and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers, the officer in command of the boat infantry. The major-general commanding desires to express his thanks to the officers and men who made the reconnaissance of Fort Sumter on the night of the 2nd of August, and is much pleased with their energy in the enterprise.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOMAS J. ROBINSON,
First Lieutenant U. S. Colored Troops, A. A. A. G.
HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Morris Island, S. C., August 6, 1864.
Captain W. L. M. BURGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the South:
SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 2nd of this month a deserter from the enemy came into our lines by way of John's and Kiawah Islands. The said deserter was lately conscripted into the engineer department, where he has been employed for the last two years as a civilian in building bridges and laying platforms. He is well informed, and has a general knowledge of the works on James Island and in the city. For the last three or four months he was engaged on the bridge thrown across the Stono River near Fort Pringle. His knowledge with regard to affairs at the North and West is unimportant and anticipated by former news. In a few words, the principal information gained through him may be summed up as follows:
The bridge across Stono was completed within the last week. The enemy is short of laborers. Among the work to be done after the recent call for 2,500 negroes who are to be employed on the fortifications is filled, a causeway about 700 yards long is to be carried across from Pringle bridge, through the marsh, to an inlet or some high around. A battery is to be erected at the same place, and from thence a bridge to run in a line directly south across the marsh, and over a creek to the mainland on John's Island.
It has long been my opinion, and it is corroborated by the statements of this deserter, that the enemy intends to extend his lines on John's Island, protecting himself as he advances by new works which he throws up in his rear. Elliott's Cut, which is laid down on the Coast Survey charts of 1825, but which does not appear except as a creek on the sketches of late years, the entrance to Stono River having been closed by a sand bank, has been re-opened, a mud machine having worked on it for mine months. The bridge that lay across this cut has also been taken apart, and it is now passable by vessels 40 feet broad and of 7 feet draught. Wappoo Cut has been obstructed near Stono River by the sinking of a schooner and driving in of spiles on each sid of it, and by a bridge thrown across just above the schooner, and where the ferry used to be.
Since the recent attack on the 2nd of July the enemy has closed Fort Pringle in the rear by a breast-work six feet high. He has also erected a new battery a few hundred yards to the east of Pringle, which mounts two mortars and two guns.
I shall retain this deserter for the purpose of obtaining such information from his as I may require from time to time, his