Today in History:

53 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I

Page 53 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.

station to open communication, and afterward find out the cause of the difficulty.

On the 21st, at daylight, I started with a party from Otter Island to visit Edingsville and locate a station. When we got outside the bar it was blowing almost a gale, and, as our landing would have to be made through the surf on the beach, it was considered impossible to land with the means we had and we returned. Sergeant Otis went in a small boat island, to see if a place could be found from which both towers could beseem. Captain Dutch, of the U. S. bark Kingfisher, volunteered to go with him as pilot, being acquainted with the country from frequent scouts he had made there and above there. Meanwhile I went to examine into and remove some difficulty in working the wire at Saint Helena Island. Returned to Otter Island on the 22d, and learned from Sergeant Otis that he had found a place on Big Bay Island from which he could see both towers, so I again made arrangements to start at daylight to build a station there.

During the night a heavy gale commenced, and continued so s to prevent our going outside Saint Helena Bar until the night of the 24th, when it abated.

On the 25th, at daylight, I got the party, consisting of 6 engineers and 15 infantry, for fatigue duty on board, and started, reaching Big Bay Island, in South Edisto Inlet, at noon, when we disembarked. I examined the spot selected by Sergeant Otis, but did not like its location. The island was entirely unoccupied, and we could find no tracks of man or horse upon it. It is covered with a dense and almost impenetrable undergrowth. There is a long and high range of sand-hills near the beach. The rear of the island is marshy, and is divided from edisto by creek. A causeway, which one connected it with Edisto, had been destroyed, and it had not probably been visited for months. I selected a sand-hill over 20 feet high at Bay Point, and estimated that a tower upon it 35 feet high would communicate with both stations; so I directed the engineers to built such a one. There was a great quantity of lumber obtainable from a small fort (never finished) built by the rebels before our capture of Port Royal. The fort was lined throughout with planks, even the traverses faced with plank, and a quantity unused lay outside. The frame was made that afternoon, and at night party was taken on board the steamer, as we had no force for pickets. We again disembarked at daylight on the 26th, and I sent the steamer to Botany Bay to bring down Lieutenant Morril to take charge of the new station. The steamer returned at 3 p. m., and at that time the station was finished a perfect little tower, made in two working hours - and from it I could see all of Otter Island and about 40 feet of Botany Bay tower. Lieutenant Morril having no signal apparatus or supplies, I let him go to Hilton Head to obtain them, and on the 29th he started back from there, I having made arrangements with Captain Dutch, of the Kingfisher, to send a boat to Saint Helena Village to take him to Big Bay Island. Meantime the peconic went to Stono to get rations for the parties, and I remained at Hilton Head to communicate through. The Peconic returned November 30, and I went with her to Saint Helena Village, where I found Lieutenant Morril, it having been too rough for a boat to cross Saint Helena Sound. I took him, on board, and stopped at Otter Island, and took a detachment from Lieutenant Jones' party of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, and landed them at Big Bay Island on the 1st of December, and left Lieutenant Morril calling Botany

Page 53 Chapter XL. GENERAL REPORTS.