JUNE 2, 1863. -- Union raid on the Combahee River, South Carolina
Report of Capt. John F. Lay, C. S. Army, Inspector of Cavalry plus Inclosures
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S.C., June 24, 1863.
GENERAL: In obedience to orders from department headquarters I have visited the scene and made investigation of the facts connected with the recent Abolition raid upon the Combahee River and the atrocious conduct of the enemy engaged in it, and have to submit the following report of facts, gathered from every available source:
Some three or four weeks preceding the 2d day of June, 1863 (the day of the raid), Major Emanuel, with his squadron of cavalry, of Rutledge's regiment of cavalry, who had been previously stationed near Georgetown, in the Fourth Military District of South Carolina, reported under orders for duty with his regiment in the Third Military District of South Carolina, and was ordered by Brigadier-General Walker, commanding, to take position and command of the post at Green Pond, on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, between the Combahee and Ashepoo Rivers. He was by special order directed to acquaint and familiarize himself and officers with the localities and lines of defense in the district of country under his command, and for that purpose was furnished with an accurate map of the country. (See Inclosure A.) Instructions for picket duty were furnished him, ordering pickets, even if few in number, to engage the enemy, and at all events to fire signals and retire, closely watching the movements of the enemy. (See Exhibit B.)(*) His special attention was very soon thereafter called to an extract from an Abolition paper giving intimation of some projected raid by the enemy's forces from Hilton Head. He was cautioned to increased vigilance, and received general instructions in view of an engagement with them. (See Inclosure c.) About this same time a written notice was given to the adjacent planters advising the removal of their negro property to the interior. Major Emanuel had also with him Captain Bomar's company of light artillery.
On the morning of the 2d of June, 1863, Major Emanuel being with his command at Green Pond, and having a picket force at Field's Point of 6 men, in charge of Corpl. H. H. Newton, Company E, and another force at Combahee Ferry, on the pontoon bridge, of 5 men, in charge of Corpl. W. D. Wall, Company F, about 7 a.m. a courier from Lieutenant Hewit, commander of outposts, stationed at Chisolmville, reached the camp, informing Major Emanuel that three gunboats were at Field's Point landing troops and a few moments after another courier stating that a gunboat was steaming up the Combahee River and was within 1 to l� miles of the pontoon bridge.
Lance-Corporal Newton, chief of the Field's Point picket, states that about 3 a.m. of the 2d June, 1863, he first saw two steamers about 2 miles in the river or sound below Field's Point; that the night was bright and he could see a long distance; he watched them until they came near; he then mounted his men and fell back about 300 yards, dismounted, and leaving the horses went back to the Point. He saw them land from 8 to 12 men, who went up the bank of the river, and he also heard them launch other boats. He immediately sent off a courier with the information to Lieutenant Hewitt, commander of outposts at Chisolmville, about 10 miles distant, and soon after sent off another courier. The party which had landed then took a road leading to the rear of him, and having only 5 men left with him he felt compelled to retire, especially as their arms were inferior and unreliable. He fell back some 300 yards. The enemy, being re-enforced, saw him and advanced up the causeway, having 2 white men in advance, the others marching by fours, but cau-not say how many there were. Sending off another courier, he still retired, the enemy following for 1� miles to the cross-roads, he keeping them in sight. There was no firing on either side. Beyond this point the enemy did not advance, and he, continuing to fall back, lost sight of them and saw them no more. Soon he was met by the detachment under Lieutenant Gilchrist and reported to him. Lieutenant Gilchrist then went on toward Tar Bluff, leaving him in charge of the horses, and soon after he heard firing from that direction.
Corporal Wall, chief of picket at Combahee Ferry, states that about 6 or 6.30 a.m. on the 2d June, 1863, a steamer came in sight of his post at the pontoon bridge; that he immediately sent a courier to Major Emanuel at his camp; he mounted his men, and as they crossed the bridge he saw a fire some distance down the river, but upon whose plantation he cannot say. As they passed over the long causeway leading from the bridge to Col. W. C. Heyward's they were fired on twice from the boat; when they reached the upper end of the causeway they saw the boat approach the bridge and land a force. He then sent another courier to Major Emanuel to inform him that the enemy were landing. A party of 25 or 30 who had landed did not approach the causeway, but marched up and down the bank under a flag. He sent one of his men around to the plantation of Mr. Charles Lowndes to ascertain if any party had landed there, and leaving one man at the head of the causeway, near to a breastwork, he galloped to Colonel Heyward's residence to inform him and to ask if he could render any assistance to get his negroes off. He then returned and saw the enemy marching up the causeway, 50 or 60 strong, of which number about 10 were whites only. He remained on horseback until they came within 500 yards, and then retired with his comrade to dismount, tie their horses, return to the breastwork, and fire on them, but hearing the picket sent to Mr. Lowndes' fire, and supposing that a party was in his rear, he did not return, but fell back, and was joined by another man from camp, who took charge of the horses. He watched and saw the party come up nearly to the breastwork and turn in at the gate leading to the residence of Colonel Heyward, and also saw them when they commenced firing the buildings. A party of them went on toward the negro houses; he followed with his comrade and was fired on by them, and he returned the fire at about 300 yards. (This picket was armed with Enfield rifles, and this was the first time that they had fired at all, except Corporal Wall states that when fired on from the boat as he crossed the bridge he fired in return. Colonel Heyward states that this is not a fact.) He retired back upon the road and saw the company under Lieutenant Breeden approaching; leaving his comrade he dashed to meet him, to urge him to come up at full speed. He (Lieutenant Breeden) came up promptly to where he (Wall) had left his comrade, dismounted his men, and sent out scouts, delaying some twenty minutes, and then moved on cautiously to the breastwork; when he reached there the enemy were retreating down the causeway, some 300 yards distant, with the stolen negroes in advance of them (Capt. L. De Saussure, of staff of Brigadier-General Walker, states that Wall told him the stolen negroes were in rear of them, scattered along the causeway, and that when they fired these negroes scattered to the right and left). Lieutenant Breeden fired on them; they ran, then rallied and returned the fire. He did not advance or pursue them. Very soon the boat left, and Lieutenant Breeden with his command moved toward Field's Point. As we approached we heard firing there, and when we reached there, riding slowly, the enemy had gone.
Corporal Wall denies a conversation as reported to have been held by him with Mr. Hughes, the overseer of Colonel Heyward, as will be hereinafter given, but says that he told Mr. Hughes that when Lieutenant Breeden approached to within 500 yards of the breastworks his scouts, whom he had sent on from the field, called to him to rush on; they could see the enemy leaving the premises of Colonel Heyward: that the lieutenant looked sick, ready to vomit, and said to his men, "I am given out; I can't run ;" that he also stated that they had not been far, and that they knew nothing of the country or course of the river, and that they had no sabers with them.
John D. Sanders (who, with Privates Lumpkin and Leightley and Lieutenant Brunson, of Capt. T. G. Allen's company of State troops, the Combahee Rangers, was at the farm of Mr. William Middleton, on the opposite side of the river from Colonel Heyward's and immediately at the ferry) states that Lieutenant Brunson went to the stable about 6.20 a.m. on the 2d June, 1863, and called to us that a gunboat was in sight; we could see it from the stable. We saddled up, and Lieutenant Brunson, leaving us, rode off to inform Mr. Blake. Leightley, who had charge of the negro dogs, also rode off with them. Lumpkin and I remained until the boat came to the bridge and landed some men upon the plantation. He saw the picket from the ferry crossing the bridge just before the boat came up, which discharged two small pieces, supposed to be 6-pounder guns. About 30 or 40 who landed took a path across the field to the house---chiefly white men; indeed noticed no negroes--and none of them had arms. We were only 300 yards from them, and they must have seen us. We retired and rode off toward Mr. Blake's, through the woods, and met Lieutenant Brunson, Mr. Blake, and a few others. We remained three or four hours, endeavoring to keep between Blake's negroes and the gunboat. While there we could see the Yankees and negroes crossing the road, until, seeing none, some of us rode back to Mr. Middleton's. The enemy had all left, but the boat was still at the bridge. We saw some of Blake's negroes endeavoring to get to the ferry; we went back to the road to get the dogs and cut them off; some of the negroes turned back. The enemy had burned all the buildings at Mr. Middleton's and taken off the negroes. When we returned the boats had left. We went down with Bell, the scout, and when we had passed the ferry we saw that the bridge was on fire, but not badly; we turned back and put it out, and endeavored to collect the scattered negroes of Mr. Blake. At 6 a.m. two of the pickets came up from the ferry to water their horses at the well. They gave us no notice, and we knew nothing further from them until we saw them crossing the bridge. The Cotton Hope picket had a few moments before they crossed the bridge informed the ferry picket that a boat was in the river; we saw the other steamers lower down in the river. Mr. Lumpkin, Leightley, and Lieutenant Brunson support this statement. (See lnclosure E.)
Mr. Hughes (overseer for Col. W. C. Heyward) states that he had a conversation with Corporal Wall on the Wednesday succeeding the raid; that he accused the picket at the ferry of having been asleep; that Wall denied this, but admitted that they ought to have discovered and reported the steamers sooner than they did. Wall also stated that when, after the enemy, 20 in number, all negroes except one had marched up the causeway, he dashed back to meet the troops he supposed were coming down. By that time he found them, under Lieutenant Breeden, about three-fourths of a mile back upon the road halted near to Colonel Heyward's corn field; that he at once stated all the facts to Lieutenant Breeden, and told him if he would charge down the road to the gate he would bag the whole party; that it would be impossible for them to escape; to which the reply was, "Well, I don't know;" that he (Wall) remained and urged him and offered to ride in advance and show him; that he marched his command down the road slowly and carefully, halting every few steps; that he then dismounted and moved on slowly, peeping over the fences, &c. The lieutenant (Breeden) finally said to his men Men, if you choose, you can go down. After a little they went down to the breastwork. The buildings were on fire and the enemy and negroes gone down the causeway some 300 yards; they fired on them, and the fire was returned by the party on shore and from the boat. To an expression of disgust employed by me Wall replied, "If Captain Godbold and his company had been here the property would have been saved."
Mr. Pipkin (overseer for Mr. Charles Lowndes) states that about 6 a.m. on the 2d June, 1863, a negro from the barn came to him and told him that two boats were in the river and nearly up; he looked and saw them near to the steam-mill. They anchored at mouth of Jack's Creek (2 miles by water from the ferry); they landed a party of some 25 or 30, a portion of whom came toward the mill and settlement and a portion toward the causeway leading to Colonel Heyward's. I ordered the stock to be driven out to pine land and followed it out. I had ordered the negroes to the woods, but they refused to obey, and scattered. I remained out until I saw the troops coming down from Green Pond, and coming very slowly. (This was after they had been met by Colonel Heyward, according to his statement, and hurried by him.) They rode up faster when they saw me and came up to me. Lieutenant Breeden asked if I had any report from the Yankees? I told him the facts, and that I knew the place well, and would guide him anywhere he wanted to go. He went on at a slow lope and halted at the corner of Colonel Heyward's fence. While there one of the pickets came up and stated to him as reported in the testimony of Mr. Hughes just given in. After a long talk he sent a scout of 6 men, not toward Colonel Heyward's, but at right angles to the Combahee road, down Mrs. Smith's avenue; he then went on to Colonel Heyward's draw-bars, at his first settlement (about one-fourth mile on), and dismounted his men, and sent 10 men through bars and street of the negro settlement to Colonel Heyward's residence. By this time the houses were burned and the enemy and most of the negroes had left the premises. The remainder of his command he moved slowly down the road toward the breastwork, looking cautiously over the fences. He stopped (Pipkin) at Mr. Lowndes' gate, on the opposite side of the road, with the horses left, to guide any party which they might send in that direction. As soon as the boats commenced shelling Lieutenant Breeden retreated with his command back to the horses and his men stopped in the shade. (The distance from the breastwork to the bridge where the boats were lying is 1� miles, over a causeway, with rice fields and marsh on either side, and by this narrow causeway the enemy were compelled to approach and retire in coming to Colonel Heyward's. The breastwork commands the causeway, and the whole position is a very strong and safe one, and might be held by a small force successfully against large odds.) He asked Lieutenant Breeden for a party to go into Mr. Lowndes' plantation with him. He gave 2 men only. He (Pipkin) went then within 400 yards of the barn-yard, and there met 2 negroes coming away, who told him that the enemy and all of the negroes were then at the barn-yard. He left the 2 men to take these negroes to the street and guard them and others, and, putting spurs to his horse, went back at full speed to Lieutenant Breeden and found him in the same place, and told him what he (Pipkin) had seen, and that if he would take his men in that he (Pipkin) could pilot him through a thick piece of woods around to the barn-yard without being seen, thereby cutting off the enemy and saving the negroes. Lieutenant Breeden replied that he was then under the orders of Major Emanuel and could not send them, but that he must go to the major, down at the head of the causeway (he had passed while Pipkin was absent in the plantation). He went at full speed to Major Emanuel and stated all the facts to him. Major replied he expected the enemy to land on the causeway and that he wanted all his forces. After a few moments' delay he told me to go back and tell Lieutenant Breeden to give me 6 men, but to return them as soon as I could. He went back and got these men. They went with him very slowly. He could not get them out of a walk. When inside of the plantation he met Sergeant Smith and l man, which, with his party and the 2 men he had left, gave him 10 in all. He still left 2 to guard the street and went on with the 8, Sergeant Smith being in command. When he reached the point at which to leave their horses only 5 of the 8 were with him; others had dropped off. Here I remained to hold the horses, and another, riding a stallion, could not link him, and refusing to tie him, he also remained. With the 3 men left him he (Pipkin) went on to within 150 yards of the barn. The enemy and greater portion of negroes had left and were on their way to the boat. Here another man left, although the sergeant ordered him to remain. With the remaining 2 he turned on to the canal and went to the flood-gate, from which was a straight path to the boat which was taking in the negroes, and another bank, at right angles from the mill, upon which were a good many negroes then passing. He wanted to go down and cut off these negroes, but Sergeant Smith and comrade advised against it, saying he would be killed from the boat.. Here he picked up 5 negroes going down, and as soon as the boat moved off from the landing he saw a negro girl going down. He left the sergeant and comrade with these negroes and ran down within 125 yards of the landing and within 90 yards of this girl, and saw 25 or 30 negroes who had not been taken on board, but who were making toward the boat at Mr. Nickol's landing. He ordered the girl to stop; she refusing, he shot her down; she got up and ran to where the others were; they all stopped; he ran up to them and brought them back to the sergeant. When he fired he was fired upon from the boat with small-arms. The horses and men were then sent for; the horses came, but men reported back to the lieutenant. He then, with assistance of Sergeant Smith and comrade, carried these negroes back to the street, and after riding about the plantation for some time, looking for any scattered negroes, he returned, and found Lieutenant Breeden and command at the stable in the shade. Major Emanuel here came up and sent Mr. Lowry (overseer for Mrs. Mason Smith) as a guide, with Lieutenant Breeden, ordering him with his command to keep close to the river and watch the movements of the boats, keeping on toward Field's Point. Major Emanuel took him (Pipkin) as a guide with him to Stokes' Causeway and thence to Field's Point, and on the way met a courier from Lieutenant Hewit and passed beyond the causeway about: 2 miles into Mr. Middleton's field, where were some old works; here they found a piece of artillery, under Captain Bomar, halted. (One piece was at Stokes' Causeway.) Captain Bomar stated that he had received a note from Lieutenant, Hewitt, stating that he had run a party of the enemy into Mr. Middleton's mill, about 1 mile above Tar Bluff; and that he wanted a piece of artillery to run them out. Captain Bomar also stated that he had not advanced because he was entirely unsupported and feared to risk his piece without support. At this point a courier came up and reported that two gunboats had dropped down to the mill, taken their men on board, and were then lying off Tar Bluff. Major Emanuel then moved the piece of artillery to Mr. Middleton's gate and left it there, and with his party (4 in number) moved on to Tar Bluff (distance, 2 miles). As they went down heard shelling at Field's Point; went on the bluff, and found Lieutenant Hewitt and Fripp watching the boat, which was lying in the river, distant about 150 yards. Major Emanuel sent back for the piece of artillery, but just as the courier started the boat moved off down the river; waited fifteen or twenty minutes and artillery came up. Major Emanuel then took it, unsupported except by his small party, and took a roar road to Field's Point; when about half way found he was surrounded by the enemy in ambush on both sides of the road, delivering a cross-fire and wounding Fripp (who has since died from his wounds). The piece of artillery fired four shots, and then Major Emanuel ordered a retreat and fell back to Tar Bluff. A few moments after reaching there Lieutenant Breeden and his command came up. After a delay of fifteen minutes a squad of his men were sent down to Field's Point by the rear road, while the rest marched by the main road. Here Mr. Pipkin states that he left them, but was told when the party reached the point the enemy had left.
From these statements, and from the reports sent in, it appears that on the 2d June, 1863, at 7 a.m., Major Emanuel received notice of the presence of these boats in the Combahee River; that he at once communicated with district headquarters and made the following disposition of the troops at his command: Captain Godbold was ordered to send Lieutenant Gilchrist with a detachment of 20 men to Field's Point, whilst he with the rest of his company would repair to Stokes' Causeway to support two pieces of Bomar's artillery, ordered to take position there. Lieutenant Breeden, with his company, was ordered to the plantation of Colonel Heyward, near to Combahee Ferry. The remaining two pieces of Bomar's artillery were also ordered to this point, where they would have proved most serviceable, but Major Emanuel, influenced by incorrect information, not reliable, reported to him through Lieutenant Hendrix, and from a total want of acquaintance with the country and its localities countermanded this order and sent these pieces around 16 miles to protect the Salkehatchie Railroad Bridge, which point was only 5 miles from the district headquarters, and entirely protected by those forces, from which he (Major Emanuel) would expect support and re-enforcements. He thus committed the serious error of materially weakening his small force to guard a point well protected by troops much nearer. The first disposition of his forces by Major Emanuel seems to have been judicious, and should have been attended, if properly carried out, with better results, but with the first error re-suited others. From this point there seems to have been confusion of counsel, indecision, and great tardiness of movement, an entire want of active and vigorous enterprise, without which, while they followed after the movements of the enemy, they nether opposed nor disturbed them in their work of wicked destruction. The causes are many. This command of Major Emanuel has not been properly drilled, disciplined, or taught by him, so as to be effective upon an emergency. His system of outposts is loose and men and officers badly instructed. On this occasion his pickets were neither watchful nor brave; they allowed the enemy to come up to them almost unawares, and then retreated without offering resistance or firing a gun, allowing a parcel of negro wretches, calling themselves soldiers, with a few degraded whites, to march unmolested, with the incendiary torch, to rob, destroy, and burn a large section of country. The few men composing the picket at Combahee Ferry, taking position at the breastwork at the head of the causeway and firing down it, would have kept at bay a larger force than came to Colonel Heyward's, or at least would have delayed it until aid should reach them to drive them back to their boats, and would, from their position, have been in little actual danger from the shell of the enemy (1� miles distant); indeed this work was almost a complete protection to them and to the party of Lieutenant Breeden, who, according to his report, retired from it when the boats commenced shelling. No commissioned officer seems to have been within reach of them to aid and advise them, and Lieutenant Hewitt, who, upon receiving notice from the courier, should have promptly repaired to them for that purpose, appears from his own report to have lost that valuable time in awaiting the return of his courier from Major Emanuel. It is difficult to get at any accurate history of the detailed movements of the separate commands, except Lieutenant Breeden's; the reports of the commanders are very brief. The only successful effort made seems to have been the driving of a party of the enemy into Mr. Middleton's mill, and they were allowed to escape for want of support to an artillery piece, which eventually came near losing that piece, and would doubtless have so resulted had the enemy been enterprising; and Captain Godbold reports having driven the enemy to the cover of their boats, and yet that enemy is found in ambush, to fire upon a small party in advance of the position to which Captain Godbold had retired, too remote to be in sound of the fire, or at least to render assistance to the small party of Major Emanuel in the engagement from which he retired, and which it also seems started the enemy back to their boats.
The statements of witnesses, if to be credited, reflect most severely upon the conduct of Lieutenant Breeden and his command. From an accurate and searching investigation of the facts from every available source and from an accurate examination of the localities and positions it is my duty to report the results of this raid as mortifying and humiliating to our arms, and while I do not believe that from the time the reports reached the camp the property of Messrs. Nickols and Kirkland and other gentlemen low down on the river could have been saved, nor could the forces of Major Emanuel have averted the destruction at Mr. William Middleton's, yet that of Colonel Heyward and Mr. Charles Lowndes, with intelligent and bold activity on the part of these forces, I think would have been saved or a great portion of it. The artillery at Tar Bluff, supported by one company of cavalry and the other company active in squads against the various small and scattered raiding parties, would have resulted, I am forced to think, in the preservation of much valuable private property and in the severe punishment of the enemy.
From reports which I could not very clearly follow up it is by no means certain that the Field's Point picket were not aware of the presence of the boats the night preceding at or about 11 p.m., and failed to give the notice, alleging that they had been cautioned against false alarms, and thought they might be our own boats.
The Combahee Ferry picket should unquestionably have seen these boats and given the notice from one to two hours sooner than reported had they been alert and vigilant and properly instructed as to the course of the river and the proper point of lookout.
Major Emanuel seems to have taken no fixed position, nor to have commanded any portion of his troops, but to have moved unattended except by a small escort, too small to improve any opportunity presented to him for action.
In accordance with instructions from department headquarters charges have been prepared by me and preferred against Major Emanuel and Lieutenants Breeden and Hewitt. Proper steps have also been taken by Brigadier-General Walker to bring to trial the pickets at the several points named. This course I feel satisfied will result in public good.
This raid by a mixed party of blacks and degraded whites seems to have been designed only for plunder, robbery, and destruction of private property; in carrying it out they have disregarded all rules of civilized war, and have acted more as fiends than human beings. Fortunately the planters had removed their families, who thus avoided outrage and insult. The enemy seem to have been well posted as to the character and capacity of our troops and their small chance of encountering opposition, and to have been well guided by persons thoroughly acquainted with the river and the country. Their success was complete, as evidenced by the total destruction of four fine residences, six valuable mills, with many valuable out-buildings (the residence of Mr. Charles Lowndes alone escaped), and large quantities of rice. They also successfully carried off from 700 to 800 slaves of every age and sex. These slaves, it is believed, were invited by these raiders to join them in their fiendish work of destruction. The loss of Messrs. Nickols and Kirkland was very great--an entire loss, including for the former a large and choice library, valued at $15,000.
It is pertinent to add in this report that upon the receipt of the dispatch at district headquarters prompt measures were taken by the brigadier-general commanding to send troops to the proper points of support as specially reported by him, and that with reference to his system of outposts I found the most energetic measures in existence to secure vigilance and to guard against surprise, both by the issuing of instructions and the regular visiting of the different posts by Capt. L. D. DeSaussure, most industrious and efficient in the discharge of his duties as inspector of outposts.
Exhibit F(*) is a copy of a report of Captain De Saussure, who had made a partial investigation of this raid before my arrival; his facts in the main agree with mine.
JNO. F. LAY,
Assistant Adjutant-General and Inspector Cavalry.
Brig. Gen. THOMAS JORDAN,
Chief of Staff, &c.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD MILITARY DISTRICT,
McPhersonville, May 19, 1863.
Maj. W. P. EMANUEL, Commanding at Green Pond:
MAJOR: The brigadier-general commanding directs me to say that you will require the officers of your detachment to familiarize themselves with the localities and lines of defense in the district of country under your command, a map of which will be sent to you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD MIL. DIST.,
McPhersonville, May 29, 1863.
Your attention is respectfully called to the following extract from a late Yankee paper:
The New York Tribune says that the negro troops at Hilton Head, S.C., will soon start upon an expedition, under the command of Colonel Montgomery, different in many respects from any heretofore projected.
The Yankee papers have frequently indicated their movements, and it would be well to be on the lookout and consider your plan of operations on the various routes of approach.
Should any number of negroes cross our lines for such purpose boldness and confidence will be sure of success against any disparity of force.
Maneuver to get a body of troops in their rear to cut off their retreat, and when they are routed the cavalry will pursue at a gallop, charging as foragers should they take to the woods. Those taken prisoners will be closely guarded and watched night and day by a large detail, and turned over to the State authorities as soon as practicable.
By order of Brigadier-General Walker:
Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Extract from inspection report of Col. John F. Lay, Inspector of Cavalry, February 2, 1863.
* * * * * * * * * *
These two companies (F and I) have composed for some time a portion of the command of Major Emanuel, who was absent from his command upon the occasion of my visit to his camp (to be hereafter reported). I met him in Georgetown only a few hours. It is evident that the command did not prosper under him; they have not improved as they should have done, nor are they now actively engaged in the work of improvement. Major Emanuel is not now immediately connected with them. I am informed by the officers that they drill only twice a week. They alleged as excuse heavy duties. 1%w, it will be seen from this report that the duty is very light, and no reason exists why a regular and systematic daily drill, mounted and dismounted, should not be had. The companies are good companies, and only need this, under efficient officers, to take their proper position.
* * * * * * * * * *
JNO. F. LAY,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
Statement of William C. Heyward respecting the Combahee raid.
On Tuesday, June 2, 1863, at 6.15 a.m., servant knocked at door, stating that the driver, who was with the hands at work in lower fields, sent up word that there were three Yankee boats coming up the river. Immediately got up and sent word to him to bring up the hands and take them back into the woods. On first going out could not see the boats in consequence of a bend in the river. Took my glass, and on going about 100 yards from house saw a large ferry-boat, with United States flag flying, upper deck crowded with people. She came up very slowly; sent a small boat ashore; 7 men landed; walked to and from causeway blowing a horn and waving a small flag. After standing and watching boat and their proceedings for some time, say fifteen or twenty minutes, the driver came up with the hands; again gave the order to him, "Take the hands back into the woods." Asked driver if any of the pickets had passed up causeway to report; he replied, "No one has passed up since I went down to work this morning." Examined with glass carefully picket station at ferry; saw the horses standing quietly hitched. Yankee boat at that time within 1� miles of them. One of my hands then said, "Here they come." On my asking, "Who?" he replied, "The pickets." On again looking down causeway saw 4 men coming up, one much ahead running his horse; two shots were fired at them from boat. He came up to me and reported, "Yankee boats in river." Told him that fact was known by me at least one hour since. Asked why they were so slow in reporting. He said, "Ordered not to report until we are certain of facts; thought perhaps they might be our boats." Asked if he was the first to start to give information; he said, "Yes." Asked if any one had gone to Pocotaligo; he said, "No." Told him to hurry on to Green Pond for troops. During this time boat kept coming up, but very slowly; it was about three-fourths flood; she passed safely the point where the torpedoes were placed, and finally reached the bridge at the ferry, which they immediately commenced cutting away; landed, to all appearance, a small force at Mr. Middleton's, and in a few minutes his buildings were in flames. On again examining causeway carefully saw a body of men advancing in regular order, double.file; watched them closely and counted ten files, or 20 men; did not observe that they were negroes; waited until they were within 400 or 500 yards of gate, and no help coming, took horse and left for Green Pond. About 3 miles from plantation met 9 men on horseback, advancing slowly; told them the state of things. Officer commanding said he wished the company was with him. Observing the company coming on about one-half mile off, told him of it; went on and, meeting the company, told officer commanding the state of affairs below; heard him give the order to trot or gallop. Then went on to Green Pond and telegraphed to General Walker; whilst doing so the artillery company passed station on their way down. In a very few minutes two pieces of artillery returned; officer asked the road to Salkehatchie Bridge; told him it was 14 or 15 miles distant, and that General Walker was only 5 or 6 miles from it; said he was ordered to go there, and started. Returned to plantation as fast as possible and found, as expected, that the troops had been too late in getting down, the buildings being in flames and the negroes gone or going off the causeway and bridge when they arrived. On my return the boat was about one-half mile below the bridge; do not think she ever passed up beyond it. My negroes who were left report that the party coming up causeway divided, part going off to burn the mill, the rest coming on up to dwelling house; they also state that there was but one white man, all the rest negroes. They burnt every building on plantation except the negro quarters.
WM. C. HEYWARD.
SOURCE: Official Records Series I -- Volume XIV