War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0026 COASTS OF S. C., GA. AND MIDDLE AND EAST FLA. Chapter XV.

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as their condition imperatively demanded, and had I known the amount and nature of the store might have saved much public property, which has probably fallen into the hands of the enemy. I proceeded with the command to Port Ferry, and thence to this place, regarding the latter as an important point of defense, and at the same time on from which I could readily open communication to procure the necessary supplies for my command. In consequence of the intricacy and difficulty of the line of retreat, some officers and men, detained by their duties, lost their way, but all these have since rejoined their respective companies. There is but one man whom I am under the necessity of reporting as missing. As to the particulars of this case I refer you to the accompanying report of the efficient surgeon of the Twelfth Regiment, herewith submitted. Some muskets were left, but only those which had been drawn for enlisted men, who were at the time absent by reason of the serve epidemic which had thinned our ranks during the previous month.

No soldier threw away his arms. In regard to the manner in which the retreat was arranged and effected, justice to myself and others requires that I should add a word of explanation. Having received no instructions as to the mode in which the island of Bay Point should be defended, nor of the contingencies upon which it should be abandoned, with no arrangement for receiving orders, by means of signals or otherwise, from headquarters, and totally without information of any plan devised or facilities provided for the retreat of my command in case of disaster, I felt that these circumstances imposed upon me the obligation of endeavoring to secure some means of evacuating the island in the event such a step should become necessary. Accordingly, the state of facts above referred to continuing, on Tuesday I went in person to Captain Elliott, who perhaps was more familiar with the localities than any other person, and after learning from him, in answer to my inquiries, that a retreat was practicable through Eddigs's Island, if boasts and flats could be secured to take the forces across Station Creek, I instructed him to select some prudent and trusty person to superintend the collection of the necessary means of transportation at the landing on Edding's Island. The Rev. Stephen Elliott was chosen to discharge this important duty, and left on Thursday morning for that purpose. Fortunately Captain Thomas Hanckel, Mr. Henry Stuart, and Mr. W. H. Cuthbert, of Beaufort, had already secured a large number of flats at Dr. Jenkins' Landing, for the purpose of taking them to some point on Eddings' Island for our relief. Mr. Elliott informed them of the plan agreed upon, and thus, through the co-operation of these gentlemen and the valuable assistance of Captain Tripp and his command, the evacuation of the island was effected. I communicated the plan of retreat to none save Captain Elliott, the adjutant, and the quartermaster.

Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes, commanding the greater portion of the infantry, was prompt and energetic in executing the orders for the movements of his immediate command. From the nature of the attack the forces at Fort Beauregard were the only active participation in the engagement, the I cannot close this report without drawing special attention to the high qualities of the officer exhibited by Captain Elliott, commanding that work. Compelled from the necessities of our position to act the part of engineer, ordnance officer, and commander of the fort, he exhibited an energy and intelligence in preparing the batteries for the fight which were only equaled by the gallantry and firmness of the defense.

All the members of my staff did their duty. Adjutant Talley, Cap-