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Doc. 189. occupation of Tybee Island, November 24, 1861.

Flag-officer Dupont's report.

flag-ship Wabash, Port Royal harbor, S. C., Nov. 25, 1861.
sir: I have the honor to inform the department that the flag of the United States is flying over the territory of the State of Georgia.

As soon as the serious injury to the boilers of the Flag had been repaired, I despatched Commander John Rodgers to Tybee entrance, the mouth of Savannah River, to report to Commander Missroon, the senior officer, for a preliminary examination of the bars, and for the determination of the most suitable place for sinking the proposed obstructions to the navigation of the river.

Captain Rodgers was instructed to push his [417] reconnaissance so far as to “form an approximate estimate of the force on Tybee Island, and of the possibility of gaining access to the inner bar;” and further, “if the information acquired by this reconnoissance should be important, to return and communicate it to me immediately.”

I was not surprised when he came back and reported that the defences on Tybee Island had probably been abandoned. Deeming it proper, however, to add the Seneca, Lieutenant Commanding Ammen, and Pocahontas, Lieutenant Commanding Balch, to his force, I directed him to renew his approaches with caution, and, if no opposition was met with, to occupy the channel.

I am happy now to have it in my power to inform the department that the Flag, the Augusta, and the Pocahontas are at anchor in the harbor abreast of Tybee beacon and light, and that the Savannah has been ordered to take the same position.

The abandonment of Tybee Island, on which there is a strong martello tower, with a battery at its base, is due to the terror inspired by the bombardment of Forts Walker and Beauregard, and is a direct fruit of the victory of the 7th.

By the fall of Tybee Island, the reduction of Fort Pulaski, which is within easy mortar distance, becomes only a question of time.

The rebels have themselves placed sufficient obstructions in the river at Fort Pulaski, and thus, by the cooperation of their own fears with our efforts, the harbor of Savannah is effectually closed.

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

S. F. Dupont, Flag-officer Commanding South Atlantic Block'g Squadron. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

The following account of the occupation is given by an officer of the expedition:

U. S. Ship Pocahontas, at the anchorage, Savannah harbor, Tybee Island, Nov. 24, 1861.
The steamer Flag, Commander John Rodgers, was despatched by Flag-officer Dupont to reconnoitre this. point and ascertain the position and strength of the rebels. He did so, and on his return to Port Royal he had the Seneca and this vessel added to his command, and this morning, with a view to feel the enemy, we threw a few shells into the fortifications, but getting no reply we soon found that the works were abandoned, and we have taken possession of them. They consist of a strong martello tower, with an intrenchment at the foot of it, over both which the Stars and Stripes now float. It is a most important acquisition, as the ship channel to Savannah passes within five hundred yards.

Fort Pulaski is doomed, for it is ours whenever we think proper to take it, as it is within most convenient shell range-six hundred yards. No vessel will now leave or enter the port of Savannah without our permission during the remainder of the war.

We now hold the harbor with the three steamers — the Flag, Commander Rodgers; the Pocahontas, Capt. Balch; and the Seneca, Capt. Ammen--but no doubt will have other vessels sent here and also a strong garrison, as soon as Flag-officer Dupont and Gen. Sherman are advised of the capture.

We hear, upon what we consider reliable authority, that Commodore Tatnall says the rebels must abandon all their coast defences, for after the sample of firing at Hilton Head by our fleet, nothing they have erected can stand before it.

The abandonment of their strong works on Tybee Island may be considered as confirming this report. The panic throughout the Southern coast from our success at Port Royal is intense and all-pervading. Savannah is nearly depopulated, and the trains go loaded with household and every description of goods, including negroes.

Secession account.

Fort Pulaski, November 25, 1861.
I suppose you have heard of affairs down here before this. The enemy appeared around Tybee point about eleven o'clock A. M. yesterday. The sentinel reported them, and the assembly was beat; we were ordered to the guns; there we awaited them. The enemy, composed of a frigate and one gunboat, rounded the point and commenced throwing shot and shell on Tybee. Not having received a reply, they despatched the gunboat for more vessels. About four o'clock the gunboat came back with two more very large vessels; soon after a long train of small boats was seen to leave the vessels and head for the shore. About six o'clock the Federal flag was seen flying on Tybee Island. About seven o'clock at night Captain Read, of the Irish Volunteers, took a squad of his men and went over to the island, and got in sight of the Yankees. He could see them all around the fire; but finding that he could not effect his object, which was to burn the large hospital, there being too many men around the house, he returned and burnt all the houses on his way, including Captain King's large house, also the platform where the boat lands. They also brought off an old negro, the property of Mr. King, which the picket had left. He is now at the fort. This morning the Federal flag could be seen flying on the light-house. There are three large vessels off the point now, and another gunboat has just arrived. The island is naturally protected by large sand hills, which could have protected our men from the shells of the enemy. I think a thousand men could whip them off the island in two hours. The enemy have a foothold on all the Southern States bordering on the Atlantic, but I think they have gained very little by taking Tybee Island. I do not think they can get enough rice and cotton on Tybee to pay the cost of the [418] expedition, as they say they did at Port Royal. We have plenty of ammunition and men, and we defy them to come in range of our guns — we will show them the difference between taking Port Royal and Fort Pulaski.

Fort Pulaski, November 26.

Nothing from the enemy. We can see them constantly communicating with the shore by small boats. There are two propellers and one large side-wheel steamer, which lie off the point in full sight of the fort, and a smaller one that comes and goes constantly between them and a squadron of three vessels lying outside. The United States flag is flying from the light-house, and also from a flagstaff in the old parade-ground formerly used by our troops. Commodore Tatnall, with a portion of the mosquito fleet, is lying about the fort, no doubt chafing under the restraint his limited means impose.

The enemy have established their pickets all around Tybee, as far up as King's Landing. The general impression below is that the Yankees are concentrating their forces, and that as soon as they get a few more vessels over the bar they intend making an attack on Fort Pulaski. The movements of the enemy during the past few days indicate a purpose on their part to get control of this port.

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