ties on Whitemarsh, knowing that the enemy occasionally visited it. On that day I had sent, under command of Lieutenant Thomas G. Medders, of Company H, a party of about 45 men for scouting and picket duty.
In the evening I took with me Captain J. T. Crawford, of Company G; Lieutenant R. T. Bowie, of same company, and 37 of their men, with axes, across to Oakland to have the trees on the island cut down. I required the men to carry with them their guns and cartridge boxes.
Soon after getting there and about 3 p. m. one of my pickets came in from Whitemarsh and told me that the enemy were landing at Mr. Gibson's place, on the point of Whitemarsh next to Wilmington River, and that a steamer with about a regiment of men on board was lying in the river some 400 or 500 yards from the landing, and that Lieutenant Medders, with his men, had fallen back across the island to a cross-road some 2 miles from where the enemy were seen. I immediately started Captain Crawford, with his company of 37 men, to the place where Lieutenant Medders had halted. I gave to Captain Crawford instructions to remain at that point until I could return to camp and get an additional force, and also directed him to send out pickets from the cross-roads in two directions, one leading to Gibson's place and the other to Turner's place, which is on the point of Whitermarsh next to Augustine Creek, and in view from which is on the point of Whitermarsh next to Augustine Creek, and in view from which is Skidaway Island. I then hurried back to camp, being delayed in crossing Augustine Creek. Taking with me three companies (A, B and C), commanded respectively by Lieutenant E. L. Connaly and Capts. James McCallay and John L. Moore, I started for the island, hurrying the steamer Leesburg, at my command for this purpose. In order to take two chance of getting assistance to Captain crawford I had Captain McCallay to land from the boat on Oakland, just across from the battery at this place, and directed him to hurry over to the cross-road on Whitermarsh, with orders that he and Captain Crawford should remain with their companies at that place until I could reach them with the two others, and not to attack the enemy until I joined them, unless they should ascertain that there was only a small party of the enemy, instead of a regiment, as reported to me by the pickets. My reason for not taking the three companies directly over Oakland to Whitemarsh was that the only means of crossing the stream between the two island s was a small boat that would carry about 10 or 15 men at once, and too much time would be consumed in this manner. I therefore went on the steamer with Companies A and C around to a landing on Whitemarsh. Being delayed at the mouth of Whitemarsh Creek about one hour the boat ran aground, and by the time I could get my men all on eland it was near 5.30 o'clock.
In the mean time the pickets posted by Captain Crawford discovered a party of the enemy, about 50 strong, who had advanced 1 1/2 miles across the island. The pickets fired on them and fell back to the crossroad, and reported the number of men seen to be about 50 or 75, whereupon Captains Crawford and McCallay, after distributing between their two companies the scouting party under Lieutenant Medders, determined to endeavor to surround the enemy and capture or kill them. Captain Crawford with his force went the road toward Gibson's, and Captain McCallay with his force up the road toward Turner's, to where another road turned off to the left and led to Gibson's place. Both parties met small parties of the enemy and the firing commenced, the force on each side being nearly equal. The enemy were driven back for 1 1/2 miles across little fields and skirts of woods to the Gibson house, where they sheltered themselves behind a hedge of cedar, and brisk firing began.