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think will interest you-but I had to content | myself with a succinct account, which I think will be liked as well as a more detailed narrative. This I will, however, forward in time for the Secretary's report. I kept under way, and made three turns, though I passed five times between the forts. I had a flanking division of five ships to watch, and old Tatnall too, who had eight small and swift steamers ready to pounce upon any of ours, should they be disabled. I could get none of my big frigates up. I thought the Sabine would have gotten clear up to the St. Lawrence.

I sent no word, however, and the Savannah was blown off. I do not regret it now, except on their account. I believe my plan was clever. I stood against the tide, and had the management the better in consequence. Their fidence was extreme that they could drive us away. They fought bravely, and their rifle guns never missed. An eighty-pounder rifle ball went through our mainmast in the very centre, making an awful hole.

They aimed at our bridge, where they knew they could make a hole if they were lucky. A shot in the centre let water into the after magazine, but I saved a hundred lives by keeping under way and bearing in close. We found their sights graduated at six hundred yards. When they once broke, the stampede was intense, and not a gun was spiked. In truth, I never conceived of such a fire as that of this ship on her second turn, and I am told that its effect upon the spectators outside of her was intense.

on- atoms.

I learn that when they saw our flag on shore the troops were powerless to cheer, but wept. Gen. Sherman was deeply affected, and the soldiers are loud and unstinting in their expressions of admiration and gratitude. The works are most scientifically constructed, and there is nothing like Fort Walker on the Potomac. I did not allow the victory to check our ardor, but despatched some vessels under Capt. Gillis over the other side. To-day I have an expedition to Beaufort to save the light vessels, but they were fired instantly after the surrender. Beaufort is deserted.

The negroes are wild with joy and revenge. They have been shot down, they say, like dogs, because they would not go off with their masters. I have already a boat at Skull Creek, and the communication between Savannah and Charleston is cut off.


while the rain of fire from this ship (the Wabash) fell upon the fort with all the cool precision of target-practice.

During the action I looked carefully at the fort with a powerful spy-glass. Shell fell in it, not twenty-eight in a minute, but as fast as a horse's feet beat the ground in a gallop. The resistance was heroic-but what could flesh and blood do against such a fire? I watched two men particularly, in red shirts; I saw them seated at the muzzle of a gun, apparently waiting, exhausted, for more ammunition. They were so still that I doubted whether they were men. This terrible fire fell around them-I saw them move, and I knew they were men. They loaded the gun-a shell burst near them, and they disappeared-doubtless blown into

The Confederate forces were in an utter panic; they deserted every thing. Arms, tents, personal property were abandoned, and by men intent only upon safety, and spurred by overwhelming fear. I was for an hour with only a boat's crew in the camp. I found a sword, mounted in solid silver, hilt and scabbard, which proved to be a blade with two golden lines of Arabic writing, doubtless a Damascus blade, and an heir-loom. I presented it to Commodore Dupont, as his right, for he had taken it. In the same tent I found a soldier's new scarf, still in its box of pasteboard. This I beg you to accept. In Fort Beauregard I found another scarf; this is for —. -. It is a trophy, and, as such, worth as much as yours, though it is neither so large nor so new. found trunks enough to furnish a shop, most of them twenty-five dollar trunks, locked, and I collected them for the wounded or the prisoners, of whom I took only five; all the rest had gone. I captured a negro, but having given


U.S. STEAMER BIENVILLER him permission to deck himself in new clothes,

I lost him. He stayed too long for me to wait. Gen. Sherman said that he had no idea of such magnificent fighting, for the guns were eleven, ten, nine, and eight-inch guns, not horse artillery. The Wabash was awfully sublime in her destroying energy, and yet most cool precise and magnificently fearless.

The panic was wild, abject terror on the part

PORT ROYAL HARBOR, OFF FORT WALKER, Saturday, Nov. 9, 1861. We took this fort, mounting twenty-one guns, after a four-hours' fight. It was nobly done. The Wabash, which led, was carried along the shore by the soundings as close as possible. The soundings were given regularly, as upon an ordinary occasion; signals were made continually without a single mistake,

The Wabash was a destroying angel-hugging the shore; calling the soundings with cold indifference; slowing the engine, so as only to give steerage-way; signalling to the vessels their various evolutions; and at the same time raining shells, as with target-practice, too fast to count.

Commodore Dupont had kindly made me his aid. I stood by him, and I did little things which I suppose gained me credit. So when a boat was sent on shore to ask whether they had surrendered, I was sent. I carried the Stars and Stripes. I found the ramparts utterly desolate, and I planted the American flag upon those ramparts with my own hands-first to take possession, in the majesty of the United States, of the rebel soil of South Carolina.

of the "Southrons." Not a soldier had been, landed, because it had not been possible for them to get on shore, except at the batteries, and of course not until the batteries were taken. Yet men strewed the road for miles with muskets, blankets, and knapsacks. One company, of about sixty horsemen, abandoned their horses and fled for life, while no one pursued. So say the contrabands. I do not think the importance of our acquisition can be exaggerated. The channel is fair for any wind with southing in it, the only dangerous ones. It admits the largest class of vessels; it is easily defended; it is in the heart of South Carolina; it is twenty miles from Savannah, and thirty from Charleston; it has room enough for the navies of the world; it is a Fortress Monroe in South Carolina. Negroes are pouring in; they believe their condition is to be bettered. The white men have all fled. Vessels go up to Beaufort to-day.

This will be carried by Capt. Steedman, of the Bienville, who followed the Wabash into the thickest fight, and behaved very gallantly.

Beaufort has been taken by the gunboats, the town having been abandoned by the whites. The negroes were pillaging the town. They said the whites were shooting them right and left, in order to drive them back into the interior. A boat which came off to the Seneca said one man, giving his name, shot six of the JOHN ROGERS.



The following letter was received by the Secretary of the Union Defence Committee in the city of New York:

BEAUFORT HARBOR, S. C., November 9. DEAR SIR: The first result of the expedition to the Atlantic coast is the occupation of this harbor, the capture of Forts Walker and Beauregard the former mounting twenty-three and the latter sixteen guns, all of the heaviest calibre and most approved pattern for sea-coast defence -some of them rifled, and several of English manufacture, lately imported.

The rebel forces were commanded by General Drayton and Colonels Heywood and Ďunovant, (the latter was killed,) and consisted of the Ninth and Twelfth South Carolina regiments, composed of the "German Artillery," the "Beaufort Rangers," "Whippe Swamp Guards," the "Carlton Guards," and "Beaufort Guerillas."

After four hours' bombardment the rebels fled precipitately, leaving many of the sick, wounded, and killed, their entire camp equipage, ammunition, provisions, and personal effects. They escaped by means of small steamers plying in the creeks between the islands and mainland.

and achieving the above result on the 7th, is a
subject of congratulation. And I hope and
trust that it is an indication of the future prog-
ress of the national arms.
Very truly, yours,


The Stars and Stripes are again planted in South Carolina, never to be removed.

When it is considered that the fleet was dispersed in the terrific gale of the 1st and 2d, and a number of vessels lost, their coming together VOL. III.-Doc. 9


The subjoined private letter was addressed to his father in Washington, by a non-commissioned officer on board the United States steamer "Pocahontas," commanded by the gallant Captain Drayton, in the action:


We were to have left Hampton Roads on the 25th October, but did not make a start until the 29th. The fleet consisted of eighteen menof-war and thirty-eight transports, carrying twelve thousand troops, as near as I could find out. The day after we sailed we had a pretty stiff gale, which lasted about two days. The fourth day out was a very fine one; but about twelve M. on the 1st the wind began to increase, and at sundown it blew a perfect hurricane in strength-a regular snorting southwester-and lasted four days, the severest I have ever experienced. It blew us out into the Gulf Stream, and we had to be very saving with our coal, as we carried but a sufficiency to last us twelve days.

We reached the coast off the mouth of Savannah River yesterday morning, and made a sail in the offing with a Confederate steamer in chase of her, but as soon as she saw that we were a "mudsill," she turned and made tracks for the river again. The sail proved to be a schooner loaded with coal, and had been parted from the fleet during the blow. We immediately took her in tow, and commenced coaling from her by means of our boats. I was on board of the schooner in charge of the coaling party, when, about nine o'clock, we heard some heavy firing to the north of us. We dropped the schooner in double quick, ran up to see the fun, and were just in time.

Ás the entrance to this place is very difficult, we had to go very slow and feel our way. We did not get a chance for a shot until near noon, but in the mean time we put every thing ready for action-rigging stoppered, decks sanded down, fires put out, and pumps rigged, in fact every thing that could be thought of, "to give them Hatteras."

In the mean time Capt. Dupont was pitching into two batteries-one on the right and one on the left bank of the river-with the Wabash, Susquehanna, Seminole, Pawnee, Mohican, and several of the gunboats. But when the old "Pocahontas" arrived, the others had to stand back and give us a chance with our big teninch. I could not help admiring the conduct of the Confederates, for though they had stood it for more than two hours before we arrived, they stood it for more than two afterward.

Our captain is a hero; he is one of the most | tomac River, and telling them to look out for quiet and active men I ever saw. our fleet at this place.

The battery on our left was a very strong one, mounting about thirty guns, three of them rifled; besides, they had a fortified camp. Their first shot took out a large piece from our mainmast, hurting it so badly that we shall have to get a new one; and the rest of their shot cut some of our rigging; but that can be soon repaired. Our first shells fell right in their camp, and the slaughter must have been dreadful. A shot from our ten-inch put a hole in their "stars and bars;" another took down the flag-staff; but the "Confeds" ran another up pretty quickly; but it was a doomed piece of bunting. The "Forbes" fired with her rifled gun, and the ball, catching the flag, wound it around and carried it off into the woods. About half-past four we saw the secessionists moving off in "treble-double quick." Luring this engagement we had a very exposed position.

Our captain went on board of the flag-ship last night, and was immediately recognized by two contrabands, the property of his brother, who built and commanded the fort which has just fallen into our hands; and he (our captain) is the only Union man of his family; but I can assure you that he is a family of himself, and of course he makes up the loss.


After raising our upon the fort to the left hand, we stood over and commenced upon the one on our right, but the Commodore signalled cease firing," so of course we had to range up alongside, when the following conversation took place between our captain and the Commodore: "I am very glad to see you, Captain Drayton. I knew that you would be here in good time. You have had a hard time of it, I suppose? "Yes, sir; pretty hard." The Commodore then said that our ship "got there at the right time, took the best and most exposed position, fired the best shots of any vessel in the fleet, and, in fact, fired the best shots he had ever seen." This, I think, was very complimentary.


During the night the rebels deserted the battery on our right, and consequently left us in complete possession. About half-past five o'clock the American flag was raised on the battery. At half-past seven the troop-steamers came in. They cheered us, and we cheered them, and so on, for about one hour. The Susquehanna's band struck up the "Star-Spangled Banner," and followed it with "Dixie's Land;" and I can assure you that the "Star-Spangled Banner never sounded as beautifully to me as it did last night.


The following is an extract from a letter in the hands of one of the Wabash's men, and was read by me:

After seeing that the Stars and Stripes were floating over the enemy's fort, we proceeded up the river about ten miles on a scouting expedition.

PORT ROYAL, November 3, 1861. DEAR BROTHER: I wrote to mother and sister week before last, saying that I hoped to be with them at home soon, but day before yesterday Colonel Mayfield received orders to fortify this place, as Lincoln's fleet of fifty-two vessels had sailed for this port, and would be here soon. * * * We can give shell two to one, and hot and cold shot in quantities to suit. We are all ready for them, and will give a good account of ourselves to the Yankees. I will write to you next week, and give you an account of the fight, the number of prisoners, and the list of vessels destroyed. Truly yours,



Charleston, S. C.

I must close by asking God's blessing and protection for us all, and return devout thanks to them for bringing this fight to an end with so little bloodshed. Your affectionate son, OWEN.

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The following is an extract from a private letter of an officer of the gunboat Unadilla:

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Too much praise cannot be given to Mr. Marsland. It was a great piece of work, and if it had not been for him we would not have been able to participate in the glorious battle that has resulted in a splendid naval victory. To make a long story short, he is perfect master of his profession in my opinion, second to none, and so considered by all on board the Unadilla.

On the morning of the 7th November at nine. o'clock the signal was made from the flag-ship The rebels did not even carry away their to get under way, a signal we had been watchwatches and letters. Among the letters was ing anxiously for some time. I never saw an one from Josiah Tatnall, apprising them of the anchor come up livelier in my life. We then departure of our fleet, the number of the ves- started up the bay in the following order: sels, and even the names of them. It was Wabash, Susquehanna, Seminole, Mohican, founded on information received from the Po-Pawnee, Unadilla, Ottawa, Seneca, Pembina,

Augusta, Bienville, Curlew, Penguin, Pocahon- them like hail. We expected to be ordered tas, Isaac Smith, and R. B. Forbes. The two home to repair our engine, but the Commodore batteries are called Forts Beauregard and says he wants us to do a little more fighting Walker. The former on the right, on Bay Point, first. So we say we will go it with a stick of the other on the left, on Hilton Head. The wood engine, as Marsland calls it. former mounting eighteen guns, and the other twenty-two, and big ones, too-ten-inch columbiads and eighty pounders, rifled.

We commenced on Fort Beauregard and so round to Fort Walker, keeping under weigh and going round, first one fort and then the other. The ball opened at ten o'clock, and a warm ball it was. It lasted four and three-quarter hours, and I may safely say that four hours of it was a hard-fought battle. One vessel was struck seven times, but, thank God, no one hurt.

One shot knocked the mainboom to flinders, just grazing the men's heads at the wheel, and showering the splinters all over the quarterdeck. One struck the vessel right abreast of my gun, eighteen inches below water, causing her to leak. Another cut away the main-stay, and so on. The officers say that it was the cause of getting the ship peppered so, for I gave it to them so sharp with "Old Rail Splitter," that they paid particular attention to us when they got a chance. At one time there was one continual buzz over my head of shot and shell going through the air. I think I can hear them


They fought well while they did fight, giving it to us on both sides at once. But it appeared to me as if every one in the fleet thought that the country depended upon him, and we piled it into them awfully. At half-past two o'clock they ceased firing, the Unadilla claiming the honor of firing the last shot at them.

At three, a boat from the Wabash, under Captain Rogers, landed and planted our glorious Stars and Stripes on the soil of the State that was the first to knock it down. As soon as it was raised I suppose you can imagine what followed. The air was rent with cheers-cheer after cheer-actually deafening.

Our insulted flag was vindicated. This is a great victory. I don't think you will be troubled any more with any thing about Bull Run, for it was not a circumstance to the stampede that took place here. I almost think they are running yet. They left every thing-clothes, muskets, revolvers, swords, all their camp equipage, fowling pieces; never even spiked their guns. Some were loaded, but they could not even stop long enough to fire them. To-day, the large town of Beaufort, fifteen miles from here, is entirely deserted-not a white man in it, and very few blacks.

Oh! what a glorious victory, and exclusively naval. The army had nothing to do with it. They lay off in the transports, a long distance, until after we had taken the place, and the "Gridiron," that emblem that every true American should be proud of, was flying over it. Consequently, no General Butler about this, like Hatteras." The men at my gun fought like Trojans, and the shot and shell flew about


We are ready for another brush. I tell you what it is, these 11-inch pills don't agree very well with their digestive organs. I consider this victory the forerunner of the death of secession. In other words, the country saved-our dear, beloved country.

I cannot say where we are bound to next. I cannot see any more fighting to be done here, as the whole district is whipped. Our boys are already spoiling for another fight. My opinion is the enemy is panic-stricken, and will be mighty careful how they tackle the navy again.



The battle of Port Royal will be remembered as one of the best fought and best conducted battles which have signalized the war in which we are engaged. If Gen. Ripley had been appointed a general in command two months sooner, every thing would have been in a better state of preparation. But these two previous months were wasted in doing nothing for our defence. Within the time left to him, Gen. Ripley did all that untiring energy and skill could accomplish, to put our coast in a state of preparation. The two islands of Hilton Head and Bay Point, with their extreme limits, constitute the two points which guard the entrance to Port Royal Sound, about three miles in width. On these two points two forts were erected-Fort Walker on Hilton Head, and Fort Beauregard on Bay Point. The time we possessed enabled us to make them only earthworks, without any protection from shells or bombs.

The island of Hilton Head was commanded

by Gen. Drayton. The officers immediately superintending the artillery and conducting the fire of Fort Walker, were Col. Wagoner, Major Arthur Huger, and Capt. Yates, of the regular service, especially detailed by Gen. Ripley to aid in directing the artillery. Col. Dunovant commanded at Fort Beauregard, but he generously allowed Capt. Elliott, of the Beaufort artillery, to direct and conduct the batteries of the fort. The day was beautiful-calm and clear, with scarcely a cloud in the heavensjust such a day as our invaders would have ordained, if they could, to carry on their operations. In such a sketch of the battle as, amid the excitement and the thousands of baseless rumors, we are enabled to present to our readers, a brief review of the earlier events of this memorable week will not be uninteresting.

The great fleet of the enemy passed our bar on Sunday, the 3d inst., and on the following day was anchored off Port Royal entrance. About four o'clock on Monday afternoon, Commodore Tatnall, with his "musketo fleet," ran out from the harbor and made the first hostile demonstration. The immense armada of the invaders, numbering at that time, thirty-six

vessels, was drawn up in line of battle; and as ing a broadside to Fort Beauregard as she reour little flotilla steamed up to within a mile of passed. Then the battle was continued, the them and opened its fire, the scene was an in- enemy's vessels sailing in an elliptical course, spiriting one, but almost ludicrous in the dis-pouring one broadside into Bay Point, and then parity of the size of the opposing fleets. The sweeping around to deliver the other against enemy replied to our fire almost immediately. Hilton Head. This furious fire from four hunAfter an exchange of some twenty shots, Com- dred guns, many of them the eleven-inch Dahlmodore Tatnall retired, and was not pursued. gren pattern, and some even thirteen-inch bore, (for a sabot of that diameter was found in Fort Beauregard,) was maintained incessantly, and the roar of the cannonade seemed continuous.

Meanwhile our garrisons were making a gallant defence. They kept up a vigorous and well-directed fire against their assailants, and, notwithstanding that their best gun was dismounted at the beginning of the action, they succeeded in setting fire to several of the ships. Whenever this happened, however, the enemy would haul off and soon extinguish the flames. The effect of our guns was, in many instances, plainly visible from the forts. Although the sides of the Minnesota are of massive strength, several of her ports were knocked into one. Nor was she the only vessel upon which this evidence of the power of our fire could be seen. Many of the other steamers were likewise badly hulled.

About seven o'clock on Tuesday morning, several of the largest Yankee war steamers having come within range, the batteries of Forts Walker and Beauregard were opened, and the steamers threw a number of shells in over our works, inflicting no damage on Fort Walker, and but slightly wounding two of the garrison of Fort Beauregard. This engagement lasted, with short intervals, for nearly two hours, when the enemy drew off. The steamers made a similar but shorter reconnoissance on Wednesday evening, but without any important results. On the next day the weather was rough, and the fleet lay at anchor five or six miles from shore. During the day several straggling transports came up, swelling the number of vessels to forty-one, All Tuesday night, and all day Wednesday and Wednesday night, our men stood at their guns, momentarily expecting an attack, and obtaining only such scanty rest and refreshment as chance afforded.

After some time spent in sailing round and delivering their broadsides in rotation, in the manner we have described, the enemy's steamers adopted another and more successful attack. One of them took a position inside the harbor so as to enfilade the batteries of Fort Walker, while several opened a simultaneous enfilading fire from the outside. Besides this terrific cross-fire, two of the largest steamers maintained the fire in front of the fort. Thus three furious converging streams of shot and shell were rained amongst the brave little garrison for hours. The vessels came up within a half mile of the shore, but nearly all our guns had, by this time, become dismounted, and were no longer able to reply with serious effect.

Soon after eleven o'clock, the batteries of Bay Point were silenced. The fire of Fort Walker, as far as the guns that remained were concerned, was not a whit slackened until one o'clock. By that time the dreadful condition of the fort became too apparent to be disregarded longer. The guns lay in every direction, dismantled and useless; the defences were ter

of Fort Beauregard, on the other side of the en-ribly shattered; the dead and dying were to be trance, also opened their fire. The enemy at seen on every side, and still the iron hail poured first did not reply. But as the second steamer pitilessly in. came opposite to Fort Walker, the hulls of the first three were suddenly wrapped in smoke, and the shot and shell of three tremendous broadsides, making, in all, seventy-five guns, came crashing against our works

From this moment the bombardment was incessant and terrific; one by one the propellers bore down upon our forts, delivered their fire as they passed, until nine had gained the interior of the harbor, beyond the range of our guns. The Minnesota, still followed by the others, then turned round and steamed slowly out, giv

Thursday dawned gloriously upon our wearied, but undaunted gunners, and all felt that the day of trial had at last arrived. Scarcely had breakfast been despatched, when the hostile fleet was observed in commotion. The great war steamers formed rapidly in single file, and within supporting distance of each other, the frigate Wabash, the flag-ship of Com. Dupont, in the van. As the long line of formidablelooking vessels, thirteen in number, most of them powerful propellers, with a few sailing men-of-war in tow, swept rapidly and majestically in, with ports open and bristling with guns of the heaviest calibre, the sight was grand and imposing. This was at half-past eight o'clock. Until the Minnesota came within the range of, and directly opposite our batteries on Hilton Head, all was still. Suddenly the fifteen heavy guns of Fort Walker, which had been aimed directly at the huge frigate, belched forth their simultaneous fire, and the action was begun.

Almost immediately afterward, the batteries

In this strait it was determined to abandon the fort. A long waste, about a mile in extent, and commanded by the enemy's guns, intervened between the garrison and the woods. Across this they were ordered to run for their lives, each man for himself, the object being to scatter them as much as possible, so as not to afford a target for the rifled guns of the fleet. The preparations for running this perilous gauntlet were soon made. Knapsacks were abandoned, but the men retained their muskets. Each of the wounded was placed in a blanket

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