Today in History:

35 Series I Volume XIV- Serial 20 - Secessionville


JUNE 10, 1862.-Skirmish on James Island, S. C.


Numbers 1.-Brigadier General Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army.

Numbers 2.-Colonel John L. Chatfield, Sixth Connecticut Infantry, commanding First Brigade, First Division.

Numbers 3.-Captain Francis M. Hills, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry.

Numbers 1. Report of Brigadier General Horatio G. Wright, U. S. Army.

James Island, S. C., June 12, 1862.

CAPTAIN: I had the honor on the 10th instant* to inform you of an affair between our pickets and a force of the enemy, consisting of the Forty-seventh Georgia Regiment, supported by a reserve, the strength and character of which is not known. Since that time the report of the commander of the first and Second Brigades, First Division, and the report of casualties have been received, copies of which I inclose.+ From the latter it will be seen that our loss was 3 killed and 19 wounded, 1 of whom has since died. The loss of the enemy must have been heavy, as we have buried 14 of his dead, and 6 of his dead, and 6 of his wounded have been taken to our hospital, 2 of whom have since died. The enemy removed many of his wounded during the skirmish.

The force actually engaged in the affair were five companies of the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment, Colonel Guss commanding; two companies Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, Captain Hills commanding; two companies of the Forty-seventh New York Regiment, Captain McDonald commanding, and four pieces of Company E, Third U. S. Artillery, Captain Ransom commanding. The reserve of the artillery and the remainder of the pickets were not brought into actual conflict with the enemy. All the troops engaged conducted themselves in the most admirable manner, evincing great steadiness and coolness. At no time was the line of pickets forced back, and the repulse was so decided that the enemy did not venture to renew it.

The naval vessels in the river kept up a continual fire over the heads of our men, and as their practice was excellent it must have occasioned much loss to the enemy's reserves.

We need have no occasion to doubt the reliability of our troops if they all behave as well under fire as did those engaged in this affair. Colonel Guss, of the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment, in immediate command of the pickets, and the officers and men of his regiment are entitled to special mention, as are the officers and men of two companies of the Forty-seventh New York and the two companies of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania actually engaged, and I need not say that the artillery sustained the well-earned reputation it enjoys.

Captain Hamilton, chief of artillery, did excellent service with the infantry after his artillery was posted, and received a ball, which happily occasioned only a slight contusion. From the vigor and persistence of the enemy's attack I thought a general engagement imminent and had the forces disposed accordingly, but his attack in front was all he attempted.


*See Foster to Benham of that date in "Correspondence, etc.," post.

+Nominal list omitted.