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Civil War- "Col. Montgomery's Negro Regiments"

July 3, 1863
The Charleston Mercury

(From the Port Royal South, June 6.)

On Monday evening last, five Companies of the Black
regiment of Carolina negros, and a portion of Battery C, 3d
R.I. Artillery, Captain Brayton, under the command of Col.
Montgomery, started on an expedition, which had for its main
object the recruiting of soldiers for the 2d Black regiment of
So. C. negros. The troops were put on board the transports
John Adams, the Sentinel, and Harriet A. Weed, and the
expedition got away from Beaufort at about 9 o, and
without accident or detention, proceeded as far as St. Helena
Sound, when the Sentinel got fast aground, and some time was
consumed in transferring them from her to the Adams and Weed.

At half-past two othe force arrived at the mouth of
the Combahee river, and pushed rapidly but silently up the
stream without being discovered by the enemy. A portion of the
force was landed at FieldPoint, a place about twenty miles
up the river, where was posted a rebel picket, which
incontinently fled, leaving their blankets warm to our forces.
Capt. Thompsoncompany was here posted in deserted
breastworks by Col. Montgomery, and the balance of the force
proceeded up the river in the two transports, to Tar Bluff, two
miles above, where some deserted rifle pits were found and
Capt. Carvercompany left to occupy them. The two steamers
again moved up the river to Nicolplantation, a mile or two
above, where the Weed was left in charge of Major Corwin, and
the John Adams rapidly steamed up to Combahee Ferry, across
which was a fine pontoon bridge. This was taken up, but not
before a rebel cavalry company had passed over while the guns
of the Adams threw shells at them. Obstructions across the
river prevented the Adams from ascending still higher, and
after the pontoon bridge was burned, she turned and passed
slowly down the river again. While the pontoon bridge was
being destroyed, CAPT. HOYT'S COMPANY was sent up the right
bank of the river to capture and destroy, and also to collect
negros. Capt. Brayton, with his section of Battery, started up
the left bank. Capt. Hoyt pushed on his little force, with
skirmishers ahead, to Green Pond, where Col. Heyward resided,
in magnificent style, in a mansion that equalled any on the
main. Heyward managed to escape, but carried nothing with him.
His horses were captured, his sabre taken, and a quantity of
other movables borne away. Large and extensive rice mills and
storehouses and cotton warehouses were completely destroyed,
and finally the mansion itself was burned. The quantity of
rice and cotton burned was immense. While returning, a small
body of rebel cavalry and sharp-shooters followed our forces,
and then pressing Capt. Hoyt rather sharply, he drew up across
the road and made a stand. The negros maintained their ground
stoutly, keeping up a sharp effective fire, for half an hour,
when the John Adams threw in some shell, and quickly dispersed
the rebels. Capt. Hoyt brought the company in, and got it
aboard the John Adams safely. Captain Brayton proceeded some
distance up the left bank, capturing many horses, mules and
cattle, and destroying rice mills, storehouses containing
cotton and rice, and bringing off all the negros within hailing
distance. The rebel pickets, instead of falling back on a
large rebel force on the Ashepoo river, had confined themselves
to the task of notifying the planters and negro drivers of the
approach of negro troops, and it required only a display of
flags and an uninterrupted pipe of the steam whistle to
inaugurate a general stampede on the part of the slaves to our
boats and forces. They came to the river banks in droves, in
spite of efforts of drivers to the contrary, who, pistols in
hand, decreed death to the first one who disobeyed their orders
to follow them, and take to the woods.

After gathering all the troops, and taking on board 737
negros, men, women and children, and a few fine horses, the
expedition returned to Beaufort. The contrabands were placed
in one of the Beaufort churches, temporarily, but will be
distributed, on general principles, in a few days. All the
able bodied negros are to be placed in the 2d Black Regiment of
S.C. Negros. They will be strong enough in numbers to form two

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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