The negroes all report that there are no troops this side of Garden's Corner. This party consisted of 20 men of the Eighth Michigan, under the command of Captain Ely.
From the observations made from the mast-heads of the gunboats and those made on the field, I estimate the force of the enemy at about 3,000 men, and from information obtained to-day they had 2,000 more within two hours' march. The force which I moved from the Adams house was about 2,500 men, which, with the command of Leasure and of Elliott, made by whole force 3,000.
I append the sub-reports; and, in conclusion, I hope the general commanding may be gratified with our celebration of New Year's Day.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient,
ISAAC I. STEVENS,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Land Forces.
Captain L. H. PELOUZE,
Assistant Adjutant-General Exped'y Corps, Port Royal, S. C.
No. 3. Report of Colonel William M. Fenton, Eighth Michigan Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH MICHIGAN REGIMENT,
Main-land, Port Royal Ferry, January 1, 1862-8 p.m.
SIR: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with your order, this regiment was safely landed at the Adams house, on main-land, having effected the crossing in flat-boats from Brick-yard Point, Port Royal Island, and took up the line of march towards the enemy's battery at this place at 1 o'clock p.m. On our approach towards the ferry we were ordered to attack as skirmishers a masked battery which opened fire on us from the right. I immediately detached the first two and the tenth companies, and directed their march to the left and front of the battery. This was followed by four additional companies to the right and front. The fire of the battery with shells continued on our line until the skirmishers reached the right, when it was turned on them, and on their approach, right left, and front, to within 50 to 100 yards of the enemy's position, a fire of musketry was opened upon them. The force of the enemy as well as the battery was concealed to a considerable extent by trees, brush, and underwood, but appeared to consist of two mounted howitzers, supported by a regiment or more of infantry and some cavalry. The skirmishers were measurably protected in brush returned by volleys of musketry and shells of the battery. Our fire was well directed and seemed to be effective. One mounted officer, who appeared to be very active, was seen to fall from his horse, at which the troops on the enemy's right were thrown into confusion. Their position seemed to be chaining to the rear, and as our skirmishers were called off and the regiment formed in line the enemy's fire ceased. The regiment was then marched to its position in line of battle in rear of the fort at this point. Lieutenant-Colonel Graves led on the left and Major Watson the right of skirmishers. The major, in leading on his line, received a severe flesh wound in the leg. I have the report that officers and men behaved with admirable bravery and coolness.