three iron-clads, one wooden gunboat, five schooners, and one transport. These iron-clads have not been moved since they came into the river, so I was informed. One had smoke issuing from her smokestack; the picket said he had noticed the same thing several times. The schooners were all loaded, excepting one. I mentioned in a former report that these vessels carried coal, provisions, and army stores only. The transports, a large passenger steamer, went to sea, light and without troops, early in the morning, while I was at the point of observation. In the evening, the pickets reported the arrival of four more transports (those are vessels to carry troops and sometimes freight).
Rockville, a molal village on Wadmalaw Island, the place from where the observations are made, is distant 1 1/2 miles from the fleet. The reports from there are made by the pickets.
I think it would be much better to have one man regularly stationed at Rockville to watch the fleet. He could make himself acquainted with the different vessels in a short time, and though a vessel should be away for a week or more he could recognize it on its return, and, besides, if it was one man's duty he would very probably take a pride in watching and reporting more minutely anything that occurs than the pickets, who are there once in four days.
I take this occasion to bring to your notice that there is a regiment of the Abolitionists stationed on a point of Seabrok Island a little over 1 mile from Rockville. They are encamped on a very small piece of ground, consequently their tents are very close together.
A little distance from Rockville there is a hill that slopes back from the river. Major Jenkins, in command of the forces on the islands, is exceedingly anxious to get a Whitworth or a Parrott gun, if only for a few days. He says the hill is a safe place and a natural breastwork for both the men and the gun, and if General Beauregard will let him have a Whitworth or a Parrott gun, he will drive the Abolitionists off Seabrook Island.
I am convinced that Major Jenkins will do marked service with the gun. If he only breaks up their encampment, they will have to go back where it is unhealthy (in the middle of the island), on account of the stagnant ware, or to the sea beach; in either event it is very probable that they would leave the island altogether. There are two encampments on the island, perhaps only two regiments.
During a little skirmish between Major Jenkins' troops, and the Abolitionists on Seabrook Island, a shell 17 inches long and 8 inches in diameter was fired with great accuracy by a rifle gun from one of the iron-clads. The distance fired was about 2 1/2 miles, certainly not short of that distance. The camp exploded, but the powder was wet. I brought the shell to the city. It is pretty good proof that they have no their iron-clads guns than 15 and 11 inch.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. PLINY BRYAN,
Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General.
OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER,
Charleston, S. C., July 5, 1863.
Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to hand you the inclosed communications from Major Echols and Mr. Cheves, the former designed to
12 R R-VOL XXVIII, PT II