obedience to my orders, for the purpose of ascertaining the character of the upper end of the island and to punish and take prisoners any rebels he might meet, I having received information that about 200 armed rebels were encamped near the Southeast Pass, where they had a few days previously killed 2 sailors and wounded 2 others belonging to the blockading schooner stationed there.
L. G. ARNOLD,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
Numbers 2. Report of Captain Henry W. Closson, First U. S. Artillery.
FORT PICKENS, FLA., April 2, 1862.
SIR: On the 26th of last month I received your instructions from the general commanding to make an armed reconnaissance of Santa Rosa Island, my command to consist of Company L, First Artillery, and Company K, Sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, rationed to include the 31st, and a 10-pounder Parrott rifle.
On the night of the 27th I camped 12 miles from here, and at midnight received an express, directing me to wait until 3 p. m. the next day for the arrival of Lieutenant Shipley with further instructions. He not arriving at that hour, I went into camp that night 8 miles beyond, when I was overtaken by Lieutenant Jackson, acting assistant adjutant-general of the department, with Company D, Sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, and a guide-Mr. Woods, a rebel refugee. Lieutenant Jackson informed me that I was to move up towards the east end of the island and surprise and capture a rebel force in that vicinity on the main-land-boats to be furnished from the naval volunteer schooner Maria Wood, on blockade duty at the East Pass-one part of my command with the rifled gun to shell the rebel camp from the island, one portion to cross the sound and move up the main-land, and one portion to enter the pass and move down the sound. The latter part of the plan I abandoned, on account of the distance of the pass from the point of attack, some 10 miles. All the necessary material and arrangements had been provided and made with the schooner at Fort Pickens by Acting Assistant Quartermaster Shipley.
At noon on the 31st I went into camp about 36 miles from here and 4 from the supposed location of the rebel force, having communicated with the schooner, and requested that at dark she would put three surfboats on the outside beach, where I should establish a signal fire. Lieutenant Jackson and Lieutenant Appleton made a thorough and close reconnaissance of the island and main-land at this point, selected where to put the gun and or cross the sound, giving 600 yards of boating.
At sunset, leaving animals, disabled men, and stores at camp, I moved with 170 men 2 miles up the beach to the crossing and lit the signal fire. At 11 o'clock two surf-boats arrived. I had them hauled about 800 yards over the sand hills to the inside beach, and directed Lieutenant jackson to march the volunteer battalion there and wait my arrival with the regulars and the third surf-boat. At 1 o'clock in the morning the third surf-boat made its appearance. The unaccountable lateness of their