Today in History:

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


on John's Island by heavy traverses,and containing an enormous bomb-proof, apparently equaling in size that of Fort Wagner. Along the front of this work, and separating it from the portion of James Island on which our troops are situated, is a marsh with a small creek, crossed by a bridge. Battery Tynes, in its rear about 1 1/4 miles, completely commands Battery Pringle. It is a small but well-built work with traverses and large bomb-proof, apparently mounting five guns. Information reaching me during the day that the enemy had cut my line of communication at the forks of the road, General Saxton, with a brigade, was detached to reopen it. He found that the two companies at the forks of the road had been attacked by a large force, with one howitzer,and half fallen back to the camp of the previous night,with a loss of 2 killed.

July 6.- Continued reconnaissance; the enemy, appearing in front of our pickets in force with three pieces of artillery, shelled our camp. The only casualty was the severe wounding of Colonel W. W. H. Davis, who, with Lieutenant Suter, U. S. Engineers, and myself, was examining the front, with a view to intrenching. Saxton, with his brigade, joined in the afternoon, bringing up the regiment left to guard the road. Communication with the troops on James Island having been opened by means of the fleet, it was no longer necessary to retain the regiment on the road. Receiving information from Major-General Foster that during his absence I would be in command of all the forces operating near Charleston, I turned over to General Saxton the command of the troops on John's Island and repaired on board ship in the Stono River, to which point the transports that had landed the troops at Seabrook Point had arrived, to receive them on the completion of the reconnaissance.

July 7.- General Saxton this day attacked the enemy's line of rifle-pits with the Twenty-sixth U. S. Colored Troops. The troops behaved very handsomely, advancing steadily in open ground, under a heavy fire, and driving the enemy from the line. Had the advance been supported, the enemy's artillery would have been captured; as it was, both artillery and infantry were driven from the field.

July 8.- The enemy were strongly re-enforced, and Battery Pringle opened on our camp with one 8-inch and one 10-inch columbiad. There were, however, no casualties. General Foster having returned to the Stono River, I again assumed immediate command of the troops on John's Island, being re-enforced by Montgomery's brigade.

July 9.- At daybreak the enemy drove in my pickets. At 5.45 a.m., he attacked my line in force with great spirit, but was easily repulsed in about fifteen minutes. At 6.30 a.m., he again attacked with a larger force. There was no wavering in our lines, while the infantry poured in a deadly fire. Captain Day, securing a good position for five Napoleon guns, gave them volleys of spherical case, while the Sixth, being in front, fired double canister. It was not necessary to bring up the reserve infantry, the enemy flying in confusion in ten minutes from the opening of our fire. Our loss in these two attacks was trifling, while that of the enemy was undoubtedly severe. During the remainder of the day the enemy remained quiet, and the object of the expedition being fully accomplished, preparations were made to retire from the island. One battery was sent to the rear during the day, and during the night the whole command was withdrawn to a point near Legareville, and embarked without annoyance from the enemy.