No. 11. Report of Brigadier General John P. Hatch, U. S. Army, commanding U. S. Forces, Hilton Head, &c., of operations July 2-11.
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, HILTON HEAD FORT PULASKI, SAINT HELENA, AND TYBEE ISLANDS, Hilton Head, S. C., July 12, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the reconnaissance in force lately made by my command on John's Island:
The force, consisting of Saxton's brigade (three regiments of infantry) and Day's battery (Third New York Artillery), commanded by Brigadier General R. Saxton; Davis' brigade (three regiments of infantry), commanded by Colonel W. W. H. Davis, One hundred and fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers; two companies Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, commanded by Major D. B. Keith, commenced disembarking on Seabrook Point on the morning of the 2nd instant. Owing to the shallowness of water at the dock and unexpected difficulties in landing, we were unable to complete the disembarkation until the morning of the 3rd instant. The One hundred and forty-fourth New York Volunteers, Colonel W. J. Slidell commanding, as soon as landed on the morning of the 2nd, advanced and occupied Haulover Cut, where some opposition had been expected. The prompt movement of Colonel Slidell prevented the occupation by the enemy of the works at that point. The remainder of Davis' brigade, with a few cavalry, were sent to his support as soon as possible, and a good bridge over the cut, capable of passing artillery, completed before night. As soon as landed Saxton's command and the cavalry were pushed forward to Haulover Cut, where the last of the command arrived about 10 a.m. on the 3rd. Davis' brigade, the cavalry, and a piece of artillery marched to Jenkins' house, on Bohicket Creek, 4 miles in advance of the cut,on the morning of the 3rd, and the whole command was consolidated at that point on the evening of the same day. From the moment of landing a small force of the enemy's cavalry hovered around the advance, occasionally firing upon us,but rapidly falling back when pursued by our cavalry.
July 4.- The command moved to a point on the Aberpoolie Creek, 3 miles from Legareville, where a detachment of 25 of the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry and Wildt's battery of the Third New York Artillery joined. The intense heat of the day prevented a longer march that day, a large number of the command becoming exhausted.
July 5.- Leaving a battalion of four companies of the Twenty-sixth U. S. Colored Troops at the camp of the last night, and two companies of the same regiment at the forks of the road, where the road branches to Bugbee Bridge, to prevent my communication with Legareville being cut, we marched to a point opposite Battery Pringle and occupied a strong position, fronting on a marsh, the right of the line protected by the Stono River, the left by an almost impenetrable jungle. Pickets, strongly supported, were thrown half a mile to the front and a reconnaissance made of Battery Pringle. This battery or fort was found to be an extensive earthwork, mounting eight large guns, protected from an enfilading fire