Monday, January 24, 2011

Cushing at Fort Randall

I had a few questions about Union Lt. William Cushing at Fort Randall as written about on today's earlier entry, so looked up some more information.

From the Historical Markers Data base and especially Fort Randall, Little River Neck, Horry County, Sc, by Ben Burroughs.

The fort originally mounted two 6-pdr. cannons and was named after Captain Thomas Randall, a large landowner in the area.

When Cushing made his attack, he was on a captured schooner named the Home which was disguised as a blockade-runner and was looking for Wilmington pilots when he stumbled upon Fort Randall. He has heard of a pilot station at Little River.

In a report dated Jan. 8, 1863, Cushing said he disembarked from the Home and crossed the bar at the mouth of Little River on three cutters with 25 men. A mile from the mouth, he was fired upon from a bluff and immediately beached the boats and formed his men 200 yards from his attackers.

Advancing, they saw the fort when they cleared the trees and "knowing that the rebels were ignorant of our numbers, I charged with bayonet and captured their works, going over one side as they escaped over the other." (Of course, Lt. Cushing also had no idea how large the enemy force was either.) They found no guns mounted and destroyed all that they could not carry off.

They continued a short distance and had another skirmish, but not finding any schooners or pilots and running out of ammunition, they returned to their boats.

Union casualties in the action were one man wounded in the leg. There was no mention of Confederate casualties.

Mr. Burroughs mentioned that as of 2008, the earthwork Fort Randall still stood, but parts have started to erode. The site still offers great views of the Little River Inlet where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Quite a Character, That Cushing. --Old B-R'er

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