Shaw tells me you are now organizing and have in forward preparation.
Thanking you heartily for the kindness and promptness with which you have met my views in this matter, and referring you to my letter to Mr. Jefferson Davis as a guarantee that all soldier fighting for the flag of their country in this department will be protected irrespective of any accident of color or birth, I have the honor to be, Governor, with the highest esteem, your very obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., June 3, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I have much pleasure in transmitting to you herewith certified copy of a telegraphic report* just received from Colonel James Montgomery, commanding Second South Carolina Regiment, of the result of the first of a series of raids upon the main-land, now organized and in process of being carried out.
From the report you will see that Colonel Montgomery, with 300 men of his regiment and a section of the Third Rhode Island Battery, commanded by Captain Brayton, penetrated the country of the enemy 25 miles, destroyed a pontoon bridge across the Combahee River, together with a vast amount of cotton, rice, and other property, and brought away with him 725 slaves and some 5 horses.
This expedition is but the initial experiment of a system of incursions which will penetrate up all the inlets, creeks, and rivers of this department, and to be used in which I am now having several of our light-draught transport steamers supplied with bulwarks of boiler-iron to protect the troops on board from musketry and rifles; such steamers carrying 10 and 20-pounder
howitzers in their bows.
I have also to report that Colonel Hawley, Seventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, commanding Saint Augustine, recently made a raid into the interior, in which he captured 118 head of cattle and many mules and horses, the cattle belonging to one Feitch, who was a contractor for supplying beef to the rebel army.
Colonel Montgomery with his forces will repeat his incursions as rapidly as possible in different directions, injuring the enemy all he can and carrying away their slaves, thus rapidly filling up the South Carolina regiments in the department, of which there are now four.
The Fifty-fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers (colored), Colonel Shaw commanding, arrived to-day in good condition, and appear an excellent regiment, over 900 strong. They will soon have abundant and very important employment, as will all other regiments, white or colored, that may be sent to re-enforce this department.
Congratulating you and the country on the favorable aspect of affairs in the Southwest, and hoping soon to be in a position to send you good news from this department, I have the honor to be, sir, with the highest esteem, your very obedient servant,
* Not found.