War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0788 COAST OF S.C., GA., AND MID. AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.

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mander-in-chief of the U. S. naval forces upon this coast, with the duty of delivering a letter from Lord Lyons, the British embassador at Washington, to the commander of the English war ship Petrel, at anchor in Charleston Harbor, which was sent by an officer from the English embassy direct to Port Royal, I have the honor to represent to you that for this purpose only I sent in to-day the U. S. steamer Flambeau, Commander J. H. Upshur. That officer informs me that in obedience to my orders he proceeded to the entrance of Charleston Harbor, observing all the forms and precautions appropriate to such an occasion, hoisting the white flag at the fore, firing two blank cartridges to attract attention, and, taking up a position sufficiently near only to insure the recognition of the flag of truce, anchored his vessel. Very soon afterward a shot was fired deliberately at him from a battery on shore and then three others successively, each of which struck very near his ship.

As I entertain not a doubt that this originated in some mistake, which I can neither account for nor guard against, and as by an arrangement entered into between Commander Upshur and the officers who met him under that flag of truce I may have occasion to send in a flag of truce again in a few days, I have left it my duty to call your attention to this occurrence, not doubting that you will be glad to avail yourself of this occasion to explain it, and to point out to me, if such there may have been, any irregularities on my part which authorized such a violation of the flag, which from time immemorial has been used by parties at war with each other to cover and to promote acts of necessity, of comity, and often of mercy to one side or the other, and in this case especially an act of disinterested courtesy and accommodation to the representative of Her Britannic Majesty at the Government of Washington.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Commodore and Senior Officer Present.

P. S.-This letter has been detained for some opportune occasion to send it in.


HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., February 27, 1863.

Respectfully referred to Brigadier-General Ripley for a report of the facts.


SAVANNAH, February 22, 1863.


GENTLEMEN: Organizations of companies or battalions for the defense either of Charleston or Savannah will remain in Augusta, drilling and perfecting themselves in the use of arms, prepared and ready to move to either of the first-named cities on short notice.

As soon as the enemy has selected his point of attack and begins to make his preparations thereof these organizations will be informed thereof by telegraph, and will be expected to depart to the place or city