the rebels landed to-day on Bonyhall Island, near Simmons's place, with a force that he estimates at 500 infantry, and 100 cavalry, and came near capturing him at Colonel Morris' place, where he then was. He also tells me that he has made the same report to you and to Major Bedel, so that you will both be on the lookout for any further movements of the enemy.
Assuming the general truth of the report, I must that the story of the 100 cavalry taken across the South Edisto)or Pon Pon) River seems to me doubtful, for I cannot conceive any reason the enemy can have for such a force on that island. Yet the report should not be disregarded, and should prompt us to increase watchfulness.
If there be any in the statement, which I can hardly doubt, it shows the enemy to be active. Let me know by a mounted messenger if any further demonstration is made by the enemy.
Your report of this morning, inclosing one from Major Bedel to you, has been received. Major Bedel's advance and demonstration upon Jehossee Island yesterday was of course without any authority from me, as any instructions of that character, or indeed any other, would have been given through you. I assume that the conduct of Major Bedel was prompted by the most praiseworthy motives, but it cannot be approved, as it was in open disregard of the well-known military principle that no forward movement or demonstration must be made without the sanction of the commander of the forces. A major-general commanding a division of our Army would not make a movement upon the enemy or send out a party for a forced reconnaissance without the sanction of the general commanding all the forces, as an act of this kind might involve the most serious consequences, such as bringing on a general action, when it was not desires or disturb the plans of a campaign. Other ill consequences flowing from such unauthorized proceedings can be readily imagined. Should Major Bedel think at any time any particular movement is desirable he should present his views, so that if approved the movement may, if necessary, be supported. I do not mean to say that an officer in Major Bedel's position cannot send out reconnoitering parties to ascertain the presence of an enemy, such a course being both proper and necessary to his own security, but this is a very different thing from moving with his main force several miles to the front, as I understand to have been done yesterday.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. WRIGHT,
HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., May 16, 1862.
General A. H. TERRY:
DEAR SIR: In consequence of the violation of the flag of true on the 14th instant by the seizure of our boats' crew while on an errand of mercy to the rebels, and properly under such a flag of truce, you are hereby directed to seize and hold all of their parties coming to or near our lines on any pretense whatsoever until said boat and boat's crew shall have been returned. If these men are not returned by the 17th, if you can get up an expedition in safety and secrecy to capture the picket of the rebels upon Saint Augustine Creek at its mouth you are hereby authorized to do so, and a written notice may be left to the commanding