War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0139 Chapter XXVI. EXPEDITION FROM HILTON HEAD, S. C.

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In the same letter I advised you that--

Sergeant Floyd, of Captain [J.] Westcott's company, reported that from the old light-house he could distinctly see a very large number of men on both decks of a large transport steamer, which was anchored not more than half a mile from where he was.

On the 1st instant three large transports entered the river, and at 2 p. m. three gunboats engaged our batteries and were repulsed after an hour's fight. I then dispatched dan order to Captain Dunham, commanding at Yellow Bluff, from which I copy the following expressions:

Three large transports have just come into the river, all crowded with troops. There are also seven gunboats, making in all ten vessels. The fact of their concentrating here so many vessels and troops is sufficient evidence of their intention to land a large force. You will therefore dismount the three cavalry companies under you command and send them over to-night by the steamer.

During the engagement between the gunboats and our batteries the enemy commenced landing infantry and artillery at Mayport Mills. Of this fact I informed you in the same telegram reporting the engagement. I also dispatched an order to Captain [Joseph L.] Dunham, from which I copy the material portion:

The enemy landed this afternoon at Mayport Mills about 3,000 men; also artillery You will repair without delay to these headquarters with your whole command. We need your artillery immediately.

The cavalry companies dismounted, numbering about 110 men, were sent without delay; the artillery was not sent. It is proper, however, to add that his horses were at a distance and his caissons not which his pieces, and both time and means of transportation were very limited. Of these facts I was not aware when the order was sent. When I became aware-through a letter from Captain Dunham-that the artillery could not be obtained, I then wrote him a further order, which was sent him by the messenger bringing his letter, directing him to send over immediately all the men he could spare, and that I would do my at utmost to arm them, so that they might acts as infantry. To this I received no reply. This was written at 3 a. m. on the 2nd instant.

At an early hour on the 2nd instant intelligence was received from Captain [W. E.] Chambers, commanding a squadron of cavalry, that during the preceding night the enemy had landed in considerable force at Greenfield and were still rapidly landing. I immediately informed Major [T. W.] Brevard, commanding the infantry in rear of the batteries, o the intelligence received, and directed him to place his forces in line of battle upon the position previously point doubt to him and so to remain until further orders. I could distinctly see from my position at the battery the landing of the enemy. The troops were transferred from Mayport Mills to Greenfield, as the transports were plying between the mill and the mouth of Pablo Creek and thence up the creek in launches. I immediately directed Captain Chambers to annoy them as much as possible when they commenced advancing, and, if possible, to hold them in check, it being impossible to prevent the landing without field artillery, as they were under cover of their guns.

Captain Chambers proceeded to deploy his men as skirmishers as advantageously as the circumstances would permit. After some time he informed me that the enemy had commenced their advance in the following order, viz: Two hundred skirmishers in front, with a reserve; then their advance of three companies, and in rear their main column of 2,500 men; also artillery. Captain Chambers, after holding his position as long as he considered he could do so without being flanked, informed me that