Numbers 6. Report of Colonel James D. Radclifee, Sixty-first North Carolina Infantry.
JAMES ISLAND, S. C.,
July 17, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I respectfully beg leave to submit the following report of the engagement by the troops under my command with the U. S. sloop of war Pawnee and one other gunboat (name not known) near Grimball's Landing, on the Stono River, on Thursday morning, the 16th instant:
On Wednesday night, at 12 o'clock, in obedience to instructions from the general commanding. I moved with my regiment (Sixty-first North Carolina Troops) toward the Artillery Cross-Roads, where I was joined by a section of the Chatham Artillery, Captain [J. F.] Wheaton commanding, and a section of Captain [F. D.] Blake's artillery, consisting in all of four Napoleon guns, under the immediate of three rifled guns which was to form part of the column of attack, being delayed by some cause, I thought it proper to put the troops in marsh, throwing forward 200 men of the Sixty-first North Carolina Troops, to be used as skirmishers against the enemy's line of pickets, under the immediately command of Major Henry Harding. The whole column moved from the cross-roads the Grimball road, about 3 o'clock on the morning of the 16th, in the direction of the commanded by the guns of two formidable vessels. On arriving at the field adjacent to the Grimball Landing, I caused the infantry in advance to be deployed as skirmishers on the skirt of the woods contiguous, and for a distance of several hundred yards on either side of the road leading to the landing.
The light batteries, under Colonel Del. Kemper, had received orders to advance simultaneously with the line of skirmishers, followed by the remainder of the Sixty-first North Carolina Troops as an infantry support.
At the first dawn of day, the command was given to advance, the troops, infantry and artillery, moving up boldly and eagerly to the attack. So prompt and silent were they in taking their positions, that the whole attack proved a complete surprise, our batteries having fired about six times before the Pawnee, the most formidable of the two boats, could prepare for action. The rapidity and accuracy with which our batteries fired on this occasion has scarcely been equaled in artillery practice, more than one-third of the missiles discharged from our guns taking effect on the Pawnee, a fact easily ascertained by the crashing her timbers and confusion and cries of her crew. Both boats finally withdrew beyond range of our guns, the Pawnee supposed to be very seriously crippled and the other boat more or less damaged.
The infantry, who were disappointed in meeting the enemy on land, were, nevertheless, exposed during the entire action to a galling fire of shell and canister from the bunboats, and showed, both officers and men, by their proximity to danger, that they would never desert the batteries.
Much credit is due to the skill and coolness of Lieutenant Colonel Del. Kemper in the disposition of the artillery for action, and also to Cap-