certain success," his reply was, "Oh, we can take the battery," and I aver that this was said without qualification, though Captain Drayton appears to think he heard the words, "he thought" added. And as to General Stevens, a person who it appears had charge of the boat that took General Stevens and myself to the steamer Delaware from the "conference," met my adjutant-general in Boston and stated to him that he heard the question put directly by myself to General Stevens during that return, if he "thought we should be successful," and to this General Stevens replied in the affirmative, of which fact this man's affidavit has been sent me, and it is not pretended that Colonel Williams ever said one word on the subject either way.
And as I have been informed that General Hunter has given as a reason for sending me from the department the want of confidence felt in me dy my command there, it is due to myself to state the following facts: Upon the evening of the 16th of June, after the attack and repulse, I was requested to meet those three officers, Generals Wright and Stevens and Colonel Williams, at the headquarters of the former, where they had been together some hours. And upon arriving there, after a short time spent in general conversation on the events of the day, in which not one word was said to the effect that any person had objected to the movement, or that I myself was in the slightest degree to blame or responsible for the failure, Colonel Williams stood up and addressed me at some length, the other two officers most markedly precessions, which I distinctly recollect: "General Benham, you must to Washington to demand re-enforcement, and we will hold on to this position till they come, and we can make the attack on Charleston. You must push General Hunter aside." To which my reply was, "No, gentlemen; General Hunter has been too kind to me for it to be possible that I should do anything of this kind; but I will do all I can to hold this place, as I think we ought to, till we can get re-enforcement." This, I am satisfied, Colonel Williams will not deny, and it shows conclusively whether those officers then blamed or had lost confidence in myself, and the whole plan of the expedition, as well as of the attack, was entirely my own, as General Stevens took occasion to say to me explicitly the next day.
H. W. BENHAM.
ASTOR HOUSE, New York, August 31, 1862.
General H. W. BENHAM:
GENERAL: I take advantage of a few hours' leisure, while awaiting the departure of the steamer for Port Royal, to answer briefly the inquiries you made yesterday.
Last May I was at Fort Pulaski as lieutenant-colonel, commanding the Seventh Connecticut (my present commission not having arrived). Under your orders, the regiment embarked on the Cosmopolitan on the night of May 31. You remember the errors which led the captain of the steamer to land us at North Edisto, instead of taking us directly to General Stevens' command, on the Stono.
I reported to General H. G. Wright, at North Edisto, on Sunday afternoon, June 1. My arrival was unexpected, and while he was de liberating upon the disposal of the regiment, your order came to cross that night to John's Island (or Seabrook's, a part of John's). Tumbling