steamer was lying alongside the island with two more guns evidently intended to be landed. All the persons seen at work here negroes.
The raft which is near this point I found to be between 600 and 800 feet long and from 20 to 30 feet wide, extending across the channel at this part of the river. Portions of the raft have been daubed with some substance, probably tar or pitch. On the entire raft there is perhaps as much as six or eight cords of what is commonly called cord-wood. This has become scattered about the raft in all directions, until now there are scarcely two sticks together in any one point. Four piles have been driven near the eastern end of the raft. I could see none on the western.
The pile-driver which was reported as being in the vicinity of the raft for about two weeks was doubtless at work driving piles at the Fort Jackson wharf, as I could plainly see that new piles ave been recently driven there. The map of the raft and fort will show my idea, but I am firmly convinced that this raft was never designed to be used for any purpose at any point below the north end of Elba Island. I am also of the opinion that it is not intended to moved from the present position except in case of an attack upon Fort Jackson. It is a harmless thing and very poorly gotten up.
I think that an addition has been made to the southerly end of Fort Jackson, as noted by the line A B C, on map No. 2. This seems to be a wall, I think, of square logs, the ends buried in the ground, and fitting very nicely together. The face A C has eight openings in it, and the face C B has sixteen openings and a door; these, I think, are for rifle purposes.
The barbette guns on the fort have been covered over with logs and dirt. In the rebel camp below Fort Jackson I should judge there are about 700 persons. No other camps could be seen between that and Augustine Creek, nor above the fort toward Savannah, nor are there any camps on the Carolina side between the causeway and Wright River, on the Savannah, except 12 men about one-half mile up the causeway.
The rebel camp near New River does not probably contain over 200 persons, as there were not fires for over that number.
On New River, at Box's, a bluff makes in, running about one-half mile on the river and thence extending back, according to the report of a negro on the place, to Bluffton. This is the only dry ground met on the right bank of New River, as far as I was enabled to observe.
On the left bank of the river, the first dry firm ground is met at Red Bank, extending along the river about 1 1/4 miles; a swamp borders this on the north, and this is followed by another bank of dry land, extending about three-fourths of a mile along the river. No more firm ground is met for 5 miles up the river. At Red Bank there is a beautiful open plain of about 600 acres; this is skirted by a wood, which continues until the swamp is again met, about 1 3/4 miles from the open plain. There are, however, some upland cotton plantations in this area.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. T. BEARD,
Major, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers.
Brigadier General THOMAS W. SHERMAN,
Commanding Expeditionary Corps.