commanding, the following report of an attack made last night by a detachment of the enemy upon my pickets at the extreme northern point of this island.
When my regiment first took this advanced position, on the night of the 6th instant, the enemy probably knew nothing of our having occupied the island, as the advance was made in the night. On the 8th instant I received the following order from Brigadier-General Seymour, chief of Major-General Hunter's staff:
ORDERS.] APRIL 8, 1863.
To the Commanding Officer at north and Folly Island:
I. Withdraw every officer and man to the woods (keeping the movement concealed by passing along the beach at low tide) except yourself and 10 good men. The signal party to go back also. Show not a sign of occupation; watch closely, but keep perfectly concealed.
II. When the guns come up at night keep perfectly quiet; make all artillerymen keep concealed, and send all back not absolutely required to the wood until further orders.
Chief of Staff.
I complied with the order, send the regiment back, and remained with 10 men on the extreme point of the island. On the night of the 10th nine pieces had been placed behind the sand hills at the point of the island where our pickets rested, six of which three 12-pounder rifled Wiard field guns and the remaining three 12-pounder Wiard howitzers (rifled) for marine service. The same evening a detachment of about 30 of the Marine Artillery were bought up by Lieutenant Sands, of that corps, to serve the three howitzers in case of an attack. All the pieces and caissons were carefully concealed by pulling bushes around them. During the day I had, with the assistance of Captain McFarland, U. S. Engineers, carefully reconnoitered the spot and the works of the enemy on the opposite bank of Light-House Inlet. The result of our investigations made us apprehensive of an attack by troops landed by means of boats or pontoons through one of the water-courses traversing the marshes and communication with the enemy's forces.
I finally decided to send for another company, which reached our post about 10 a. m. This made our force on the point about 60 men. Our lookouts and pickets were all instructed, to watch carefully, and each picket was instructed to communicate to me by one of their number information of any movement of the enemy. Captain McFarland and myself had taken a position easily reached by any of the pickets, with which and the route leading thereto they were all well acquainted.
At about 11 p. m. an attack was made by a detachment of the enemy, variously estimated by the pickets at from 200 to 500 men. The night was exceedingly dark. After having examined closely every person who saw them, my own impression is that there was not less than two companies, perhaps 120 men, compassion the attacking party. They must have landed on the marsh by means of boats or pontoons (from one of the creeks before mentioned communicating with Light-House Inlet), which marsh is at times passable by infantry.
Having passed to the rear by the edge of the woods skirting the long sand bar separating us from the regiment they met and attacked our extreme left picket (numbering 3 men and a corporal), dispersing them and mortally wounding the corporal, Charles Sabine, Company H.
No information was given me by any of the pickets of the approach