JAMES ISLAND, August 31, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have made a reconnaissance of Light-House Inlet and of the south side of Black Island, and beg leave to report as follows:
Leaving Battery Haskell last night at half-past 8 o'clock, I proceeded to the inlet, and, drifting with the current for about a mile and a half, enjoyed an excellent view of the enemy's fleet of transports. They were lying at anchor from the mouth of the inlet to within three-quarters of a mile or a mile of Black Island. I could not recognize any gunboats, nor could I see any guard-boats or barges in front of the fleet. I afterward landed on the marsh and walked far, in front of, and near to, Black Island beach. Saw a picket or bivouac fire about 250 to 300 yards from the western point and near the center of the island, but could see no earthworks, although the southern side of the island was carefully scrutinized in search of such. Returning about 3.30 a. m., I am sorry to say our bat picket, stationed in the creek beyond Battery Haskell, were surprised, sleeping-not one awake. The men comprising this hold the safety of Battery Haskell and the lives of its garrison in their hands, and unsleeping vigilance should be maintained. I have reported the sergeant in charge of the picket to Brigadier-General Taliaferro.
SAMUEL LE ROY HAMMOND,
Captain Yadon Light Infantry, 25th Regiment, S. C. Vols.
Captain W. F. NANCE,
Leaving Battery Haskell and taking the creek to the right, I turned into Black Island Creek and continued on it beyond the eastern point of Black Island, where it branches, one narrow stream running toward the island and the other in the direction of the Marsh Battery. I proceeded toward the battery until the creek or gully became so shallow that I could go no farther. This creek runs nearly dry at half tide. A small creek connects it with a branch from Thomas Island Creek, upon which, or in the vicinity of which, the battery has been erected. As the marsh was very soft and the battery still a full quarter of a mile distant, I turned back and took the large creek running toward Morris Island and leading to Thomas Island Creek.
After going about 1 1/2 miles I left the boat and took the marsh, and succeeded in getting within from 200 to 250 yards of the battery, when the marsh becoming soft I could not go farther. The moon was shinning brightly and I had a fair view of the battery. Getting somewhat to the rear, I could plainly see the Yankees at work busy as bees, making an embrasure or widening one, building or repairing platform, and hammering at a gun-carriage. I counted 23 at work. One gun was cocked up over the epaulement, and although I could not distinctly see, yet it is my impression that this gun has been disabled, and the enemy preparing to put another in position and break the mysterious silence which the battery has maintained during the week. Meanwhile the disabled gun is hoisted