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The ground over which they fled was strewn with the arms of private soldiers, and the officers retired in too much haste to submit to the incumbrance of their swords. Landing my marines, and a company of seamen, I took possession of the deserted ground, and held the forts on Hilton Head till the arrival of Gen. Sherman, to whom I had the honor to transfer their command.
were works of strength, and scientifically con- | doned without an attempt to carry away either structed. On the evening of Monday, Captain public or private property. Davis and Mr. Boutelle reported water enough for the Wabash to venture in. The responsibility of hazarding so noble a frigate was not a light one, over a prolonged bar of over two miles. There was but a foot or two of water to spare, and the fall and rise of the tide are such that if she had grounded she would have sustained most serious injury from straining, if not totally lost. Too much, however, was at stake to hesitate, and the result was entirely successful. On the morning of Tuesday, the Wabash crossed the bar, followed closely by the frigate Susquehanna, the Atlantic, Vanderbilt, and other transports of deep draft, running through that portion of the fleet already in. The safe passage of this great ship over the bar was hailed with gratifying cheers from the crowded vessels. We anchored, and immediately commenced preparing the ship for action. But the delay of planting the buoys, particularly on the Fishing Rip, a dangerous shoal we had to avoid, rendered the hour late before it was possible to leave with the attacking squadron.
In our anxiety to get the outline of the forts before dark, we stood in too near these shoals, and the ship grounded. By the time she was gotten off, it was too late, in my judgment, to proceed, and I made signals for the squadron to anchor out of gun-shot from the enemy. Today the wind blows a gale from the southward and westward, and the attack is unavoidably postponed.
I have the honor to be, sir, respectfully, your
We have captured forty-three pieces of cannon, most of them of the heaviest calibre and of the most improved design. The bearer of these despatches will have the honor to carry with him the captured flags and two small brass fieldpieces, lately belonging to the State of South Carolina, which are sent home as suitable trophies of the success of the day.
I enclose herewith a copy of the general order which is to be read in the fleet to-morrow morning at muster.
A detailed account of this battle will be submitted hereafter.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, S. F. DUPONT, Flag-officer Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. P. S.-The bearer of despatches will also carry with him the first American ensign raised upon the soil of South Carolina, since the rebellion broke out. S. F. D.
PORT ROYAL BAY, Nov. 8, 1861.
GENERAL ORDER, No. 2.—It is the grateful duty of the Commander-in-Chief to make a public acknowledgment of his entire commendation of the coolness, discipline, skill, and gallantry displayed by the officers and men under his command in the capture of the batteries at Hilton's Head and Bay Point, after an action of four hours' duration.
Smart, first class boy. Wounded slightly, two- | squadron, ever fitted out under that flag, which Patrick Dwyer and Samuel Holbrook, second you have so gallantly vindicated, and which you grade. will bear onward to continued success.
Pawnee-Killed, two-John Kelly, Orderly Sergeant, and Wm. H. Fitzhugh, first class boy. Wounded slightly, three-Alfred Washburne, Master's Mate; Jacob House, ordinary seaman, and Patrick Quinn, ordinary seaman.
Mohican-Killed, one-John A. Whittemore, Third Assistant Engineer. Wounded seriously, three-W. Thompson, Isaac Seyburn, Acting Master, and Sherman Bascom, ordinary seaman. Wounded slightly, four-Mayland Cuthbert, Third Assistant Engineer; John O. Pittman, Master's Mate; John W. Townsend, ordinary seaman, and Charles Browne, ordinary seaman. Bienville-Killed, two-Patrick McGuigan and Alexander Chambers. Wounded slightly, three-Peter Murphy, Alexander Ferey, and
Seminole-A few slightly wounded. The number not reported. TOTAL-Killed, wounded slightly, 17.
8; wounded severely, 6;
I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant, S. F. DUPONT, Flag-officer Commanding United States Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
FLAG-SHIP WABASH, OFF, NUTON HEAD' }
Nov. 9, 1861.
Hon. Gideon Welles:
SIR: Since writing my official despatches, I have sent gunboats to take possession of Beaufort and to protect the inhabitants; but I regret to say they have fled and the town is abandoned to the negroes, who are reported to me as in a lawless condition. The light vessels which I hoped to have made use of, were destroyed on the desertion of the forts by the rebels. The post-offices were visited, and a number of docuinents, letters, &c., obtained. I have covered Scull Creek, the mouth of Broad River, and have cut off this communication between Charleston and Savannah.
LETTER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR. NAVY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, Nov. 16. SIR: It is with no ordinary emotion that I tender to you and your command, the heartfelt congratulations and thanks of the Government and the country, for the brilliant success achieved at Port Royal.
In the war now waging against the GovernIment in this most causeless and unnatural rebellion that ever afflicted a country, high hopes have been indulged in the navy, and great confidence reposed in its efforts.
The result of the skill and bravery of yourself and others, has equalled and surpassed our highest expectations. To you and your associates, under the providence of God, we are indebted for this great achievement by the largest
On the receipt of your despatches, announcing the victory at Port Royal, the Department issued the enclosed general order, which with this letter you will cause to be read to your command. I am, sir, your obedient servant, GIDEON WELLES. Flag-officer SAMUEL F. DUPONT, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Port Royal, S. C.
to the country its high gratification at the brilThe Department announces to the navy and liant success of the combined navy and army forces, respectively commanded by Flag-officer S. F. Dupont, and Brigadier-General T. W. Sherman, in the capture of Forts Walker and Beauregard, commanding the entrance to Port Royal harbor, South Carolina. To commemorate this signal victory, it is ordered that a national salute be fired from each navy-yard, at meridian, on the day after the reception of
REPORT OF MAJOR REYNOLDS.
SIR: I have the honor to report that the marine battalion under my command, left Hampton Roads on the transport steamboat Governor, on the morning of Tuesday, the 29th of October, with the other vessels of the fleet, and continued with them, near the flag-ship Wabash, until Friday, the 1st November.
On Friday morning, about ten o'clock, the wind began to freshen, and by twelve or one blew so violently we were obliged to keep her head directly to the wind, and thereby leave the squadron, which apparently stood its course. Throughout the afternoon the gale continued to increase, though the Governor stood it well until about four o'clock. About this time we were struck by two or three very heavy seas, which broke the port hog-brace in two places, the brace tending in-board.
This was immediately followed by the breaking of the hog-brace on the starboard side. By great exertions on the part of the officers and men of the battalion, these braces were so well stayed and supported, that no immediate danger was apprehended from them. Up to this time the engine worked well. Soon after the bracechains, which supported the smoke-stack, departed, and it went overboard. Some three feet of it, above the hurricane deck, remained, which enabled us to keep up the fires.
Soon after the loss of the smoke-stack, the steam-pipe burst. After this occurrence we were unable to make more than fourteen pounds of steam, which was reduced, as soon as the engine commenced working, to from three to five pounds. The consequence was, we had to stop the engine frequently in order to increase the head of steam. At this period the steamer was making water freely, but was
easily kept clear by the pumps of the engine, whenever it could be worked. About five o'clock we discovered a steamer, with a ship in tow, which we supposed to be the Ocean Queen. To attract attention we sent up rockets, which signal she answered. When our rockets (six in all) were gone, we kept up a fire of musketry for a long time, but the sea running high, and the wind being violent, she could render us no assistance. She continued on her course in sight, the greater part of the night. About three o'clock Saturday morning the packing around the cylinder head blew out, rendering the engine perfectly useless for some time. The engine was finally put in running order, although it worked very slowly. The rudder chain was carried away during the night. The water gained constantly on us, and the boat labored violently.
At every lurch we apprehended the hog brace would be carried away, the effect of which would have been to tear out the entire starboard side of the boat, collapse the boiler, and carry away the wheel-house. Early in the morning the rudder-head broke, the engine was of very little use, the water still gaining on us rapidly, and we entirely at the mercy of the wind. It was only by the untiring exertions of our men that we were kept afloat. Nearly one hundred of them were kept constantly pumping and baling, and the rest were holding fast the ropes which supported the hog-braces.
then stood for the frigate, made signals of distress, and returned. The frigate soon came into view, and hope once more cheered the hearts of all aboard the transport. Between two and three o'clock the United States frigate Sabine (Capt. Ringgold) was within hail, and the assurance given that all hands would be taken on board. After a little delay the Sabine came to anchor. We followed her example, and a hawser was passed to us. It was now late in the day, and there were no signs of an abatement of the gale. It was evident that whatever was to be done for our safety, must be done without delay. About eight or nine o'clock the Sabine had paid out enough chain to bring her stern close to our bow. Spars were rigged out over the stern of the frigate, and every arrangement made for whipping our men on board, and some thirty men were rescued by this means. Three or four hawsers and an iron stream cable were parted by the plunging of the vessels. The Governor at this time had about three feet of water, which was rapidly increasing. It was now evidently intended by the commanding officer of the Sabine to get the Governor alongside and let our men jump from the boat to the frigate. In our condition this appeared extremely hazardous. It seemed impossible for us to strike the frigate without instantly going to pieces. We, however, were brought alongside, and some forty men succeeded in getting on board the frigate. One was crushed to death between the frigate and the steamer in attempting to gain a foothold on the frigate. The port bow of the Governor struck the starboard quarter of the frigate, and carried away about twenty feet of the hurricane deck from the stem to the wheelhouse. The sea was running so high, and we being tossed so violently, it was deemed prudent to slack up the hawser and let the Governor fall astern of the frigate, with the faint hope of weathering the gale till morning. All our provisions and other stores, indeed every movable article, were thrown overboard, and the water-casks started to lighten the vessel. From half-past three until daybreak the Governor floated in comparative safety, notwithstanding the water was rapidly gaining on her. At daybreak preparations were made for sending boats to our relief, although the sea was running high; and, it being exceedingly dangerous for a boat to approach the guards of the steamer in consequence, the boats lay off and the men were obliged to jump into the sea, and then be hauled into the boats. All hands were thus providentially rescued from the wreck, with the exception, I am pained to say, of one corporal and six privates, who were drowned or killed by the crush or contact of the vessels. Those drowned were lost through their disobedience of orders in leaving the ranks or abandoning their posts.
After the troops were safely reembarked, every exertion was directed to securing the arms, accoutrements, ammunition, and other
Toward morning the weather, which during the night had been dark and rainy, seemed to brighten, and the wind to lull. At daybreak two vessels were seen on our starboard bow, one of which proved to be the United States steamer, Isaac P. Smith, commanded by Lieutenant W. A. Nicholson, of the navy. She descried our signal of distress, which was ensign half-mast, union down, and stood for us. About ten o'clock we were hailed by the Smith, and given to understand that, if possible, we should all be taken on board. A boat was lowered from her, and we were enabled to take a hawser. This, through the carelessness of Capt. Litchfield of the Governor, was soon cast off or unavoidably let go. The water was still gaining on us, the engines could be worked but little, and it appeared that our only hope of safety was gone. The Smith now stood off, but soon returned, and by one o'clock we had another hawser from her, and were again in tow. A sail, (the propeller bark Young Rover,) which had been discovered on our starboard bow during the morning, was soon within hailing distance. The captain proffered all the assistance he could give, though at the time he could do nothing, owing to the severity of the weather. The hawser from the Smith again parted, and we were once more adrift. The Young Rover now stood for us again, and the captain said he would stand by us till the last, for which encouragement he received a heartfelt cheer from the men. He also informed us a large frigate was ahead, standing us. He
property which might have been saved after lightening the wreck, and I am gratified in being able to say, nearly all the arms were saved, and about half the accoutrements.
The knapsacks, haversacks, and canteens were nearly all lost. About ten thousand rounds of cartridges were fortunately saved, and nine thousand lost.
Since being on board of this ship, every attention has been bestowed by Capt. Ringgold and his officers, toward recruiting the strength of our men and restoring them to such a condition as will enable us to take the field at the earliest possible moment.
Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the officers and men under my command-all did nobly. The firmness with which they performed their duty is beyond all praise. For forty-eight hours they stood at the ropes and passed water to keep the ship afloat. Refreshments in both eating and drinking were passed to them at their posts by non-commissioned officers. It is impossible for troops to have conducted themselves better under such trying circumstances. The transport continued to float some three hours after she was abandoned, carrying with her when she sunk, I am grieved to say, company books and staff returns. In order to complete the personnel of the battalion, I have requested Captain Ringgold to meet a requisition for seven privates, to which he has readily assented.
I considered this requisition in order, as I have been informed by Captain Ringgold, it is his intention, or orders were given for his ship to repair to a northern port, in which event lie can easily be supplied, and my command, by the accommodation, rendered complete in order to meet any demand you may make for our services. Under God, we owe our preservation to Captain Ringgold and the officers of the Sabine, to whom we tender our heartfelt thanks for their untiring labors while we were in danger, and their unceasing kindness since we have been on board the frigate.
This report is respectfully submitted.
OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER, E. C.,
Head Island, or so much thereof as I could examine, returning to head-quarters on the same day, I have to report a completion of the day's operations under the escort promised to me, to wit, the Seventh Connecticut regiment, nine hundred strong, Col. Terry commanding.
The regiment was placed at my disposal at eleven o'clock A. M., when I at once set out upon the reconnoissance, the principal object of which was to proceed across the island to Seabrook, on Shale Creek, a distance of six miles by the nearest practicable route, and locate suitable positions for batteries, to control the inland water communications by way of Skull Creek, between Savannah and Charleston.
About three hundred of them, with some wounded, passed over the road last night, about the time we were disembarking. They were under the influence of a terrible panic-knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, cartridge-boxes, &c., &c., were found scattered over the road, and on the wharf at Seabrook, where the hasty embarkation took place. We also found at the landing a number of rifled muskets and bayonets. There is, near the wharf, some in store and some outside, a considerable quantity, say fifteen or eighteen large wagon-loads of valuable commissary supplies, such as bacon, hard bread, sugar, rice, corn, vinegar, &c. We brought back two wagon loads of these articles, which Colonel Terry will account for. Had my
REPORT OF CAPT. GILMORE.
The following is Capt. Gilmore's report of orders admitted of it, I would have remained the first reconnoissance of Hilton Head: at Seabrook with half the escort, until boats could have been despatched from head-quarters Official Document.-First Reconnoissance of Hilton under convoy, to bring off the commissary Head Island, S. C., made on Friday, Nov. 7, 1861, stores. At Seabrook, an excellent position for by Capt. Q. A. Gilmore, Chief Engineer E. C., escorted by the Seventh Connecticut Regiment, above the level of the river, to sweep and cona battery, elevated some twelve or fifteen feet Col. Terry. trol the Skull Creek channel, has been selected. The river at that point is about one-fourth of a mile inside, and is skirted on the further side by a marsh which enlarges the distance between the firm ground on the opposite shore to half a mile, or a little more.
Brig.-Gen. Wright, Commanding Forces on
SIR: In obedience to your directions of this date, to proceed on a reconnoissance of Hilton
As no advance had been made from our position on Hilton Head since we came in possession yesterday evening, and as nothing certain was known of the position and movements of the enemy since he was driven from the work, I deemed it proper to exercise great caution against surprise, and accordingly requested Col. Terry to cover the advance of the main body of escort by skirmishers. Over a very considerable portion of the route we took to Seabrook Point, the one running through the woods beyond Gen. Drayton's plantations, as distinguished from the one near the shore, skirmishers could not be deployed, as both sides of the road are lined by an impenetrable jungle. Our progress was necessarily quite slow. We reached Seabrook Landing about two o'clock P. M., without encountering any of the enemy or any white person whatever. From what I can gather from negroes, there are no rebel troops on any of the northern portions of Hilton Head Island.
I caused soundings to be taken across the stream at half tide, finding two fathoms at the end of Seabrook wharf; three fathoms a short distance out, and a good five-fathom anchorage in the middle of the stream.
A battery of five or six heavy guns at Seabrook would be quite sufficient to close this inland water passage between Charleston and Savannah; but to secure it against a coup de main, I would recommend an enclosed work of strong relief, and of sufficient capacity for one thousand men, with guns on the gorge, and with suitable flanking arrangements, should be commenced immediately. It should mount fifteen guns at least, of all calibres. The route over which I passed is practicable for heavy artillery and heavy transportation generally, but materials can best be taken to Seabrook by water. The wharf there requires some repairs. On my return I increased the guard at General Drayton's plantation, at the request of the officer in charge there. I found no public property or papers at General Drayton's, with the exception of two letters, already in your possession.
There is no post-office at Seabrook. I have to acknowledge the cordial and efficient cooperation of Colonel Terry in carrying out the objects of the reconnoissance. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Q. A. GILMORE.
GENERAL SHERMAN'S PROCLAMATION
TO THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
After landing and taking possession of the forts, General Sherman issued the following proclamation:
war against your constitutional Government, and thus threatening the existence of a Government which you are bound, by the terms of the solemn compact, to live under and faithfully support. In doing this, you are not only undermining and preparing the way for totally ignoring your own political and social existence, but you are threatening the civilized world with the odious sentiment that self-government is impossible with civilized men.
To the People of South Carolina :
Carolinians: We have come among you as loyal men, fully impressed with our constitutional obligations to the citizens of your State; those obligations shall be performed as far as in our power-but be not deceived; the obligation of suppressing armed combinations against the constitutional authorities is paramount to all others. If, in the performance of this duty, other minor but important obligations should In obedience to the orders of the President be in any way neglected, it must be attributed of these United States of America, I have land- to the necessities of the case, because rights deed on your shores with a small force of National pendent on the laws of the State must be necestroops. The dictates of a duty which under thesarily subordinate to military exigencies, created Constitution I owe to a great sovereign Stato, by insurrection and rebellion. and to a proud and hospitable people among whom I have passed some of the pleasantest days of my life, prompt me to proclaim that we have come among you with no feelings of personal animosity; no desire to harm your ACCOUNTS BY OFFICERS ENGAGED IN THE citizens, destroy your property, or interfere with any of your lawful laws, rights, or your social and local institutions, beyond what the causes herein briefly alluded to, may render unavoidable.
Fellow-citizens: I implore you to pause and reflect upon the tenor and consequences of your acts. If the awful sacrifices made by the devastation of our property, the shedding of fraternal blood in battle, the mourning and wailing of widows and orphans throughout our land, are insufficient to deter you from further pursuing this unholy war, then ponder, I beseech you, upon the ultimate, but not less certain result, which its further progress must necessarily and naturally entail upon your once happy and prosperous State. Indeed, can you pursue this fratricidal war, and continue to imbrue your hands in the loyal blood of your countrymen, your friends, your kinsmen, for no other object than to unlawfully disrupt the confederacy of a great people, a confederacy established by your own hands, in order to set up, were it possible, an independent government, under which you can never live in peace, prosperity, or quietness?
T. W. SHERMAN, Brig. Gen. Commanding. Head-quarters, Port Royal, S. C., Nov. 8, 1861.
The following is a portion of a private letter from Flag-officer Dupont to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy :
Citizens of South Carolina: The civilized WABASH, PORT ROYAL, Nov. 9, 1861. world stands appalled at the course you are pur- MY DEAR MR. Fox: During the disheartensuing!-appalled at the crime you are commit-ing events of our passage, my faith never gave ting against your own mother; the best, the way, but at some moments it seemed appalling. most enlightened, and heretofore the most pros- On the other hand, I permitted no elation at perous of nations. You are in a state of active our success, yet I cannot refrain from telling rebellion against the laws of your country. You you that it has been more complete and brilhave lawlessly seized upon the forts, arsenals, liant than I ever could have believed. I have and other property belonging to our common been too fatigued to send a detailed official accountry, and within your borders, with this count of the battle. property, you are in arms and waging a ruthless
My report is full up to the eve of it, and I