my return to camp, after an absence of twenty-eight hours (my visit to the city being partly to see my sick family and party to make arrangements for the expedition), I found the first impediment in the way by the discovery of the whole plan being known and openly talked about among the planters; indeed, in several instances, under my own observation, they spoke of it in promiscuous assemblages as if it were an ordinary topic of conversation. Fearing the information would reach the enemy, I determined to act promptly. Captain Pope undertook to confer with the island planters and ascertain how many of them could be induced to co-operate with us. Here we have both experienced a great disappointment, as we have scarcely met with a man who was willing to lend his aid and the knowledge of navigation essential to the entrprise. The water transportation to Saint Helena would be in boats and flats by oars, occupying, under the most favorable circumstances of weather and tide, fully two hours. If cavalry were to be transported the flats would take horses with their riders, and I was unwilling, with my knowledge of the difficulty and danger of transporting cavalry in open water and in flats without aprons, to risk any horses and men but those belonging to Captain Tripp's company, in which the troopers and horses are accustomed to such mode of transportation. I regret to be obliged to inform you that with two or three exceptions this company refused to volunteer. Having no infantry, I was thus left to the volunteers from my command. I have purposely avoided calling on them until the expedition was ripe for execution, but I have no doubt of being able to get the requisite number. As it was deemed expedient by you and Captain Pope, and I fully concurred in the opinion, that the movement should be simultaneous, I have not deemed it advisable to make the descent upon Port Royal until the remaining portion of the expedition was ready, especially as that island is still and is likely to continue accessible to us, the enemy not being in sight of it and not having drawn cotton and provisions from it up to this time. I have been obliged to make this full narration to inform you fully of the causes which have led to a suspension of our proceedings for the present.
This will be handed to you by Captain Pope, who will explain matters more fully. In the mean time I hope the circumstances will justify in your estimation the suspension we deem necessary. As soon as we are prepared to be successful we will use every exertion to carry out your orders in their spirit and letter.
I have the honor to be, general, yours, most respectfully,
WM. E. MARTIN,
Colonel Mounted Regiment.
CAMP NEAR POCOTALIGO, November 22, 1861.
Captain F. H. HARLESTON,
Aide-de-Camp, Charleston, S. C.:
CAPTAIN: On the 19th instant I submitted to General Ripley a detailed report of the causes which returned the execution of his order of [the] 16th, relative to an expedition to the islands in possession of the enemy. In that report I stated that Captain Pope, who was assigned to the command of one or more parties by General Ripley, had gone to headquarters to confer with the general relative to the further prosecution of the scheme, and I gave my reasons for awaiting the issue of their conference. I refer you to the communication for a full explanation.