The following is General Hunter's order:*
There were fifteen regiments and two large batteries of artillery to "provide a secure encampment" for, and in the space fixed by General Hunter in the second paragraph there was not over about one-fourth of a square miles of dry land not covered by the fire of the rebel battery at Secessionville. Consequently, the reduction of this battery was a necessity, in order, first, to afford the troops necessary campaign ground, and, second, to enable light- draught gunboats to ascend the creek from Folly River, on the right, so as to cover our front, which, as it was commanded by that battery, they could not do.
General Benham, on June 10, ordered a reconnaissance for the next morning, stating, "it being deemed important that the batteries of the enemy which have borne upon our camps at Thomas Grimball's to-day should be closely reconnoitered or broken up, if possible, at the earliest moment, * * * a rush will be made upon and toward them at between 3.30 o'clock and the earliest daylight.?+ This was read to and approved by General Hunter, and he delayed his departure from the Stono one day after he had issued his order of the 10th, to learn the result of this reconnaissance, which was then pending. In consequence of an attack of the enemy on our lines on the afternoon of the 10th, the reconnaissance ordered for the 11th was postponed, and was again ordered for the 16th, in obedience to the terms of General Hunter's order, as well as to the military necessities of the case.
On the 30th of August, General Benham first met Colonel Hawley after the James Island affairs; and, after giving much verbal information, he the next day addressed General Benham a long letter of detail upon the information contained, in which is office the following notes on a letter (of ten pages, dated April 31, 1862) from Colonel J. R. Hawley, Seventh Connecticut Regiment, the commander of the leading brigade at the first of the assaults on the rebel battery on James Island. The letter of Colonel Hawley gives information on several important particulars previously unknown to me, both as to the march of General Wright across John's Island and as to the attack on Seccessionville by General Stevens.
As to General Wright, it was arranged with him for a previous twenty-four hours' notice, that he might rapidly cross the Edisto and march to the Stono, 15 miles, to unite with the rear column on arriving there, for a coup de main across James' Island for the seizure of Fort Johnson. It appears for this letter that General Wright had his infantry 5 miles out on June 2, and it is certain the eight pieces of his artillery, and a part, at least, of his cavalry over, so that the mass, if not all, of his effective strength was over, and within about 10 miles, by a good road, of the Stono and of our rear (then advanced column); and it did not rain any of consequence, if at all, for twenty-five or thirty hours after; and General Wright, for a portion of his horses or cavalry only, as it appears (not needed for his effective strength), remained there without moving for three nights and two days, consuming his rations, and for the last half of the time in severe rains in open bivouac; while the enemy, then knowing our point of attack, sent, as we learned, over 15,000 men from Savannah, and the dash across James Island, to bring Charleston under our guns, became impossible for our small force.
And, as to General Stevens' attack on the Secessionville fort, my orders were for Stevens' whole force to be upon the outer picket line (about a half mile beyond the causeway) before 3 a. m., and " before good
*See p. 46.
+See Benham to Wright, p. 350.