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Port Royal Sound, expedition to

On the morning of Oct. 29, 1861, a land and naval armament left Hampton Roads for a destination known only to the officers. It was composed of fifty ships-ofwar and transports, commanded by Admiral S. F. Dupont, and 15,000 troops under Gen. T. W. Sherman. Dupont's flag-ship Wabash led the way out to sea, and each ship sailed under sealed orders, to be opened in case of the dispersion of the fleet. Off Cape Hatteras the fleet was so terribly smitten by a tempest that very soon only one vessel could be seen from the deck of the flag-ship. The sealed [264]

Map showing the position of Port Royal.

orders were opened, and each commander was ordered to rendezvous at Port Royal Sound, on the coast of South Carolina. There all but four transports that were lost were gathered on the evening of Nov. 4. No human life on the perished transports had been lost. The entrance to the sound, between Hilton Head and Phillip's Island, was guarded by the Confederates with a strong battery on each side—Forts Walker and Beauregard. Within the sound was a small Confederate flotilla, commanded by the veteran Commodore Tatnall, formerly of the United States navy. It was called the “Mosquito fleet.” The guns of the guarding forts were silenced, and on the morning of Nov. 7 Dupont's fleet passed into the sound and drove Tatnall's vessels into shallow water. The National forces took possession of Port Royal Island and the neighboring ones, and found them deserted by the planters and their families. Most of the slaves remained. They refused to follow their masters. Groups of them actually stood upon the shore with little bundles containing all their worldly possessions, ready to go on board the ships of the invaders, who, they had been told, were coming to steal or sell the negroes in Cuba, or to kill and bury them in the sound. In the conflict with the forts at the entrance of the sound Dupont

Plan of battle at Port Royal.

[265] had lost eight killed and twenty-three wounded. The Confederate officers reported their loss in both forts (Walker and Beauregard) at ten killed and forty wounded. Troops having taken possession of Hilton Head also, General Sherman went vigorously to work to strengthen the position. The Nationals held the islands and controlled Port Royal Sound until the end of the war.

Porto Rico

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