as reported to me, and our men claim to have driven a regiment of 800 men to the extreme point of the island, holding the battle ground for three hours and returning unmolested. I am not satisfied yet to express and opinion on the matter.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. BENHAM,
HDQRS. NORTHERN DIST., DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C. April 18, 1862.
Brigadier General Q. A. GILLMORE,
Commanding Tybee and Fort Pulaski, Ga.:
GENERAL: The general commanding directs me to acknowledge your report* inclosing the details of the reconnaissance made by Lieutenant Wilson, Topographical Engineers, under orders on the [16th instant].
Although presuming you had reasons for ordering that reconnaissance which are not stated in your report or otherwise known to him, he feels it due to himself to say that, notwithstanding he had received information that the enemy were in force to the amount of at least two regiments on that island, he did not deem it necessary to attack them then beyond our marches and next their main-land. He had therefore, as you recollect, on the day after the surrender of Fort Pulaski, directed you yourself to send the Eighth Michigan Regiment to Fort Pulaski to assist, with a company each of engineers and artillery, in putting that work in a state of defense as early as possible and to dismantle and destroy all the batteries on Tybee Island, and to forward all the ordnance and ordnance stores to this post that you did not deem it necessary to retain at Fort Pulaski for its complete armament. He also directed that the Forty-sixth New Pulaski Regiment alone should be left to garrison Tybee Island, and that the other troops should be sent to Daufuskie to report to General Viele, and the balance of the forces then ordered to this post to report to Colonel Robert Williams.
In conclusion, the general desires to say that while not doubting that this reconnaissance has been ordered from your nest motives and in judgment, and that he is not disposed to do otherwise than praise it, he still is compelled to feel that, as far as at present informed, the results that appear to have been anticipated of actually gathered from it, either from information gained or the known injury to the enemy, are not a compensation for the great loss to ourselves which was has been suffered in this affair. It is trusted, however, that your detailed report will enable the matter to be better understood.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. B. ELY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. EDISTO ISLAND, S. C., April 21, 1862.
Captain A. B. ELY,
A. A. A. G., Hdqrs. Northern Dist., Hilton Head, S. C.:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that after a tedious and protracted passage I reached this place to-day and have assumed the command.
* See report of General Gillmore of skirmish at Whitemarsh Island, Ga., p. 5.