Today in History:

47 Series I Volume XXXV-I Serial 65 - Olustee Part I


chronic diarrhea. I have this day received instructions to have some officers and enlisted men ready to accompany an expedition that leaves this place to-morrow, destination unknown.

Nothing further of importance has transpired since my last report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain and Chief Signal Officer, Dept. of the South.


In charge Signal Bureau, Washington, D. C.

Hilton Head, S. C., July 20, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the duty performed by the signal detachment in this department during the expedition which left Hilton Head on the 1st instant:

In accordance with instructions from department headquarters the following assignment of signal officers, with their flagmen, was made, namely: Lieutenant Paul Brodie to Brigadier General J. P. Hatch, Lieutenant George A. Fisher to Brigadier General William Birney, and Lieutenant Thomas H. Carrique to Brigadier General R. Saxton. By like instructions I accompanied the major-general commanding. Lieutenant Charles Roberts, jr., was at the time on duty with Brigadier-General Schimmelfennig.

The expedition left Hilton Head on the afternoon of the 1st, about dusk, arrived off the mouth of the North Edisto River about 1 a. m. of the 2nd, and as soon as it was light proceeded up the river to Seabrook Island, where the troops under General Hatch were disembarked. The balance, under the command of General Birney, remained on shipboard till near night, and then proceeded up the river to White Point and disembarked. On the morning of the 3rd, General Birney advanced inland, skirmishing with the enemy for a distance of about 5 miles, when he found a deep creek about 10 rods wide, the bridge torn up, and the only crossing commanded by a six-gun battery. The general commanding in the mean time had proceeded up the Dawho River in the revenue cutter Nemaha, accompanied by the gun-boat Geranium and armed transport Croton. On arriving abreast General Birney's command the enemy opened fire on the vessels. The fire was returned by the vessels, and kept up for nearly two hours. General Birney, finding the enemy's position too strong to assault with the troops in his command, advised the withdrawal of the troops from that point, which was done under cover of the succeeding night, and, embarking on transports, proceeded next morning, July 4, up the Stono River to James Island, where they were landed a short distance abe Legareville. The general commanding had the night before proceeded up the Stono River a short distance above that point. General Hatch in the mean time had crossed from Seabrook Island to John's Island, and on the 4th had arrived within a short distance of the Stono River. General Schimmelfennig had also made an attack on James Island, and on the 4th held his position on that island, with his headquarters about 1 1/2 miles from Stono River.

Up to this time communication by signals was had between the different generals-at the time the expedition left Hilton Head, while lying off the mouth of the North Edisto River, while the troops were landing on Seabrook Island, at the landing of General Birney at White Point, during he engagement up the Dawho River,