Doc. 206. the schooner “E. Withington.”The following particulars of the capture of the schooner is taken from a letter dated Hilton Head, December 1st:
I received an invitation to go down to Tybee Light in steamer Ben Deford, and gladly accepted the opportunity to see the rebel country. Before starting, we took on board three hundred soldiers as guard, and started on Friday afternoon at four o'clock. We arrived off Tybee Light at dusk, and waited till morning to enter the channel and land the men. Next morning we got under way, and having anchored, prepared to disembark the men. While disembarking, we discovered a schooner with all sail set, steering dead on to the beach. Our captain immediately exclaimed, “That is a rebel schooner trying to run the blockade, and finding she cannot, the captain will beach her.” As soon as we had landed the men, the captain of the Ben Deford, young Deford of Baltimore, Pilot Norris, and myself, took a boat and started for the schooner. On landing and getting nearer, we met the captain of the rebel vessel in charge of a marine. The schooner proved to be the E. Withington, with a cargo of coffee. A little further on we met the mate, the same way, and on arriving at the schooner, found her to be, as we supposed, trying to run the blockade, and loaded with cigars, coffee, oranges, wines, olives, and a variety of small stores, which were immediately taken by our forces. I took four boxes of cigars and some oranges, and my friends did the same. This makes one of seven vessels which they have taken at this place within a short time. This finished our tour for Saturday. The soldiers then commenced to reconnoitre the island. All this time we were within gunshot of Fort Pulaski, and yet received no notice from it, and the rebel steamer Gordon was looking on. After lying here all night, we started this morning for Port Royal, and arrived here at nine o'clock A. M. After supper this evening I found Capt. Eldridge on the steamer Atlantic, with Messrs. Eben Bacon and Joseph Balch, President of the Boylston Insurance Office in Boston, and had a long talk with them, and received from them much information from home.H.