HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF PORT ROYAL,
Beaufort, S. C. December 10, 1861.
Commanding Expeditionary Corps:
GENERAL: Lieutenant Ransom and the section of Hamilton's battery under his command moved at 3 o'clock this morning, and I followed with two members of my staff, Acting Aides-de-Camp Lusk and Taylor, of, respectively, the Highlanders and Fiftieth Pennsylvania, a half hour afterwards. We reached the ferry at daylight. I found, however, on careful examination that the Confederates had not commenced the erection of any works since our occupation of the island. After an examination of the country adjoining the ferry, especially of the old ferry at Seabrook, a mile and a half to the westward of the present ferry, I determined to take positive possession of both sides of the existing ferry, especially as an effort had been made during my absence at Seabrook to fire the ferry building on the island side. Lieutenant Ransom, bringing, under my direction, his battery into position at Stuart's place, fired four shots and dispersed the enemy's pickets, and Lieutenant-Colonel Brenholts, commanding the detachment at the ferry, advanced immediately a picket of 12 men to the ferry, and took possession of both banks, with some four boats. These have since been secured. A small block-house commanding the ferry on the main was destroyed. I left the battery at the ferry, with instructions to return to-morrow, unless, after conference with Lieutenant-Colonel Brenholts, Lieutenant Ransom should be satisfied from the unexpected developments of circumstances he ought to remain at the ferry. In this event he was promptly to advise me by messenger.
I have had the points carefully examined where it was alleged stockades were being built to close the channel. East of the ferry the attempt was actually made, but nothing was accomplished. I have, with the assistance of my aides and scouting parties, examined nearly all portions of the island to-day. The conduct of the troops is exemplary, and there will be considerable additions made to our stock of quartermaster's stores.
I am, sir, very respectfully, yours, most obediently,
ISAAC I. STEVENS,
SOURCES: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 6 (Serial No. 6), p. 199-200; William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 108-9