Lieutenant O'Rorke reported the upper nd of Long Island favorable for batteries, the surface being fully as high as that as Venus Point.
The following extracts from my journal from a apart of the history of the operations on Jones Island and the Savannah River, and may properly be instructed into this report:
[Extracts from journal of the Chief Engineer Expeditionary Corps.]
February 1-4, 1862.- The two engineer companies on Daufuskie Island, commanded by Captains Sears, were employed poles for causeway of Jones Island from Mud River to Venus Point and for the engineer wharf on Daufuskie Island, New River. On the 4th the wharf, with 8 feet long, had been cut and 1,900 deposited at the wharf. The men of Forty-eighth New York and Seventh Connecticut transported the poles on their shoulders, the average distance carried being 1 mile. I had as swath cut and cleared of reeds and grass across the upper end of Jones Island to prevent the enemy burning the island over. Navy officer engaged in sounding Mud and Wright Rivers. No certainly as yet that the gunboats will enter the Savannah. Mud River has but about 2 feet water in it at low tide, with a very soft, almost semi-fluid, bottom. Sounding in Wright River not completed yet.
February 5-6.- Nothing specially new. Engineer force engaged in cutting poles, filing sand bags on Daufuskie Island, building a temporary wharf of poles and sand page on Mud River, and constructing a wheelbarrow track of plans laid end to end from Mud River to venus Point. The Forty-eighth New York and Seventh Connecticut and a portion of the engineer force engaged in transporting poles, plank, filled sand bags from Daufuskie Island to Jones Island (a distance of very nearly 4 miles) in row-boats.
February 7-8.- Finished temporary wharf in Mud River; carried several hundred sand bags (filled) across to Venus Point; also a quantity of plank and other battery materials. Had the balance of the material required for the Venus Point battery put into lighters, so as to be ready whenever the gunboats should be ready to move. No immediate prospect of their moving yet.
February 9.- I visited Commodore Rodgers to consult in regard to his moving into the Savannah. Said he intended to attempt the Mud River passage that night on the high tide. The signal of his starting was to be one note from his steam-whistle. returned to Daufiskie and consulted with General Viele and Captains Hamilton, the chief of artillery. It was arranged that the flats with the guns and ammunition in them, should be towed by steamer Mayflower through Wall's Cut and up Mud River just behind the gunboats. They were accordingly taken in tow in the evening after dark from the engineer wharf. The night was windy, rainy, and very dark. The Mayflower, after several attempts failed to reach to reach Wall's Cut, and east anchor near the spot she started from. Gunboats did not move. I think they were justified in not doing so on account of the weather. I visited Captain Rodgers about midnight. At that time he had not fully decided to make the attempt.
February 10.- Captain Hamilton quite ill from last night's exposure in the Mayflower. I consulted with General Viele, and it was determined to establish the Venus Point battery at once and wait no longer for the gunboats; also to do this by landing the guns in Mud River and carrying them over the march. Major Beard, Forty-eighth New York, and Lieutenant J. H. Wilson, Topographical Engineers, volunteered to assist Lieutenant Horace Porter, the ordnance officer, in getting the flats into Mud River and the guns on shore and into position. Accordingly the flags with the guns were towed but row-boats up Mud River against the tide and landed without accident. Two of them were taken about 200 yards into the march by Lieutenant Wilson. The Forty-eighth New York furnished the fatigue party, which had already been twenty-four hours at work on Jones Island, and were very much exhausted. Deeming it impossible to get the guns over that night I directed them to be covered with reeds and grass and left for the following night.
During the night of the 10th Lieutenant O'Rorke, of the Engineers, with a party of volunteer engineers, commenced the magazine and platforms at Venus Point. The party concealed their work at daybreak (11th and withdrew. The platforms were made by raising the surface 5 or 6 inches with sand carried over in bags. On this sand foundation thick planks parallel with the direction of fire were laid nearly, but not quite, in contact with each other. At right angles to these the deck plans were laid, giving a platform 9 feet 17 feet. The floor of the magazine was 18 inches above the natural surface, resting on sand bags.
February 11.- Continued getting battery and road materials to Jones Island during the day. Early in the evening I went to Jones Island with fresh men to get the guns forward. Major Beard, Lieutenant Wilson, and Lieutenant Porter took