for howitzers, I nevertheless need some guns at Red Bluff and New River Bridge at once, if in your reach.
The enemy are evidently sounding and examining our rivers with reference to Savannah, and to retard their approach towards it via New River would be only secondary to doing so via Tybee and Pulaski. I am desirous of taking the offensive, but, without artillery, any display with my small infantry and cavalry force would prove of little avail against any expedition of respectable numbers.
I feel assured of an onward movement toward Red Bluff whenever our enemy gets a hint of its strategic importance.
It is not only difficult to get the pile-driver, as proposed at our last interview, but mechanics also. I am now endeavoring to procure cabins and anchors from Savannah, and, by the aid of the rafts as supports to the chain cables, present a very strong resistance to any advancing boats. When I get the pile-driver I will sink piles and flats likewise.
I have an expedition out to-night, and hope to produce such an impression upon the marauders as will make them less venturesome, for some few days at least, and afford me better opportunity of carrying on my defenses on New River.
THOS. F. DRAYTON,
HDQRS. LOWER SQUADRON MOUNTED REGIMENT,
Bluffton, November 26, 1861.
GENERAL: I sent out a guard boat last night, under command of Sergeant Mikell; he returned this morning with a boat load of negroes and plunder, whom he captured while making their way to Bull Island.
About three night ago Baynard's man Cyrus sent two negroes (William and Paddy, supposed to be trustworthy) to Bull Island to reconnoiter, with instructions to return the same night. They remained on the island two days, and then returned stealthily during Cyrus' absence and enticed off portions of their families. Last night William attempted to repeat the operation, but was caught and brought over to me. I have had him tied, and, together with the negroes captured by Mikler, placed under a guard and sent off to Hardeeville, with instructions to report to you. Some of them belong to the Baynards, who I believe are at hardeeville, to whom they can be delivered there. Most of them belong to Mr. James Pope, who I am told is at Robertsville. You will please communicate to him the fact of their arrest. Mr. Farr will inform you what disposition he wishes made of his boy. I thought it necessary, both for the example to the other negroes and to save so much property, that these negroes should be places inside of our lines and in a place of safety.
Our vedettes who have come in so far report all quiet this morning. I have omitted to mention that a barge of considerable size, and filled with men, approached Hunting Island Landing yesterday morning. On the reception of the intelligence I ordered out a detachment of infantry and one of cavalry and hurried down in person to reconnoiter, but the enemy was in full retreat, having probably heard our drum and retired without attempting to land. These boats are getting rather impertinent,