general commanding, that at daylight this morning our pickets on the northwest shore of Cockspur Island discovered and reported to me a steamer flying the rebel flag apparently ground off Cunningham Point, the southeastern extremity of Jones Island. The night had been very dark and stormy, with a thick fog, which accounts for her having escaped observation before. When the vessel was first seen two of their boats filled with men had left her and were about a mile up the Savannah River, on the way to Savannah, and a third immediately followed. As it was very evident that the vessel herself washard and fast aground, her copper showing plainly, I directed the fire of the fast aground, her copper showing plainly, I directed the fire of the fort entirely at the retreating boats, but these being at the extreme range of our longest guns, an damage was done them. I had previously sent orders to the tug Starlight, then at the south dock, to come immediately around to the north wharf, but in so doing she unfortunately blew out the packing of her valves, so that the engineers could remain only a moment at a time in the engine-room and her speed was greatly lessened. Had it not been for this untoward accident doubtless the whole party belonging to the steamer would now be in our hands. I did not, however, permit them to escape without an effort, but pursued them with small boats as long as there seemed to be the least hope of overtaking them. Almost immediately after her abandonment by the crew and long before our boats could reach her the steamer was discovered to be on fire, and was soon completely enveloped in flames. Not only was she set on fire, but apparently every Exertion was made to blow up her boiler, the last without success. I judge her to have been originally a river steamer, of about 500 tons capacity, but built over to enable her to go to sea. She was a very handsome mode. evidently very fast, and from the marks on her stern draw only 5 or 6 feet of water. In appearance she was somewhat similar to the Ben De Ford. She had a full cargo of cotton. Doubtless as soon as she grounded preparations were made to burn her, for the flames burst out from all points almost simultaneously and spread with inconceivable rapidity; her boilers, machinery, anchors, &c., can easily be saved, and in my judgment are of sufficient value to justify the sending down of a suitable vessel and experienced persons to remove them. I have reason to believe her to be the Emma, a steamer well known to have run the blockade several times heretofore to Nassau. The design of this vessel doubtless was to get to sea by the following route, which I pointed out as practicable in my communication of July 29 to Major Halpine, assistant adjutant-general, and of which the following is an extract:
In my opinion it is by no means impossible for a steamer to run the blockade by either of the following routes: Running under the fire of the fort for a short distance and entering Wright River, at its mouth though Wall's Cut, bull River, Pull-and-be-damned Creek, Cooper River, Calibogue Sound, and thus to sea, by the channel nearly 3 miles distant from our battery at the Martello Tower, or down Mud River, entering Wright River, entirely out of range of the fort, and for the reset of the distance by the route named above to sea.
Had she gone her length farther to the right she would have got into the channel of Wright River and gone to sea, as she whole have approached no nearer then 5 statute miles to our battery at Martello Tower, and after getting into Wright River would not only have been out of range of our guns, but actually out of sight in the day-time. If it was possible to furnish me with another steamer I think I could make the blockade entirely effectual, at least I would undertake to do so, but as now situated I cannot. The boat I have, and indeed all the boats, are nearly half the time out of repair, from the fact their