Gervais' house, upon which a clearing was discovered, doubtless made with the intention of erecting batteries to enfilade our works on James Island.
The second position taken by the enemy was in rear of a causeway flanked by marshes, which were commanded by a line of breast-works. The bridge over causeway was destroyed in the enemy's retreat. Knowing that many lives would be sacrificed in dislodging him, I preferred strengthening my own lines and making a flank attack, which, however, was rendered unnecessary by the enemy's retreat during the night. A quantity of commissary stores, ammunition, and camp and garrison stores fell into our hands.
For the information of the major-general commanding I desire to state that negro prisoners assert that Colonel Silliman, commanding Twenty-sixth Regiment U. S. Colored Troops, in the presence of Brigadier General R. Saxton (who has always commanded negroes), gave orders to show no quarter; also, that on Thursday, when the right of our line was temporarily pressed back, Private Cooper, Company B, Second South Carolina Cavalry, who was wounded, fell into the enemy's hands. When we recovered the ground it was discovered that he had been bayoneted in six or seven different places. I respectfully recommend that the Yankee General Foster be held to a strict accountability for such violation of civilized warfare. You will please find inclosed the reports of separate commanders. Our entire loss is 37 killed and 91 wounded.
The artillery, consisting of the Washington, Marion, and one section of Inglis Light Battery, all under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Kemper, was well served and did admirable execution. Colonel Harrison, Major Jenkins, and Major Wayne managed their Scouts, rendered me invaluable assistance on frequent occasions, and I would especially recommend him to the favorable notice of the commanding general. Privates Miller and Bryan, of same company, volunteered their services and gallantry charged with the Forty-seventh Regiment. Private August J. White, Company I, Second South Carolina Cavalry, displayed the most signal courage, charging on horseback with the infantry advance.
Too much credit cannot be given a portion of the Second South Carolina Cavalry, under Captain Clark, who in the action on Thursday held the right of our line against an almost overwhelming force of the enemy. Out of 21 men 7 were killed and 6 wounded. My thanks are due to Major W. W. Harvie, commissary of subsistence; Captain Worthington, assistant adjutant-general; First Lieutenant T. Henry Johnston, aide-de-camp; Captain William Waller, and Lieutenant A. G. Taylor, members of my staff, for their prompt transmission of orders on the field. Privates J. R. Wilson and W. C. Meggett, acting couriers, were exposed to heavy musketry fire and behaved well.
In conclusion, I would respectfully recommend the action of works commanding the approach to Burden's Causeway. The position is an important one to the enemy, who will doubtless again attempt its possession.
I am, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. H. ROBERTSON,
Major CHARLES S. STRINGFELLOW,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Charleston, S. C.