Numbers 2. Reports of Captain M. H. Sellers, Twenty-fifth South Carolina Infantry.
JAMES ISLAND, S. C., August 6, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have received orders to make a report immediately of the expedition of the night of the 4th of August, and, in obedience to the orders, I would respectfully make the following report, after stating that Captain Warley, of the navy, was in command of the expedition, and I in command of the 30 men detailed from the Twenty-fifth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers:
I proceeded to Fort Johnson, according to the order, and, after waiting some time, Captain Warley, of the navy, came up, and then Brigadier-General Ripley arrived. The officers were then summoned together by Brigadier-General Ripley, and he explained the object of the expedition to us to be the capturing of a party of the enemy supposed to be on a marsh island, between James Island and Morris Island. He then placed Captain Warley in command of the expedition, with instructions to land me at the point of this island, and Captain Warley, with two boats, to follow the creek around, so as to operate with me at the other end of the island, where it was supposed the enemy was.
Having arrived at the point of the island, I landed with a guide, as directed, and obtained from him all the information desired of the locality and direction of the point on which I was to advance. I then returned to my boats (two in number) and landed my men, and proceeded to make my arrangements to advance. I posted a corporal and 5 men at my boats as a guard and to act as a reserve, and after selecting 10 men to post as sentinels at every 200 yards as I advanced, to establish proper communications with my boats, I deployed as skirmishers the remaining 15 men, letting the center of my line rest on the path leading to the point on which I was to advance. I then reported to Captain Warley that I was ready to go forward, and he told me to go ahead. I then proceed very cautiously, establishing posts of 2 men at intervals of 150 or 200 yards, so as to secure communication with my boats.
No signs of the enemy could be seen till my line arrived in full view of the battery thrown up on that part of the island by our engineers some time ago, when I observe an object like a man standing on the battery. I asked several men what it was, pointing to it, and we concluded it was a post, as there seemed to be no motion about it at all. I then advanced more cautiously than ever, and when about 100 yards from the battery several men said they saw a man run, and it proved to be the object on the battery. I then pushed forward my right and left wings of the skirmishers, converging to the battery, so as to allow no escape but by boats.
When the line reached a mound near the battery, the right wing opened on a boat of about 8 men, leaving, and already at some distance, and when last seen but 2 men were airing the boat. When my line reached the water's edge, it was fired upon a boat, taking refuge behind the battery and the hull of the Manigault, from both of which the island was separated by a creek, which I afterward found to contain about 8 feet of water.
Finding it impossible to do anything from my present position, I drew the men back about ten steps behind the mound mentioned