DU PONT AND THE PORT ROYAL EXPEDITION.
permit, hundredls of men were visible in very rapid motion, loading and
running out the guIIs with the greatest energy. Such a view, accompanied
by the noise of battle, is weird antd impressive to the highest degree.
The vessels in the main line slowly passed toward the sea, throwing their
shells into the earth-work with the utmost precision, and this destruction
was supplemented by the fire of ten of the vessels from anl enfilading position.
As the main line headed seaward, the enemy may have had an idea that his
fire was so destructive that the vessels were retreating, and Tattiall, with his
three weak vessels, was then disposed to swoop lown anid piek up " lame
ducks"; lout, 1)eing confronted by one small gun-boat, he thought it best to
enter Scull Creek, where at least he would be available for carrying off the
Southern troops, if they were, defeated. Though Tattnall was a brave and
skillful seaman, the law of force was inexorable; and when an officer is a free
agent, looking only to the success of his cause, he should not lead his command
into destruction without being able to secure a commensurate advantage.
Arriving at the shoal ground off Hilton Head, the flag-ship and her follow-
ers turned again within the harbor, and in passing northward availed them-
selves of the occasion to give Fort Beauregard the benefit of their broadsides.
Meantime the enfilading vessels had been steadily throwing their shells into
Fort Walker. In relation to this hour [about 10 A. it.], General Drayton states:
" Besides this moving battery, the fort was enfiladed by two gun-boats anchored to the north,
off the mouth of Fish Hall Creek, and another at a point on the edge of the shoals to the south.
This enfilading fire, on so still a sea, annoyed and damaged us excessively, particularly as we
had no gun on either flank of the bastion to reply with."
The vessel near the shoal, to the south, was probably the Pocalhontas, com-
manded by Percival Drayton, brother of the general in command of the Con-
federate forces; she only crossed the bar about noon, having been delayed by
The main line passed nearer Fort Walker than on entering, and delivered
its fire "with all the spiteful energy of long-suppressed rage and conscious
strength." Arriving at the turning-point, signal was again made to its vessels
to take position, when the Wfabashi led once more, and to within six hundred
yards of the fort. The nearness of the ships was the probable cause of their
suffering so little damage, the enemy's shots passing over the hulls. The flag-
ship was naturally the most conspicuous target, but the shots received by her
were high up, the enemy presumably delivering his fire for a distance of a
thousand yards or more. At this time a shell was seen to pass between the
flag-officer and the captain of the vessel, who were standing on the "bridge"
extending across the vessel, just forward of the mnainmast.
The flag-officer expressed officially his great admiration of the firing of the
batteries of the TV(dwsh anid of the Siusquelhannui, which was next in line.
In a private letter, written just after the engagement, he said of the former:
" In our first attack I was not satisfied with the execution of this ship, though the effect
turned out to be much greater than I thought, but in the second attack I can remember nothing
in naval history that came up to this ship in the terrific repetitions of her broadsides, and, to
use the illustration of the reporter of the ' London News,' ' the rising of the dust on shore in
perpendicular columns looked as if we had suddenly raised from the dust a grove of poplars."'