War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0324 COASTS OF S. C., GA., AND MID., AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.

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a through state of defense against approaches from Wilmington Narrows and Lazaretto Creek, to prevent all approach by water and blockade the channel, and also to commence operations for the bombardment of Fort Pulaski.

On the 27th of February General Sherman issued and order assigning me to the command of the troops on Tybee Island, Ga., to enable me to control all the personnel available for these objects.

The foregoing extracts are from official orders. The absolute blockade of Pulaski dates from the 22nd of February, at which time two companies with a battery were sent to Decent Island, on Lazaretto Creek.

To illustrate this report I transmit an outline tracing of a portion of Savannah River and the adjacent country.* I also send a package containing some of the correspondence between General Sherman and myself during the progress of the operations referred to.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


Actg. Brigadier General Vols., Chief Engr. Expeditionary Corps.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]


Wassaw Sound, January 8, 1862.

Brigadier General THOMAS W. SHERMAN,

Commanding Expeditionary Corps, Hilton Head, S. C.:

The undersigned, in accordance with verbal instructions from their respective chiefs, have made a joint examination of Litle Tybee River, or Freeborn's Cut, from its mouth, upon Wassaw Sound, to within half a mile of Mrs. Barnard's house, situated upon the first fast land on Wilmington Island. Above this the passage is also known as Wilmington Narrows, until it reaches Saint Augustine Creek. They have information, which they deem reliable, that a regiment of Savannah light infantry without cannon is stationed on Wilmington Island near Dr. Screven's house, a mile beyond Mrs. Barnard's. They also learned that the channel passes near both these houses, within 50 yards of Dr. Screven's. They agreed that it was very improbable that the boats could pass so near the enemy without being seen by his pickets, and thus disclosing their examination. Discovery by warming the enemy to close this passage would have militated more against the interests of the public service than a successful examination would have promoted it. Here, therefore, their reconnaissance ended. The distance from the ship to which their examination reached was about 9 miles, extending up Tybee River about 7 miles. The depth of water at half tide varied from 3 to 7 fathoms. They found that Isaac Tatnall, the colored pilot, was thoroughly acquainted with the channel. The accuracy of his knowledge of the part under examination gives assurance that he may be perfectly relied upon as pilot for the rest of the passage. The channel as far as seen was wide, deep, and practicable; beyond they learn that it is narrow, but still deep, and it is believed practicable for vessels 160 or 170 feet long. The information in regard to the unseen part has been derived from carefully collating the declaration of Isaac with those of other negroes intimately acquainted with this passage. The undersigned have therefore come to the conclusion that gunboats may pass into Savannah River through Freeborm's Cut without meeting any artificial obstructions or


* Not found.