"Shall I tell Colonel Gurney that the movement is a failure?" to which I made no reply, but went back to the boats. I called to the officers of the boats and asked them to land their men: just then the rebels fired their signal gun and immediately opened with their batteries. I called to them again to land; that it was their only chance to save themselves. Some of the boats moved forward through the break in the bar as if to land. Soon after the signal gun was fired the rebels opened a musketry fire form Simkins, which rapidly increased in volume, but without much effect, as we were about 250 yards from the works. When I saw that the boats showed a disposition to land I ordered my boat to pass through the break in the bar in order that I might land above Simkins. As I was moving forward a pontoon got foul of my boat and crowded it against the bank. At this time the rebels fired very rapidly, and were sweeping the beach with grape and canister from a gun at Johnson. I could not see a man or boat on the beach, but as far as I could see to the right the boats were retreating from the beach and heading toward Sumter. Concluding that the movement had been given by Colonel Hoyt, who I judged to be on the right, I ordered my boat to go about. I then found all the boats that were behind me were in full retreat, excepting Captain Henry's pontoon, which had previously landed on the marsh in front of Simkins, and were still firing at the rebels behind that work. When they found that the attack had been abandoned they took to their boat and got off without the loss of a man. I ordered my boat to head for Fort Putnam and finally went into Vincent's Creek and landed at Strong, as my oarsmen had been constantly at work from the time the troops commenced to embark.
If the proper spirit had been shown, if the efforts of the colonel and lieutenant-colonel of the Fifty-second Pennsylvania had been properly supported, I think the movement would have been a success. For my own regiment, I can say that both officers and men obeyed promptly and cheerfully at the orders I gave them.
Following is a list of casualties in my command: Private Lake, Company A, contusion on shoulder from shell; Sergeant Wells, Company G, arm, slight.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDWARD H. LITTLE,
Major, Commanding Regiment.
Captain R. H. L. JEWETT,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Numbers 25. Reports of Colonel William W. H. Davis, One hundred and fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding brigade, of destruction of blockade-runner Presto, and operations July 1-6.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Morris Island, S. C., February 6, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report, for the information of the major-general commanding, the part taken by the Morris Island