service to me, and for which I desire to return my thanks. I was also furnished by General Brannan's order, with 50 men from the New Your State Volunteer Engineers, under command of Captain Eaton, provided with the necessary implements for cutting the railroad, &c. We were soon under way, and had proceeded some 3 miles up the river when the gunboats turned around and came back, in compliance, as I was informed with on order from the flag-ship. I, however, continued on my course in the Planter, meanwhile signaling to the flag-officer for at least one gunboat, in reply to which he kindly sent two, viz, the Patron and the Marblehead which followed after the lapse of a few minutes. The river at this point was very narrow and winding, but the water in most places was over 12 feet in depth at low tide. I found no difficulty, therefore, in reaching, a point 2 miles distant from Coosawhatchie; but, it now being almost dead low tide, farther progress by water was rendered impossible by the Planter running aground. Throwing a few shells into the woods, I disembarked with my infantry and engineers as expeditiously as possible, taking with me the boat howitzer referred to above in charge of Captain Gould, Third Rhode Island Artillery and a detachment of 12 of his men. The swampy nature of the ground rendered landing difficult; but, losing no time, I advanced toward the main road, sending a request to the officer in command of the Patroo (the gunboat nearest to me and about 1 1/2 miles astern), to cover the road in my rear as I advanced. I should state here that both gunboats were unfortunately aground, and were thus prevented from taking a position nearer to the Planter.
My advance reported squads of cavalry in sight as the main body entered the road, which it did not at right angles to the point of disembarkation. The road proved to be an excellent one, hard and firm, and evidently repaired but an hour or two before, the dirt being still fresh, and the tracks upon it showed plainly that artillery, infantry, and cavalry had just passed over it.
I continued my advance toward the town, driving in the enemy's pickets and skirmishing the country as thoroughly as possible. When about 1 mile from the village the whistle of a locomotive was heard. I was informed by the contraband who had been furnished as a guide that it was the dirt train, which always passed at that hour, and which he said, was well on its way to Savannah. A few moments however, proved that he had misinformed me; for when the main body had arrived at a point within a few hundred yards of the town, and when the skirmishers had already reached the railroad track and telegraph line, the train was heard and seen rapidly coming down the road. I quickly placed my battalion in position, and as the train approached I directed a heavy and rapid fire upon it with grape and canister and musketry. This fire was very destructive. The train consisted of eight cars, six of which were platform crowded with men, and two box cars, filled with officers. There were also two light field pieces on board. Many were seen to fall at the first fire (among them the engineer) and 25 or 30 jumped from the train. Most of them were maimed or killed, and the rest (with one exception) betook themselves to the woods and swamp on the other side of the track. We carried away or destroyed here about 30 stand of arms mostly rifles, and secured one officer's sword and cap, and a stand of silk colors, belonging to the Whippy Swamp Guards. We left a number of the enemy's dead and wounded on the track.