War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0450 OPERATIONS IN W.FLA.,S.ALA.,S.MISS.,AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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No. 6. Report of Lieutenant Chauncey B. Reese, U. S. Corps of Engineers.

FORT PICKENS, FLA., October 11, 1861.

SIR: In obedience to your instructions, I have the honor to transmit the following as connected with the operations against the enemy on the morning of the 9th instant:

At a little before daybreak I was directed by the colonel commanding to instruct Major Vogdes to pursue the enemy with his command, keeping his left flank upon the north beach. The colonel at the same time stated that Major Vogdes had gone up the north beach via Battery Lincoln. I started on horseback, and when about half a mile beyond Battery Lincoln came upon a body of troops about 75 strong, which I at first took for Major Vogdes' command, but which proved to be the enemy, who fired one shot at me as I turned to retreat. While returning I met Lieutenant Duryea at Battery Lincoln in search of Major Vogdes' command. I intrusted the message to Lieutenant Duryea, and returned to report the position of the enemy. About fifteen minutes after my return I was directed by the commanding officer to proceed to "the Potomac, and ask Captain Powell to place a detachment on board the McClellan and direct Captain Gray to proceed along the island in order to shell the enemy." The commanding officer also directed me to go with Captain Gray. These instructions were afterwards modified so as "to request of Captain Powell as large a force as he could spare, with a view to landing it, if necessary." After being delayed something like half an hour in getting a boat, I went to the Potomac and delivered the substance of the message to Captain Powell, who stated that he would have Captain Gray take him in tow while the men were getting ready. [I will here state that four or five shots had been fired from Battery Lincoln, and Captain Powell asked me what I thought it was. I replied that it must be from our batteries upon the boats of the enemy retreating.]

I then went on board the McClellan. Captain Gray took the Potomac in tow, but had hardly started when the hawser parted. We had seen a steamer approach the north beach of the island. Upon going near the Potomac, preparatory to getting another hawser, Captain Gray asked Captain Powell if he did not think the steamer was trying to take the enemy off. I heard no reply. The Potomac was then towed in about 2 miles towards the hospital. Forty-four marines, including one officer, were put on board the McClellan, and Captain Powell asked if more were needed. It was thought best not to wait for more to be put on board, but Captain Powell said he would have enough ready to make 100, if we should want them.

I had noticed several parties of from 5 to 20 soldiers, whom I though to be of Colonel Wilson's regiment, going along the beach towards the fort, and it was thought advisable to go ashore for information. I went ashore, and learned that the enemy had left the island and that the troops from the fort had returned. I stated this to Captain Gray, and it was agreed to go along the island some 15 miles to discover if any rebels had been cut off and retreated up the island. This was done, and no signs of the enemy were seen. The McClellan then returned, arriving at her anchorage at about 2 p.m.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


First Lieutenant of Engineers.


Fifth Artillery, Commanding Department of Florida.