under command of Lieutenant Ela, had cut off their retreat, and being hemmed in on all sides, they surrendered without resistance.
On arriving, I disarmed them of their rifles and long knives, with which they were armed, and carried them across to Buckingham's Ferry, Hilton Head Island, and delivered them over to an officer of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanding the picket there stationed, and requested him to send them to headquarters, which he did. With my command I then proceeded to Bull Island. That afternoon I was notified that there was a strong force on the main-land, and having made up my mind to visit Bluffton, I sent to headquarters for another piece of artillery, which I received Friday afternoon.
Friday morning, having got some information that led me to believe there was a picket on Savage Islands, on the side towards the main-land, I determined to reconnoiter those islands thoroughly. I embarked my command and landed them on Savage Islands, thoroughly examined them, but found no pickets. On the main-land opposite, the cavalry pickets were visible narrowly watching our movements, apparently expecting us to land on the main-land above Bluffton. At 1.30 o'clock, I started on my return to Bull Island. In the morning before starting, I was notified by our picket that the enemy had that morning burned all the buildings (about fifteen in number) on Kirk's plantation, where we landed yesterday. On our passage to Savage Islands we were frequently fired on by the rebel pickets. On our return they again fired on us, and when opposite Kirk's I ordered my men to return the fire, which they did, firing as each boat came abreast the plantation. After passing beyond rifle range we could see a cluster of the horsemen apparently gathered around some wounded or killed companion, as they dismounted.l Most of our shots reached the shore, but whether we succeed in hitting the enemy or not I could not ascertain.
That night I received another piece of artillery from headquarters, with men to man it. Next morning, after putting one of the guns in a position to command the landing at Kirk's, I embarked the men and landed at the same place as on Thursday, the 20th, driving in the pickets. I then threw out two companies as skirmishers, and after advancing a short distance into the wood sent forward two companies more to support them, under command of Captain Plimpton, acting major. Lieutenant Morrow having got his field piece in position, I left a few men, with an officer, to assist him, and advanced the remainder of my force towards Bluffton. In advancing I found cross-roads, where I left detachments to prevent the enemy getting into our rear.
We arrived at Bluffton at 12 o'clock, driving the pickets through the town and a short distance [beyond], but finding it impossible to cut them off, abandoned the pursuit. I found the town entirely deserted, with the exception of 3 old negroes, who informed me there had been no artillery there, and there was no evidence of any or of any earthworks there or some distance up the river. The nearest approach to artillery was an old dismounted iron gun on the bluff near the church and on the bank of the river. I examined the town thoroughly, to be sure there were none of the rebels secreted. I found none, and neither arms nor ammunition. The town had been apparently only occupied as a headquarters for pickets during the past three months.
One of the rebel pickets, in endeavoring to escape, could not get his horse to start for some reason or other. He was in sight of our advance, but at long-range distance, and after endeavoring for a few minutes to urge his horse into a run and being unsuccessful, left his horse and blankets and ran for the woods, which he reached without further harm