ney's--sailed from Hilton Head and united with the troops on Morris and Folly Islands and a portion of the naval force in an attack on the works defending this city. The land force, estimated at 8,000, was commanded in person by Major-General Foster, and the naval force by Rear-Admiral Dahlgren.
The general plan of the enemy seems to have been to make, with the troops from Morris and Folly Islands and the navy, such a demonstration on our works on the south end of James Island as to induce us so to weaken the east lines on that island as to enable them to seize the important work, Fort Johnson. At the same time a column was to move up John's Island and take positions from which our works on James Island could be enfiladed and taken in reverse, and where batteries could be established nearer the city than any they now have . The movement on John's Island was to be covered and aided by a demonstration in force on the Savannah Railroad in the vicinity of Adams' Run.
Accordingly, at daydawn on the morning of the 2nd, several regiments crossed over from Folly and Morris Islands to the south end of James Island, and after a sharp skirmish drove in our pickets and captured 2 field pieces. Two monitors and several gun-boats came up the Stono above Legareville and opened a heavy fire on our works. At the same time Hatch's and Saxton's brigades landed on Seabrook Island and Birney's sailed up the North Edisto and landed at White Point. All of our available force for the defense of Charleston was immediately concentrated on James Island. The First Georgia Regulars and 300 men of the Fourth Georgia Cavalry (dismounted), and three companies of the Third South Carolina Cavalry (also dismounted) were ordered from Savannah and its vicinity to John's Island.
At daydawn on the 3rd, about 1,000 of the enemy in barges made an attack on Fort Johnson. They were handsomely and thoroughly repulsed by the garrison of Fort Johnson, under Lieutenant-Colonel Yates, First South Carolina Artillery, with the loss to the enemy of 140 men, including a colonel and 5 other commissioned officers captured and many killed and wounded. At the same time General Birney advanced his command from White Point toward Adams' Run, but had marched less than 6 miles when they encountered at King's Creek a battery, supported by cavalry, with General Robertson had placed there, and after an hour or wo of skirmishing Birney fell back to White Point, re-embarked his troops, and rejoined Hatch and Saxton, who in the mean time had crossed form Seabrook to John's Island and moved slowly up toward Charleston, our very small force on John's Island retiring skirmishing; and on the 7th, repulsed quite a formidable effort to drive them off, inflicting upon the enemy comparatively heavy loss. But the enemy nevertheless succeeded in gaining a position from which they could enfilade our works on James Island.
It was manifestly of the utmost importance that they be dislodged and driven from John's Island. The force at my command was so small, and from the nature of the service manning heavy batteries on a long line of important works, that I could not concentrate a sufficient force for the purpose without endangering the most important line of works for the defense of the harbor, for, having command of the water and ample steam transportation, the enemy could in a few hours change their point of attack from John's to James