I have a great aversion to sensational reports, but regard it as my duty to keep the commanding general advised of every occurrence here as soon as possible, and from abundant caution to act upon reports as true, although they may turn out afterward to be false or exaggerated. I sent as soon as I received the report to ascertain what the force of the enemy was. It turned out that the force did not exceed 200 men, as will appear from the report* of Lieutenant-Colonel Pressley, herewith forwarded, which will also explain their movements, &c. I cannot conjecture the meaning of their demonstration yesterday evening. The object of the gun-boat, perhaps, was to work, and to find out if the bridge across the Stono above could be reached by the fire from the boat without her coming in range of the guns of the battery. Colonel Simonton's report, herewith forwarded, will show that the projectiles fell in the river near the bridge.
The object of the infantry force may have been to ascertain, by drawing our fire, if we had guns nearer than Pringle, which could command Battery Island, upon which they may wish to establish a battery.
I respectfully ask that torpedoes be again placed in the Stono as soon as it can be effected, and that the raft recommended yesterday be thrown across the river so as more effectually to guard against any attempt by barges to burn the bridge or attack Pringle.
I send with this one of the rockets fired from Dixon's Island. It seems to be a 2-inch Hale rocket. About twenty have been, I understand, picket up, some of 3 inches diameter.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. B. TALIAFERRO,
Captain JOHN M. OTEY,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., April 17, 1864.
Order the torpedoes put as requested. It must have been a reconnaissance in force for future positive or false operations.
The raft has already been ordered.
G. T. B.,
ROYALL'S, May 15,1 864-1 p. m.
Two hundred and ninety-four projectiles from columbiads, rifles, and mortars fired at enemy yesterday from Fort Johnson command. Effect believed to have been telling, as they fired wild and slackened up after we opened. No firing from our batteries after sunset; no firing this morning. Will direct that firing, if enemy open again, be more deliberate. I will send down a 30-pounder Parrott, which will save expense and annoy as much as heavier gun. The following vessels inside the bar: One ironside, 7 monitors, 16 other vessels
*See p. 262.