rollers, apparently to facilitate the drawing of the chains through the holes over them when [201] the grapplings took hold, to drag up to the ‘devil’ whatever he may catch with his hooks.

It was a miserable contrivance and proved of no use to the fleet and only an object of merriment and curiosity to the garrisons and their officers.

Says General Ripley in his report:

In this the first trial of the Abolition iron fleet against brick fortifications and their first attempt to enter the harbor of Charleston, in which they were beaten before their adversaries thought the action had well commenced, they were opposed by 76 pieces in all, including mortars. . . . While service in immediate action is that which is most conspicuous, after such a result as has been accomplished, the greatest credit is due to that long, patient and laborious preparation by which our works and material, never originally intended to withstand such an attack as has been encountered, have been so resecured as to enable our gallant and well-instructed officers and men to obtain their end with comparatively small loss. In that preparation the late Lieut.-Col. T. M. Wagner contributed much on both sides of the channel, and Colonel Rhett, Lieutenant-Colonel Yates, Major Blanding and other officers of Fort Sumter have been more or less engaged since the fort fell into our hands, two years ago.

On the morning of April 9th the United States steamer Washington was attacked in the Coosaw river by light batteries under Capt. Stephen Elliott, crippled and set on fire by shells, and totally destroyed. On the night of the 10th, Lieutenant-Colonel Dargan, of the Twenty-first, made a night attack upon the picket at the north end of Folly island, crossing from Morris island a small detachment in boats. The attack was a surprise, and completely stampeded the enemy's picket force, which fled to the south of the island. Colonel Dargan returned, after fully locating the enemy's camp, bringing off a single prisoner, and leaving one of the enemy's pickets severely wounded.

General Hunter addressed his energies to making raids up the river, destroying the property of the planters and carrying off their negroes, keeping his negro troops, [202] employed in this business, always under the protection of the gunboats. One of these gunboat raiding parties steamed up the Combahee on the 2d of June, burned four fine residences, with all their valuable contents, and six mills, and carried off about 700 negroes. Later in the month a greater part of the town of Bluffton, on May river, was burned by a gunboat raid, and the utmost vigilance was required by troops stationed on the rivers to protect the property of citizens from wanton destruction. In reporting the raid up the Combahee to the secretary of war, General Hunter, after expressing pleasure at the success which Colonel Montgomery had achieved, continues:

This expedition is but the initial experiment of a system of incursions which will penetrate up all the inlets, creeks and rivers of this department, and to be used in which I am now having several of our light draught transport steamers supplied with bulwarks of boiler iron, etc. . . . Colonel Montgomery with his forces will repeat his incursions as rapidly as possible in different directions, injuring the enemy all he can and carrying away their slaves, thus rapidly filling up the South Carolina regiments in the departments, of which there are now four. The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts regiment (colored), Col-onel Shaw commanding, arrived to-day in good condition, and appears to be an excellent regiment, over 900 strong. They will soon have abundant and very important employment, as will all other regiments, white or colored, that may be sent to reinforce this department.


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