In his previous letter, Charles had expressed his hope that the 8th Michigan would soon move on from Beaufort, South Carolina where the unit had been encamped for several months. He believed that if they could only take the battle to the Confederates, it would bring the war to a speedy conclusion. Two weeks later, he writes to William to report that they have now been sent further south to Tybee Island, Georgia, off the coast from Savannah.
Goat Point, where he is camped, is the northernmost tip of the island. The Union brought in artillery, which Cock describes in detail, to bombard the Confederate-held Fort Pulaski. The fire power amazes him as he describes a Union bombardment of the fort.
As he writes, Charles notes that three companies of the 8th Michigan, including Company F to which he was assigned, were assigned to stay at Goat Point to defend the Union position from any Confederate counter-attack. The rest of the regiment, as well as the 3rd Rhode Island Infantry, was being sent to nearby Wilmington and Whitemarsh Islands on a three-day scouting expedition.
Later that afternoon, the excursion was attacked on Whitemarsh Island. The 8th Michigan suffered heavy casualties but managed to hold their position. Between the 8th Michigan and the 3rd Rhode Island, the Union army lost 10 men killed and 35 wounded. Cock and Company F, however, were not involved in that battle. Since the other Companies were just leaving as Cock wrote, he makes no mention of the fight that occurred that afternoon.
Here is the Union description of that battle:
WILMINGTON ISLAND, GEORGIA
APRIL 16, 1862.
(See Whitemarsh Island, Georgia)
WHITEMARSH ISLAND, GEORGIA
APRIL 16, 1862.
Whitemarsh Island, Ga., April 16, 1862. Detachment of 8th Michigan Infantry and a Rhode Island Battery. Seven companies of the 8th Mich., constituting an escort for Lieut. J. H. Wilson, a topographical engineer making a reconnaissance of Whitemarsh island, were attacked between 4 and 5 p. m. by some 800 Confederates. The Federal advance line, stationed behind a hedge, delivered its fire and the bugles sounded the “charge.” Some of the men mistook the signal and commenced falling back, the enemy meantime advancing rapidly. As soon as the Union troops could be rallied they checked the Confederate advance and the same positions were maintained by the participants for an hour or more, when the enemy made an attempt to turn the Union left. The company holding that position advanced and the rest of the line followed, driving the Confederates steadily before them for a half or three-quarters of a mile. The Union loss was 10 killed and 35 wounded; the exact Confederate loss was not ascertained, but 2 dead and 1mortally wounded were left in Federal hands.
Source: The Union Army, vol. 6
For a view of Fort Pulaski today, go to….
Island Goat Point
April 16th 1862
I wrote to Mary a day or tow ago it was a short one & this will have to be also for my eyes are so sore I cant see the lines they wer some sore before we left Beaufort but since we have come to this heap of sand they hav grown worse instead of better other ways than my eyes I am all right we came here a week ago today & have slept out without tents ever since our tents came last night & the boys are putting them up it has rained considerable since we have been here & take it all around we have had a pretty tough time & do not expect anything else & we are perfectly willing to stand it if they will only drive this thing throng as soon as possibles & have it done wit Goat Point where we are is the
father west point of Tybee Island & just Opposite the Fort I have not been over to the Ft yet nor any of our regt but some of the Officers but I am going to try and get over there before leave. We can see the Ft very plain from where we are but I want to see the inside of it those that have been over say it is a grand smash there is not a place 3 ft square in or around the Ft that has not been hit by a shell I tell you those shells are terrible things I wish you could have been with me & seen the Bobardment for it was a sight worth seeing our regt lay just to one side of the range of their guns & in plain sight so we could see the wholl thong the[y] could not see us we do not know how long we shall stay here or where we shall go when we do move seven Cos. of this regt are ordered off to Wilmington Island on a scouting excursion with three days cooked rations they by the steamer Honduras & take two small field pieces with them Cos A F&E have got to stay behind & take care of Goat Point though there are not many Goats here there wer 192 Prisoners taken we had one man Killed & two slightly wounded they beloged to the 3d R I regt we have 11 batteries that played on the Fort I have been round to all the Batteries & got the names & No & size of the guns the fatherest one from the Ft East 1st Baty Stanton 3-13 in Morters 2d Brty Grant 3’13 inch mortars 3d Seyon 3-10 in Columbiades. 4th Lincold 3-42 Pounders 5th Burnsides 1-13 morter. 6th Sherman 3-13 in mortr 7th Halleck 2-13 in mortars, 8 Scott 3-10 in & 1-8 in Colubes 9th Seigle 6 Parrott 32 Parrott guns wer the boys that done the work there are two holes knocked in th Ft large enough to drive a team of horses in we took 9 nice horses with the Fort the Cos that are going are froming in to go abroad the boat I think I shall have to quit for this time and write again soon write & direct the same as befor 7 they will follow the regt tell Father & Mother they need not be at all be alarmed about me for I shall get along first rate. Liet Phillps is quite sick but is getting better good by for this time & write often
From your brother
Charles F. Cook