ceed to support Major Vogdes with two companies, and at the same time sent an order to Colonel Wilson to advance and attack the enemy. I also dispatched a staff officer, on board the steamer McClellan, with orders for him to take position opposite the landing place and open on the enemy; unfortunately at the same time directing him to go to the Potomac, lying near, and ask for some men to assist him in case landing was necessary. Captain Powell directed him to tow his ship to the scene of action, which so delayed him that he did not arrive until after the enemy had vacated. Captain Powell acted from the best motives, and under ordinary circumstances from correct principles, but the result was unfortunate, as the McClellan could have driven the rebel steamer away, and we must have made prisoners of most of the invaders.
At the request of Major Arnold, late in the morning I sent forward a light field gun, which, however, did not reach until the affair was over.
As I propose only briefly to allude to the volunteers, I respectfully refer you to the official report, marked A [No. 4], of the colonel of the regiment. The picket of this regiment and guards sustained its principal if not entire loss, and behaved well. Captain Dobies's company, on duty with the regulars, did good service, and the captain is spoken of by Major Arnold in terms of high approbation. He had 2 men killed. Captain Bailey's company was at a battery, and not called out. He was performing his appropriate duty during the fight. Major Vogdes, with Companies A, First Artillery, and E, Third Infantry, proceeded beyond the Spanish fort, about a mile from the fort, when from the obscurity of the night he found himself and command completely intermingled with the enemy. He was immediately recognized and made prisoner, the command devolving on Captain Hildt, of the Third Infantry, who disengaged his command from their perilous position, and opened a heavy fire on the enemy, and finally, with great gallantry, forced them to retreat [he being ably supported by Lieutenant Seeley, my assistant adjutant-general, who volunteered for the occasion], with a loss of 11 killed. Major Arnold at this moment came up and, the enemy retreating, followed on. During this time Major Tower and Lieutenant Jackson, who I had successively sent to push forward the Zouaves, succeeded in getting some collected, and Colonel Wilson also advanced, the enemy precipitately retreating. Major Arnold, with Captain Robertson's and Lieutenant Shipley's companies, promptly followed, and attacked as they were embarking, the other companies coming up successively. Captain Robertson opened a heavy fire at short musket range on the crowded masses, and Lieutenant Shipley some fifteen minutes later joined him, and their fire must have been very effective. This was continued as long as they were within range. When they had got beyond it the gallant major ordered them to cease firing and to give them three cheers, to which no response was made. During the time of this occurrence Major Tower came up with two small companies of Zouaves, and subsequently Colonel Wilson with a portion of his regiment. When it is considered that less than 200 regulars, with some 50 volunteers, pursued five times their number 4 miles and expelled them under a heavy fire from the island they had desecrated, it will, I trust, be considered an evidence of their having gallantly performed their duty. The plan of attack of the enemy was judicious, and, if executed with ordinary ability, might have been attended with serious loss; but he failed in all, save the burning one-half of the tents of the Sixth Regiment, which, being covered with brushes, was very combustible, and in rifling the trunks of the officers. He did not reach within 500 yards of either of the batteries the guns of which he was to spike,