wou could give me information of the movements of the enemy since the afternoon of the 21st instant. A commissioned and a non-commissioned officer and several privates were examined by me in the presence of Major Willcoxon. I learned from these that on the afternoon of the 21st eight boats had returned from the direction of Box's (eight had been reported at Box's on that morning), and that two steamers (scouts could not say if they were gunboats), had come up to one of the islands near the Hunting Islands with four small boats with some men in them in tow; that the enemy that night had burned a small house at or near Buckingham Point; that on the morning of the 22nd eleven small boats proceeded up towards the Hunting Islands. Eight of these kept the opposite shore, passed the Hunting Island, and were not seen afterwards. They probably landed at or near the edge of Bluffton. Three landed at the Hunting Islands. The vedetters rapidly retired to Bluffton from the Hunting Islands and the enemy entered the village. Soon after that some of our men were fired upon without knowing that the enemy was coming. One man, who was near, said about 100 of the enemy had been seen by him advancing by the bluff. Another said he had seen about 12 men at the back of the village, and that there were others, how many he could not say; that our men rapidly retired; that the enemy advanced at the double quick until they reached the edge of the village on this side, and last fired upon us, as Major Willcoxon stated, from a grist-mill, which is said to be about the last house this end of the village and about three-quarters of a mile from the farther end of Pope's lane; that the enemy, after firing upon us, retired at the double-quick from this end of the village, and were not seen, as far as I could learn, from this time, which must have been about 9.20 a. m. At that hour they had entered the village; that a detachment of 20 men, under Lieutenant Milhollin, had late in the evening entered the village, found no damage done, except to the contents of two stores, said to have had in them liquor and tobacco, and conversed with a negro man, who had some of their property in his charge, who stated, on delivering up these articles safely, that he had never seen any Yankees. The negro lived at this end of the village; that this detachment had commenced scouting towards the Hunting Islands (it was then dark), when a sergeant and two men saw a man lying in the road with his head towards them; that he was snapped at by the sergeant and a man, when he turned across the road and another man then joined him from the bushes and laid himself down alongside of him. Our men then fired and retired. One of them declared (this was reported of him; he was on picket at the investigation) that he saw two more of the enemy come up to the men lying in the road, and that one gun was fired by the enemy. The sergeant evidently did not believe that a gun had been fired or that two others had joined those in the road.
No further scouting was done up to the time of my arrival at Major Willcoxon's camp.
Being satisfied that if these objects in the road were men they were drunken stragglers of the enemy, I advised Major Willcoxon to send an intelligent officer and 20 or more men to reach Bluffton by daylight and rapidly scout towards the Hunting Islands, and stated that I thought by so doing he could capture such drunken stragglers of the enemy as had not gone off in their boats. I had no doubt the sober men of the expedition had left the evening before. Major Willcoxon said he had already determined to send out such a party in the morning. I learned who was to lead the party, and got him to say that he would report to me in person at New River Bridge this morning.