Today in History:

85 Series I Volume VI- Serial 6 - Fort Pulaski - New Orleans


No. 2. Report of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army.

SAVANNAH, GA., January 29, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report, for the information of the Secretary of War, that five [?] days since it was discovered that the enemy were at work removing the obstructions placed in Wall's Cut. This cut is the pass between Daufuskie River and Wright River, in South Carolina, and forms part of the inland communication between Savannah River and Port Royal Harbor. This communication traverses an extensive marsh, is crooked, shallow, and difficult of navigation, and though it was apparent that unless protected by batteries any artificial obstructions may be removed, yet as the march is too soft and impassable to admit the construction of a battery, it was the only obstacle that could be opposed to its navigation. The obstruction consisted of the hull of a large schooner, sunk in the narrowest and shoalest part of the cut, with rows of piles driven across on each side. A similar obstruction was placed in Wilmington Narrows, a small creek west of the Savannah, connecting Wilmington River and Saint Augustine Creek. Day before yesterday seven of the enemy's gunboats were discovered at Wall's Cut and six in Wilmington Narrows. They had reached the obstructions in each stream, and were apparently endeavoring to work through. Flag-Officer Tatnall, with his gunboats, descended the Savannah River and boldly engaged them, but the range and caliber of their guns were so superior to his, that after an hour's trial he had to haul off, as he found that while their shot and shell were falling around him, his shot fell short of them. His boats were, however, unharmed. Their position was such as to disturb the passage of the Savannah, and the boat plying between the city and Fort Pulaski received three shots through her upper works. If the enemy succeed in removing the obstacles in Wall's Cut and Wilmington Narrows, there is nothing to prevent their reaching the Savannah River, and we have nothing afloat that can contend against them. The communication between Savannah and Fort Pulaski will then be cut off. The latter is supplied with four months' provisions, and we must endeavor to defend the city. To-day I have caused to be sunk in Wilmington Narrows the floating dock of this city. I hope this passage at least will be effectually obstructed.

I am, &c.,

R. E. LEE,

General, Commanding.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.

FEBRUARY 6, 1862.-Reconnaissance to Wright River, S. C.

Report of Major Oliver T. Beard, Forty-eighth New York Infantry.

HILTON HEAD, S. C., February 6, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that the reconnaissance ordered by your of Wright River, its tributary creeks, and the land adjacent