Our wagons left here this morning with our baggage for the fork of the South May River road or Colonel Jones' camp.
JNO. B. WILLCOXON,
Major, Commanding at Bluffton.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY BATTALION PHILLIPS LEGION,
Camp at Stony Place, S. C., March 23, 1862.
SIR: In answer to the communication to you from brigade headquarters, dated March 23, asking for my official report of yesterday's engagement with the enemy, &c., I report as follows:
About 11 a. m. the pickets stationed at Hunting Island reported that ten or twelve boats or barges had landed (four at Hunting Island and six or eight above), and that each of said boats contained 50 to 100 men, and that they were advancing on Bluffton in two columns, one column by the gate and one around by the beach or bluff. About the same time, or soon thereafter, another picket reported that four boats had landed at Baynard's negro quarters. I then dispatched Captains Du Bignon's and Rich's companies, consisting of some 20 men each (the others of said companies on picket and sent to relieve the same), to meet the enemy on Hunting Island road, at the same time dispatching Pucket's company to the Seabrook Church to support the picket.
Captain Du Bignon's and Rich's companies were soon engaged by the enemy, and not having force sufficient to check his advance, I, after sharp firing for a short time, ordered them to fall back, at the same time, seeing that Pucket's company was about being cut off, ordered it to fall back by Fording Island road. I then fell back to Pope's lane, and, dismounting, advanced to meet the enemy, who was now in town and still advancing on us; and seeing that our horses were much exposed and we liable to be cut off from our horses, I ordered my men to mount, and then retreated to the end of Mr. Crowell's lane, at which point our horses could be sheltered under cover of the wood, and we having the benefit of attacking the enemy in his advance through an open field.
Lieutenant Milhollin and a few men, having been left in the rear to watch and report the advance of the enemy, reported that he had fallen back. Lieutenant Milhollin was then ordered to follow them up and report their movement; and after returning late in the evening reported no enemy in or about Bluffton.
During the skirmish the enemy wounded two of our horses, once of which has since died and the other rendered unfit for duty, and during the time captured a horse belonging to one of the recruits of Captain Rich's company; the said recruit not being with the company, he having no arms.
Mr. Farr's sore-house and dwelling-house broken open; also the post-office and dwelling on the same lot; but do not know anything about what was taken out, not knowing what was in either house; no public stores being [were] lost. Some 50 or 60 bushels of corn were left in town, but no damage other than stated heard of. This morning at day Lieutenant Milhollin, with 20 men, was sent out and reconnoitered to Hunting Island, but found no enemy.
JNO. B. WILLCOXON,
Major, Commanding Cavalry Phillips Legion.
Lieutenant Colonel S. JONES, Jr.,