Interesting from the coast.
[our own Corresponent.
Savannah, Ga., Jan. 6, 1862.
Our affairs upon the coast have continued so long unchanged that little of interest presented itself worthy to be communicated to you until Wednesday morning, when the Federal
forces on Port Royal Island
effected a lodgment upon the mainland under the cover of the guns of their fiest of small steamers.
It appears now, by the most authentic accounts which I have obtained from eye witnesses of the affair, that two simultaneous attacks were made, the one below the Ferry
, on a small, uncompleted work at Page's Point
, which had not received its armament, and was defended by two companies only of Dunnovant
's Regiment, and two light guns of Capt. Leake
's Virginia field battery.
After expending considerable time in vigerous shelling of the position and all neighboring coverts which could shelter our troops, they landed, made a reconnoissances and subsequently retired to their gun-boats.
At the same time a more determined and more serious demonstration was made on the main above the Ferry
by a number of Federal steamers, which approached from Coosaw river
The force landed was estimated.
at about three thousand men, who immediately advanced on the mainroad towards the Ferry
, the steamer in the meantime having engaged the small battery at that point.
The troops there stationed being unequal to the great odds against them, retired, taking along their guns.
The march of the enemy from Coosaw river
was not unobstructed, for they soon encountered Jones
's regiment and a portion of Col. Dunnovant
's, who speedily caused the greatly superior force to fly with precipitancy to the cover of their guns.
The casualties on our side have been small--fifteen killed and wounded--the result of a too ardent chase after the flying Bull Runners.
Of course the loss of the enemy is not known, but it must greatly have exceeded that of ours.
But one of the fleet-footed crowd was secured, and he was desperately wounded, and has subsequently died.
He belonged to the Michigan
The shore line between Chisholm
's plantation on the Coosaw
and the ferry is entirely in the possession of the enemy, but any advance from it will be promptly met as every preparation has been made.
The troops are eager for the Hessian invaders to advance from their shelter.
There is no reason to despond, because the Yankees
have planted their feet upon the main land of the State
; it was unavoldable, and has of course entered into the sketch of the campaign, indeed, every soldier will be giad of the opportunity soon to meet the foe whole neither gun- boats nor entrenched works shall shield them from the vengeance of outraged freemen.
There is no country in the world more capable of strong defence than that upon which General Sherman
has now ventured, and I have the authority of a high officer to support me in the assertion that the force now congregated about Gardner
's Corner is sufficient to withstand the attack of three times the number of more valorous and disciplined soldiers than the Hessians of Sherman
The low country of South Carolina
is cut up by numerous small streams and marshes bordering upon them which are greater impediments to the advance of a column than any creek could possibly be. Massage across them by any large body of troops or the heavy baggage of an army or the artillery, is utterly impossible, and these marshes sometimes extend for a mile on each side the central course of the stream.
The extremity of York river
on the Peninsula
side approaches more nearly its appearance than any other country that I have seen, and I believe there cannot be shown any more cut up into small islands, marshes, crooked creeks and arms of sea than that section.
Our army certainly enjoys every advantage of position, and should a reverse ever happen to the enemy, there will be little chance of salvation for his whole force; the concentration of large masses will be inevitable as they will have to resist vigorous attacks upon comparatively limited space without the ready support of columns cut off by the numerous streams debauching into arms of the sea.
I cannot tell you how confident people are here; let it suffice, however, to know that no such trifling occurrence as that of New Year's day can affect the well grounded and assured faith in our brave soldiers and the ability of our Generals
The beautiful charge of Jones
's regiment upon the enemy on the 1st inst., is worthy of praise; with one volley into their masses, the bayonet did the rest, and it must be borne in mind that that this regiment has not seen much service, had not smelt powder before, and were only inspired by the lofty devotion to their State, whose soil was polluted by the base invaders.
I had the good fortune to spend the Christmas with the Beaufort
Volunteer Artillery, the same that so gallantly held the Fort
on Bay Point
, Port Royal
, and who were 10th to yield until commanded imperiously to evacuate.
This company, composed entirely of the youth of Beaufort
, has been in service nearly one year, a great portion of that time laboring diligently in erecting their battery, and to the last moment working in the completion of its armament.
Not one of them now has a home to shelter him, and the poignant reflection that his Hearth is desecrated by the presence of the ruthless vandals, who exult in his exile, adds a thousand fold to the bitterness of the cup. Beaufort
can claim with justice to be the prettiest place on the Southern
coast; and estranged in a measure from intimate intercourse with the rest of the State
, her sons have grown up with tender attachment to its venerated associations, which neither time nor circumstance can ever displace.
You can well appreciate the spirit that burns in their breasts, and the ever kindling desire for revenge upon their foes.
The company is not without its brave, active and adventurous partisans, where so many are congregated together; all of whom are experts with the rifle, and skilled in boat craft, you can surely look for some daring adventure or narrow escape.
Such is not wanting, and to give a little more life to my letter, I will detail the ‘"manner and the circumstance
"’ of a late attempt to find out the whereabouts of the Yankees
The company has been for some time stationed at Red Bluff
on New river
, about eight miles from Savannah
, where a strong battery has been erected.
, it must be understood, empties in the Sound
just back of Dawfuskie Island
, which, you are aware, the Yankees
have appropriated to themselves, and which it was known was held by a detachment of the enemy.
All our streams and water-courses have been traveled over by the diligent enemy at night time in large launches, rowed in some instances by negroes, with the object, no doubt, of finding the positions of our camps, and the practicability of the ascent of gun-boats.
These expeditions have been heard in some instances, and in others again, where steamers accompanied them, have been driven back with loss.
On the eve of Christmas
, the Captain
, than whom no more efficient officer or braver man lives, with a crew of eleven, departed about dusk for Dawfuskie Island
, to reconnuitre or destroy anything found of service to the enemy.
They landed in the course of the night; and from a negro ascertained the camp of the enemy to be at the other end of the Island
, and shortly started to return.
They had gone but a few miles when, nearing a bend in the river, they heard a boat approaching, their light-boat fully loaded, and which a musket shot would have sunk, they forced into the march, the stern protruding some feet into the river.
All was ready for the order to fire, but another boat was heard, which caused the Captain
to wait to ascertain the force, when another and another came up, three of them large double-bunked launches, with howitzers in the bow, and containing about fifty men each.
The last launch stopped within twenty feet of the frail boat to arrange the displaced muffling of an car, and the preceding one was so near that one of our little band had to draw in his musket to prevent contact with the cars of the launch.
So completely secured were they by the march, that the sharp eyes of the negroes, every day accustomed to such chances, failed to detect them, though their heads were above the tallent spear of grass.
By this reconcolssance the position of the enemy was ascertained, and from some casual remarks the object of their expedition.
But few negroes were on the launches, but the smaller boat was rowed by them, and was apparently the guide through the tortuous river.
The little party arrived safely at camp, to the amazement of the hearers of the almost miraculous escape.
The neighborhood of Savannah
is very quiet, nothing of interest having transpired of late.
All the camps are in excellent health and ready for the fray, at any time.
It is here thought that the attack about Port Royal Ferry is only a feint to divert attention from some more vulnerable point.
Some argue in the direction of John's island towards Charleston
, but it is very difficult to divine the movement of such an enemy.
They are ignorant of the topography of the interior, and may in fact design a movement on the Churleston and Savannah Railroad from the position they have taken.
The blockading fleet is not so numerous just now, though to-morrow may see them return.
They have been supposed to have gone to Port Royal
, probably to support the new movement from that point.
At any rate, while the cat is away the mice will play, and behold the caged bird has escaped; but I want too far. I was about to disclose that which the reticense of the Charleston
press has not yet let out.
You have been the notice of the late arrival in Charleston
, and I hear another has followed her into a said harbor.
The stone fleet does not work apparantly as well as ‘"our friends"’ beyond the Potomac
I would like to receive the Dispatch,
but I fear even if sent your correspondent will be about the last person in Savannah
entitled by the Post-Office here to read it. It is bought very generally, and is to be found some miles out in the various camps, where information from Virginia
is eagerly sought for.
I will reserve some little for the next letter I send you, but will conclude by alluding to the late surrender of Mason
We were sorry in one moment and rejoiced in the next that England
's demands were not fully met by the base and cowardly wretches at Wasuington.
When the next item of news in received in England
of another violation of her flag and seizure of mere political offenders without official status, we have little doubt that not ninety days will elapse when she will be thundering at the doors of the Northern States
so loud that every denizen will hear it.