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Skirmish on James Island, S. C. June 8, 1862
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Skirmish on James Island, S. C.


Report of Brig. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, U. S. Army.



James Island, S. C.,  June 8, 1862.


Sir: I have the honor to report that in obedience with your order a reconnaissance was made of our left up the road leading from Grim- balls plantation by the Forty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers and a company of the First Massachusetts Cavalry, all under command of Colonel J. H. Morrow, of General Hunter’s staff. Our column pushed up as far as the church, which was examined last evening by Lieutenant-Colonel Hawley, Seventh Connecticut, and Lieutenant Lyons, of my staff, and meeting with a heavy force of skirmishers of the enemy it was deemed prudent to withdraw. Our loss was 2 killed and 5 wounded all of the Forty-sixth Regiment. The enemy’s position at Secessionville was observed from our right. A floating battery of two heavy guns was seen moved close to the village. Two guns on field or siege carriages were observed on the work on the left of Secessionville. About 4 o’clock I directed Captain Stevens, of my staff; with a portion of the Third New Hampshire to move across the causeway between our pickets and those of the enemy, and pushed forward to the road half a mile this side of the field work extending toward Newton’s Cut. Accordingly the regiment was moved forward across the marsh and a platoon of cavalry was thrown across the field toward the wood on the left. Captain Donohoc’s Company was deployed as skirmishers and advanced rapidly to the road beyond the house. A few rods this side the house they captured a picket of 4 of the enemy, coining upon them unexpectedly. On reaching the road the company was divided. The captain and one platoon were sent directly forward to examine the enemy’s rifle pits in front of the field work; the other platoon was sent up the road to the left. When the captain and his platoon had advanced within 200 yards of the rifle pits the enemy opened fire on them with one field piece planted some distance behind the rifle pit, firing once in three or four minutes. Soon after the floating battery opened with a well-directed amid well-sustained fire, but none of our men were touched. The recall was then given, and the force then withdrew in good order and safety. The other platoon had pushed up the road nearly a half mile when ordered to fall back. Shortly after our force fell back two or three battalions of the enemy were observed to be posted behind the hedges and rifle pits in front of the field work. Oar men behaved remarkably well, both infantry and cavalry. They manifested the greatest alacrity and daring throughout. The prisoners consisted of a corporal and 3 privates of the Charleston Rifle Volunteers; have been interrogated by Lieutenant Wilson, who has taken down their information at length, and to whom 1 beg to refer you for further particulars.


I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier- General, Commanding.


Capt. A. B. ELY,

Assistant Adjutant- General.



SOURCE: The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume 14; pages 33-34.