First, to make a complete reconnaissance of the Broad River and its three tributaries, Coosawhatchie, Tulifiny, and Pocotaligo; second, to test practically the rapidity and safety with which a landing could be effected; third, to learn the strength of the enemy on the main-land, now guarding the Charleston and Savannah Railroad; and, fourth, to accomplish the destruction of so much of the road as could be effected in one day. At this season of the year I did not deem it prudent to expose the troops upon the main-land for a longer period.
The troops composing the expedition were the following: Forty-seventh Pennsylvania, 600 men; Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania, 400 men; Fourth New Hampshire, 600 men; Seventh Connecticut, 500 men; Third New Hampshire, 480 men; Sixth Connecticut, 500 men; Third Rhode Island, 300 men; Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania, 430 men; New York Mechanics and Engineers, 250 men; Forty-eighth New York, 300 men; one section of Hamilton's battery and 40 men; one section of the First Regiment Artillery, Company M, battery and 40 men, and the First Massachusetts Cavalry, 100 men. Making an entire force of 4,500 men.
Every pains had been taken to secure as far as possible success for the expedition. Scouts and spies had been sent to the main-land to all the most important points between the Savannah River railroad bridge and the bridge across the Salkehatchie. A small party was sent out to cut, if possible, the telegraph wires. Scouts had been sent it boats up the tributaries of the Broad River. All the landings had been examined, and the depth of water in the several rivers ascertained as far as practicable. Two of our light-draught transports have been converted into formidable gunboats and are ow heavily armed, to wit, The Planter and the George Washington. By my orders the New York Mechanic and Engineers, Colonel Serrell, had constructed two very large flat-boats, or scows, each capable of transporting half a battery of artillery, exclusive of the caissons, with the horses. They were provided with higher aprons, to facilitate the landing not only of artillery but of troops from the transports.
Owing to an accident which occurred to the transport Cosmopolitan during the expedition to the Saint John's River I found myself deficient in transportation, and applied to the commanding officer, Commodore Godon, of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, who promptly placed under my orders a number of light-draught gunboats for the double purpose of transportation and military protection.
On the evening of the 21st, under the command of Captain Steedman, U. S. Navy, the gunboats and transports were arranged in the following order for sailing: The Paul Jones, Captain Steedman, without troops; the Ben De Ford, Conemaugh, Wissahickon, Boston, Partoon, Darlington, steam-tug Relief, with schooner in tow; Marblehead, Vixen, Flora, Water Witch, George Washington, and Planter. The flat-boats, with artillery, were towed by the Ben De Ford and Boston. The best negro pilots which could be found were placed on the principal vessels, as well as signal officers, for the purpose of intercommunication. The night proved to be smoky and hazy, which produced some confusion in the sailing of the vessels, as signal lights could not be seen by those most remote from the leading ship. The large vessels, however, got under way about 12 o'clock at night.
After a careful examination of the map I ordered a landing to be effected at the mouth of the Pocotaligo River, at a place known as Mackay's Point. This is really a narrow neck of land made by the Broad River. This is really a narrow neck of land made by the Broad River and the Pocotaligo, in both of which rivers gunboats could lie and furnish perfect protection for the debarkation and embarkation
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