several small streams we came to the point of land, the extreme end of the island, looking towards the mouth of Wright River. On a point of land above the mouth of said river we saw a large shore-house, or factory, with the windows closed, and no signs of any picket, although 2 men were seen, apparently unarmed.
From this point we proceeded directly across the island to the opposite side. Here we found the ruins of two houses, with one high brick chimney standing. From this point we could look directly up a stream across which there seemed to be a bridge, with heavy, strong abutments, as if intended for guns to be placed upon. Upon these abutments men could be distinctly seen at work, but what they were doing or if guns were in position at this place we were unable to see, as the afternoon sun shone directly against us and, shining upon the water, impaired our view. Near the bridge, on the side towards us, were three steamers lying at anchor (these were black) and one white steamer under way inside of the bridge. On the right-land side were two vessels, schooner-rigged. It was impossible to tell whether they were steamer or sailing vessels. I then proceeded to the above-mentioned chimney, from which point I plainly saw houses, appearing to be store-houses, apparently filled with men, some of whom were distinctly seen lounging in the windows, but could see no signs of a battery. While resting ourselves, we saw a sail-boat well filled with men-some sailors and some soldiers, about 20 in all-leave one of the streamers and shape their course for this point. We at once proceeded to return to our boats. After a fatiguing tramp of one hour and a half one of the corporals who accompanied us saw a sail passing down the river. He reported the fact to me. We then ascertained that it was a boat from the steamer Western World, with Captain Gregory and Surgeon Moulton, of the New Hampshire Third, who were in search of us alongshore, thinking from our protracted absence we had lost our way. The captain immediately took us on board, and we proceeded to join the forces of my command, lying in boats at the lower end of the island.
On arriving there we found Major Bedel returned with the men of his command and 4 of those of mine. He reports that after crossing the island and proceeding up the southerly side opposite Saint Augustine Creek, on the upper point of which he discovered a picket of 5 men, they were within range, but his instructions were not to fire upon any pickets, but to keep themselves hidden. After traveling an hour and a half he found a stream, which it was impossible to cross. He followed the course of the stream inland until he reached the head of the stream, where he lost his way, owing to the thickness and height of the rushes, when, finding evening approaching, he returned to the boats. Upon my joining the forces in the boats, we proceeded to camp, where we arrived at 8 o'clock p.m.
The next morning (Tuesday, 11) I received orders from General Viele to prepare to return to Hilton Head, with the understanding that the Mayflower was to bring the troops and tow the boats. Between 3 and 4 o'clock p.m., and after the men had been standing in the rain some time, we were notified that we must return in our boats, and as it was impossible to get all the men in the boats, I sent the boats around to the point (Egg Point), where we first landed on the island, and marched the men down there. It was dark when we arrived there, and the tide running out and a strong head wind blowing, I found it impossible to get home that night. I then took two companies across the river to Lawton's plantation, on Hilton Head Island, and sent the boats back to join