to the north of the fort. He reported that about 3 miles from the month of Moss Creek there was a depth of water sufficient for steamers drawing 7 feet at low water, and that from thence a causeway of 300 yards over the marsh might easily be made, and furnish a sure means of transportation, and thus avoid the losses and delays which had previously occurred in landing from the steamers into flats upon the beach.
From the point above indicated in Moss Creek flats were t o have been provided and stationed to convey the soldiers in case of emergency across the creek, thence by land to Station Creek, where other flats were to be placed for the same object as at Moss Creek. Landing at Saint Helena the transit to White Hall Ferry opposite Beaufort was comparatively safe.
On Hilton Head I also commenced repairing the wharf at Seabrook's Landing, on Skull Creek, with a view of transporting stores to Fort Walker when the weather was too boisterous to land them in in the surf. The completion of the wharf was prevented, however, by the unexpected attack of the enemy, though in its incomplete state it had already been put to successful use.
I succeeded, however, in obtaining from Charleston two flats and two troops boats, and from Savannah three large flats, capable of containing 150 men each, which reached Jenkins' Island Ferry in time to assist in embarking our troops on the night of the retreat. Three other smaller one were sent at the same time to While Hall Ferry, which assistant in performing the same good officers for Colonel Dunovan't command. The rest of the scheme, for want of time and flats, could not be carried out in the manner I intended.
For the purpose of sending messages between Forts Walker and Beauregard, and thence to my headquarters at Beaufort, I had prepared, by the assistance of Captain Lynah, another of my aides, a number of signal flags, the designs of which had already ben prepared and painted, and only needed a few more days to have been put into operations.
In alluding as I have to these matters I do not mean to reflect upon any person, or to say these pressing wants could have been supplied anterior to the period when I entered upon my new duties. My design has been to exhibit the condition in which I found my command, and to show that I have left no effort untried to improve it.
Notwithstanding the prompt measures adopted by Colonel Dunovant to effect his retreat in the direction of the Narrows, it is surprising that, with the knowledge possessed by the enemy (through Mr. Boutelle and others connected with the Coast Survey), his retreat had not been intercepted by gunboats passing up towards Beaufort, and mine by other steamers taking the passage up towards Skull Creek towards the ferry landing. Why they did not adopt this course must be left to time to explain.
Casualties.-The following is a correct list of killed, wounded, missing, and prisoners:
Command Killed Wounded Captured Missing Aggregat
Fort 10 20 .. .. 30
Fort .. 13 .. .. 13
15th 1 15 .. .. 16
Sick in .. .. 3 .. 3
Command .. .. .. 4 4
Total 11 48 3 4 66