on the morning of the 1st instant and proceeded hither with all possible dispatch. Owing to the want of transports we were detained two days and upward in Norfolk, leaving that place on Wednesday, the 5th instant, in tow of the canal tug-boat White.
On Friday, when about 30 miles distant from the island, continued discharges of artillery informed us of the progress of a fight between the Federal fleet and Confederate batteries. Being entirely ignorant of the topography of the island, and not knowing where or to whom to report, I left our transports about 20 miles hence and came on in the steamer for information. Having obtained which, I returned to my men and crowded them on the smallest number of transports that would contain them and then started. The night was very dark and stormy, with the wind against us, consequently our progress was slow.
After beating about until midnight our pilot declared that he had lost his reckoning, and as we had only a fathom and a half of water, thought it safer to wait for daylight.
About 2 a.m.. Saturday a number of Confederate gunboats passed us from the direction of the island, one of them running into the schooner Beauregard (one of our transports) and seriously injuring her. In reply to our challenge and statement of our condition, all the answer we could get was that one of the boats was the Beaufort, the other the----. Had they stopped in their flight long enough to exchange pilots with us, or even to give ours the necessary instructions as to his course, my battalion would have reached the island in time to have participated in the entire action.
Failing to do so, it was 10 a.m.. when we reached the island, and 12 o'clock before the men, arms, and ammunition could be got on shore owing to their having to be taken on lighters. Having distributed all of my ammunition I started for the scene of action, but soon met scores of stragglers, who reported everything lost and the Confederate forces entirely dispersed.
Notwithstanding these discouraging reports, my men kept in good spirits and pressed on with animation. On reaching your camp, and having the worst reports confirmed, I called upon you for orders, and was told to proceed to a point some mile or two distant, under the guidance of Major Williamson, and take position.
After proceeding about half a mile we came suddenly upon a Federal regiment, which I have since learned was the Twenty-first Massachusetts. The two advanced companies of the respective commands were about 75 paces apart, I being some 20 paces in advance of mine. I gave the command "By company into line," when the officer in command of the Federal regiment threw up his hand and cried out, "Stop, stop, colonel; don't fire; you are mistaken!" Believing it to be a trick, I repeated my command. Thereupon the Federal officer gave the command, "Fire." My advanced companies returned the fire, firing at will after the first volley. Finding that there was some confusion, and not knowing the ground, I soon became satisfied that I could not form my men in line of battle to any advantage on the ground that they then occupied, so I ordered them to fall back a short distance and form behind the log houses occupied by Colonel Jordan's regiment as quarters. This they did in good order. The Federals fell back immediately after. Immediately after forming behind the houses Lieutenant-Colonel Fowle, of the Thirty-first North Carolina, passed by with a white flag, and stated that a surrender had been determined upon.
My loss was 3 men killed and 5 wounded, 2 of whom have since died. I am happy to be able to report favorably of the action of both officers