I am informed by Adjutant Goodell that he gave to the officer in charge of the flag the above instructions in the plainest possible manner, telling him at least four times to come to an anchor and receiving his assurance that he would do so. This statement is entirely corroborated by Lieutenant Dandy and other persons than on board the Foulkes. Our boat, however, had not reached the wharf on her return when the wheels of the General Lee began to revolve, first slowly and then rapidly, and the vessel to move up the river. As this was in direct violation of my instructions and of Captain Stewart's promise I directed the guns on the west face of the fort to open fire upon her, but so rapidly was she moving that she was almost immediately out of range. As she continued to increase her speed and showed no disposition to stop I quickly placed on board the Foulkes a 6-pounder and 25 men, including a detachments of the Third Rhode Island Artillery, in charge of Lieutenant Blanding, of that regiment, the whole in command of Captain Coan, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers. I directed him to pursue the regrating steamer and make every effort to bring her back. He was successful in this attempt. The full particulars in regard to this will be found in Captain Coan's report, which I herewith inclose.*
Having directed the Lee to be anchored near the north wharf, and having forwarded the following dispatch:
To General HUNTER:
I have detained the steamer and am on my way to Hilton Head.
I started for Hilton Head, to communicate personally with the major-general commanding. Soon after I had left the wharf a dispatch was received at this post as follows:
To Colonel BARTON:
Detain the rebel steamer and send the officer as prisoners to these headquarters.
To which a reply was sent by Captain Elmendorf, the senior officer, in my absence:
To General HUNTER:
Dispatch received. Tug-boats Relief aground. Shall I send prisoners with rebel steamer?
Meanwhile I had arrived at Hilton Head and seen the general commanding, and received verbal instructions to forward the Lee, with all on board as prisoners, to headquarters. These instructions were afterward modified by the general, thorough Lieutenant [A. M.] Kinzie, of his staff, by a direction to forward the officers and crew by our own boat, which was done this morning, during my absence from the fort.
Captain Elmendorf, then commanding, received these instructions, viz:
To Captain ELMENDORF:
Retain the prisoners at the fort until Colonel Barton returns.
To Captain ELMEDORF:
Put the officers and crew of the rebel steamer in close confinement in the fort.