which they had abandoned on his approach. He pursued them and soon caught the chaplain (who was in command of the party), first lieutenant, and a negro of the First South Carolina (Negro) Regiment, secreted in the marsh on the river.
My thanks are due to Colonel [C. J.] Colcock, who kindly sent me down his negro dogs on the train on Sunday, and the party I sent out with them from Captain Appleby's company caught the operator that afternoon in the marsh near the river. I again sent the dogs out on Monday morning and caught a negro of the party, the property of the late Colonel William C. Heyword.
From information gathered from the two negroes caught, I ascertained that the enemy had sent a negro company temporarily to Williman's Island to support their expedition, and knew that they could be captured if I could get there before they abandoned it.
I made the necessary arrangements, and proceeded on the night of the 14th, with 30 men of my command and the 50 sent me by the brigadier-general commanding, from Pocotaligo, under Lieutenant [L. J.] Walker, of the Rutledge Mounted Rifles and Horse Artillery, for the purpose, and, with the assistance of Mr. Merwin as a guide, I arrived on the island, after a long and rugged march through the marsh, about daylight. I found evident signs of the island having been occupied by the enemy, and advanced upon the houses in which they were said to be quartered in, to shoot through, evidently expecting to be attacked if found out. Six the negroes who accompanied the enemy's telegraphic party have either made their escape or are still in the Combahee marshes, which I am still having hunted with negro dogs, although I must say that, owing ot the dense growth of briars, &c., on the check-dams, it is next to an impossibility for man or dogs to get through.
I neglected to mention that over a mile of very fine gutta-percha wire was captured about a half mile from the railroad on Saturday evening, which I will send to-day, by he order of the brigadier-general commanding, to General G. T. Beauregard.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain JAMES LOWNDES,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1863.-Explosion at Battery Cheves, James Island, S. C.
Report of Captain W. W. Billopp, Twenty-ninth Georgia Infantry, commanding.
BATTERY CHEVES, September 16, 1863.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report a very sad accident at this post yesterday, the explosion of the magazine and each of 5 men and a lieutenant.
How it was caused it is impossible to tell. A sentinel was always kept at the entrance, with strict orders to allow no pipes or fire in any shape near it, nor allow one but ordnance men and commis-