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Text for Page 085 [06-24-1862]

              75
                            The Tribune.

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
bars (sinister in morals if not in heraldry) floating
over it � it is not more than five miles off, a little to
the right of the watch tower.  Everything looks
idle, sunny, and tranquil; it is so hot that all nature
seems hushed as in subdued respiration.  It was
curious to know that on either side that field, not
more than a third of a mile in extent, lurked fellow-
countrymen, yet enemies, intent on each others� de-
struction.
     Beyond the second hedge, on the obliquely-sloping
trunk of a tree, we presently discover three � four � 
Confederate soldiers, indulging in a mutual game of
bo-peep with us.  I thought of my experience be-
fore Yorktown, Va.; and surmised that had we, or
the Rebels, possessed a target-rifle (and one of Ber-
dan�s sharpshooters to use it), with the inclination to
indulge in the detestable practice of picket-murdering,
our peaceable �reconnoissance� might have come to
a summary conclusion.
   It did not, however.  We used our field-glass as
long as we chose, and noted the points of the tight of
the 16th minutely.  I have told the story of it in a
previous letter; here, on the spot, it was easy, by
the exercise of a little imagination, to realize the
scene.  Suppose the swift, silent progress of the
troops, through the darkness preceding the dawn of
a dull, overcast day, threatening rain, the scattering
fire of the pickets in the woods, the volleys of mus-
ketry from Gen. Steven�s men, as the right,
announcing that the attack had commenced, followed
by the intermittent roar of artillery, the scream of
shot and shell, the desperate charge and repulse, the
hail of chain-shot and grape hurtling through the
ranks of our brave, devoted soldiers; the dismal
pause in the combat, for the removal of the wounded
and dying, while the smoke of the battle-field moved
sluggishly away as the early beams of the morning
sun struggled through the clouds and looked solemnly
down on the spectacle.
     I know nothing more honorable to the character
of the soldiers here than the fact that they have not
been demoralized by this disastrous, this miserable
sacrifice of human life, origination in either a mis-
calculation of means to effect a given end or impet-
uous, unwarranted vanity.  So far from this being
the case, the brave fellows are burning for another
fight.  �Let Gen. Wright give the order,� said one
to me, only last night, �and we�ll storm their fort
again to-morrow morning!�  I may add that Gen.
Wright is now in command since the return of Gen.
Benham to Hilton Head, and his arrest by the order
of . Gen. Hunter.  Also that no other opinion is ex-
pressed here but the one that both Gen. Wright and
Gen. Stevens acted simply in obedience to orders,
against their better judgment and even remon-
strances.
     Enough of a painful subject.  We descend from
our tree and, reclining beneath another, discuss the
relative position of the adverse forces, hearing also
from Capt. Littell how a deserter from the Rebel
ranks came in just before the break of the day this
morning, emerging form the woods in rather a
drenched condition, and halloing �Yankees, ahoy!�
Corporal Murray, to whom he surrendered himself, 
is called and tells us the particulars.  I saw the de-
serter subsequently, at the guard-house, by favor of
the Provost-Marshal, and combine the statements.
    He was a strong-featured, muscular Irishman,
about thirty, attired in a heavy, dark-blue, woolen
shirt and dark trowsers�the costume of a marine.
He gave his name as Frank Griffin, recently of the
47th Georgia Regiment, saying that he had been in
this country about eight years, and once lived in
Brooklyn, New-York.  He had enlisted originally at
Savannah, in the C.S. marine service, deserted, re-

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
enlisted in an infantry regiment, and arrived with it
at James Island a month ago; two of the companies
being left in Georgia.  He reckoned only 350 avail-
able fighting men in the regiment at present, of
whom 80 are Irishmen.  Their Colonel, named Wil-
liams, is not the brother of the Captain whose grave
we had visited, as reported in The Herald; he may
have been his relation.
    The Georgia troops are greatly dissatisfied with
their present position � complaining that the South
Carolinians leave them, comparatively uncared for,
to the defense of the sea islands, while they remain
in and about the city.  The �crackers,� as my
informant termed them, have only been persuaded to
remain by perpetual promises of speedy return.  The
51st Georgia is there, and, at least, one Louisiana
regiment and considerable artillery.  There are
eleven or twelve regiments, in all, roughly estimated
at 8,000 men.  They have been on half-rations, but
are fed with beef and pork, getting, however, very
little coffee.  The pay, entirely in Confederate scrip
or notes, is $11 a month with $50 bounty.  Seventy-
five dollars were due to Griffin at the period of his
desertion; if he had waited a day he might have got
the money, but, being on picket duty, he did not like
to miss the opportunity of escaping.  There were
others of his regiment determined to follow his ex-
ample � they had discussed the matter only yester-
day.
    In the action of the 16th the Rebels became very
short of ammunition.  Had it continued much longer,
they must have succumbed, and left a comparatively
clear road to Charleston.  Their loss in killed and
wounded he rated no higher than 50, a much lower
estimate than that of a fugitive negro who recently
came within our lines.  He placed it at 300, adding that
a large building at Secessionville was filled with the
wounded, who were presently removed to Charles-
ton.  Without attaching too much importance to
either statement, it may be remarked that a colored
servant, as familiar as a house-dog about the officers�
quarters, would have better opportunities of judging
than a private soldier, necessarily confined to his
regiment.  Still, all news obtainable from deserters,
white or black, is of  dubious character; both tell
what they think we desire to hear; the soldiers are
ignorant and the negroes exaggerative.
    Griffin also stated that the Rebels on the island are
commanded by Major-Gen. Evans (of Ball�s Bluff
celebrity) and Brigadier-Gen. Smith.  They intend
to make as hard a fight as possible before they let us
have Charleston, but are apprehensive or our gun-
boats destroying the bridges connecting the island
with the main land and cutting off their retreat.
They expect that Beauregard will come to the
�Cradle of Rebellion� and take command there.
   Griffin was at Hilton Head, on one of the vessels
of Tatnall�s Mosquito fleet during the bombardment
by our troops.  He resumed his sailor clothing pre-
vious to his desertion, and left his musket behind
him in order to effect it the more surely.
Nothing of the moment occurred during our return to
camp.  I am finishing a pleasant day by recording its
adventures and impressions.  Do not expect the fall
of Charleston too speedily.

                     -------*-------

Stray Items relative to the Fight of the 16th,
                 on James Island, S.C.

    In the heroic charge upon the rebel fort of the
79th New-York (the Highland Regiment), private
Gage, having scaled the breast work, discovered
among the men defending it, a man who had captured
him at Leesburg, shot him through the wrist, seized               
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