War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0092 COASTS OF S.C., GA., AND MIDDLE AND EAST FLA. Chapter XV.

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at the Robert Barnwell Landing, placed them under cover and with his 3 men and a negro guide started for the Combahee Ferry. He kept in the woods, passed within 40 or 50 rods of the pickets at the cross-roads, and pushed about 1 mile beyond there, where the country became so densely wooded and was so intersected by streams and marshes that Captain Ely was unable to proceed farther. He learned, however, that the principal force of the enemy, estimated at possibly 300 men, is stationed at Combahee Church, about 2 miles from the ferry, on the Garden's Corner road, and that to the left of the ferry there are two pieces of artillery, placed behind an earthwork and covered with pine brush.

On his return he proceeded to Bush Church, examined the country in its vicinity, and, favored by the woods in its immediate vicinity, passed entirely around it. At Bush Church he found only about 30 men, quartered in the church itself. They stationed pickets a quarter of a mile down toward the Chisolm Landing, on the Coosaw, and about the same distance up the road toward Port Royal Ferry. Their headquarters are some 1 1/2 miles in rear of the Adams Landing, and the force there is about the same as at Combahee Church.

Captain Ely also examined the country between Stuart's plantation and Bush Church. It consists of open woods and fields, and furnishes the best route to Bush Church from the river. At Stuart's troops should be landed to operate against Bush Church. The distance is only 1 mile. Edward Barnwell has a plantation a mile below Stuart's. All these plantations are on the right bank of the river. From Robert Barnwell's place a causeway leads to Buch Church. A wide gap has been made in it, through which boats can pass, and which compelled Captain Ely to make a long detour up the river to reach the latter place. Boats can go above Robert Barnswell's to Potter's.

Captain Ely could easily have surprised and captured the pickets at Bush Church, and both he and his command felt some inclination to attempt it. His instructions were, however, to get information, and he found no difficulty in controlling his command.

In the morning, before the break of day, Captain Ely returned to his men and boats, crossed back to the channel from whence he came undiscovered by any of the enemy, and returning came in sight of Field's Point, where he discovered a few men at work apparently repairing the fort, and on the left bank of the Combahee River were extensive rice fields on fire, which int he evening were visible at a long distance.

The enemy's force, as far as Captain Ely could learn, is in that direction very small at the present time. Many of the picket stations have been taken up lately. The Combahee Ferry is made passable by flats, so that teams pass over as on a bridge. Captain Ely reached Brick-yard Point on the morning of February 26, and was therefore absent two days and three nights.

The reconnaissance of Captain Ely does him great credit, and has resulted both in verifying and adding to the information already obtained. I have instructed him to continue his reconnaissances, looking particularly to the Ashepoo River. The above account is nearly in his own words, and I have adopted the above from in order to incorporate with the details of his written report details which I have gathered from him on a personal conference.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient.

ISAAC I. STEVENS,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Captain L. H. PELOUZE,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Eped'y Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.