Today in History:

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


thereto, together with the new fortifications and raft in the Savannah River, has been made.

Accompanying this report and necessarily forming a part thereof are maps of the section of country embraced in the reconnaissance.*

The sounding or depths of water as shown in these maps were made with a great deal of care and noted at the particular part of the rivers where made, so that there might be no error as to the particular location of any sounding. They were always made rather under than over the mark, but especial care was taken to have them precise and so note them.

It will be perceived that the course of Wright River is not precisely as laid down in the charts in the engineers' hands. The courses as they are here laid down are made up from notes at each turn and bend of the river, being guided solely by a pocket compass. I think that in this manner I have been enabled to show very nearly the true course of the river and its tributaries much more accurately than they are laid down in other maps. There are many more tress on Hog Marsh Island than are laid down on the accompanying map, but all those not so laid down are palmetto, and those on that island grow out of the marsh, their base being surrounded by water during high tides. The trees shown on this island are scrub pines, and are found in clumps on small dry spots scattered about through the marsh. There dry spots vary in diameter from 20 to 100 feet, no one spot being found larger than the maximum mentioned. The island cannot be used for military purposes.

The woods laid down north of Wright River are noted as taken from three points of observation-1st, from the top of a large and high rice barn on the bank of the Savannah River; 2nd, from the several points of Wright River and its upper tributaries, where sounding were made; and, 3rd, from Red Bank, on New River. Terse observations showed the heavy timber, which in that vicinity always grows on dry ground, to continue in an irregular line, unbroken except by plantations from Red Bank, on New River, to the Union causeway near Lunbridge's plantation. There are a large number of cotton plantations embraced in this region, especially in that portion of it nearest New River. Leaving this, the character of the soil gradually changes, until from being a sandy clay at Red Bank it become at Lunbridge's a porous, black, light loam, which is the only kind of soil used for the culture of rice.

The rice plantations which are noted east of the Union causeway are of this character. An examination of the soil here shows that it looks very much like the debris of decayed trees and roots; very much of it is indeed nothing else. All this land is below the level of high tides, dikes thrown about the various fields preventing overflow. All these fields are very much cut up with ditches and canals; so much so as to be impassable by either cavalry, artillery, or infantry in face of an enemy. The ditches are useless except as so many barriers, but all the canals might be used as rifle-pits, and all dikes for the same purpose, or to plant artillery behind, the soil being dry enough for this purpose. Though these plantations are surrounded on the front and rear by swamps, the canals entering them from bordering rivers or creeks afford easy access to the dry ground on them.

There are about 15,000 bushels of rice on the plantations which I visited. The negroes have mostly all been moved up the country. The new rebel earthworks on an island in the Savannah River is completed. Two guns were mounted on Sunday last, the third was in the shears, while a


*Not found.