About the first of July, First Lieutenant Samuel Dibble, of the Edisto Rifles, a restless, dashing and daring young officer,
determined to find out whether the enemy were occupying Long Island. This island is the next below Secessionville, and was
at the time covered by a dense growth of pines, scrub oaks and such other trees as grow on the uncultivated islands on the
coast. He received permission to go on a scouting expedition, and selected to accompany him two men well qualified for such
service, men of true courage and extraordinary presence of mind. These two men, both of whom were only too glad to have an
opportunity to volunteer for desperate service, were Sergeant D.M. McClary of the Wee Nees and Corporal McLeod of the Washington
Light Infantry Company B. A very light boat which belonged to the post was manned by these two non-commissioned officers,
with the Lieutenant at the helm. During the night at high water they pulled across the marsh and landed on Long Island.
The men were instructed by Lieutenant Dibble to wait at the boat till his return, proposing to go into the woods by himself
and ascertain the situation, and telling them that he would not be gone very long. McClary and McLeod waited till daylight,
concealing themselves in the grass, when a Federal sergeant came out of the woods, drew out a telescope and after adjusting
the glasses rested it against a tree and leveled it at our works at Secessionville. The non-appearance of Lieutenant Dibble
was now understood by his escort. They at once ordered the Yankee to surrender, and having disarmed him ordered him to take
hold of one end of the boat, which was now aground, the tide having receded, and assist in pushing it to the water. They
had not proceeded far across the mud flat before a squad of the enemy appeared on the edge of the marsh, and demanded their
surrender. This they refused, and ordered their prisoner, on pain of instant death, to push the boat with all his might.
They had not many paces more to go till they got the boat to the water, when they got in, compelling their prisoner
to follow them and still to protect them by keeping himself between them and the squad, loudly calling for their surrender.
They soon got out of range without a shot being fired, the Yankees preferring to allow the game to escape rather than endanger
the life of their comrade. He was brought safely to Secessionville. We searched him for papers, and found a diary, which
he had brought down to the capture of Lieutenant Dibble. The diary gave an account of the building of masked batteries at
Folley Inlet on the northern end of Folley Island, of which the Confederates had no knowledge previously. I deemed this information
quite important, and sent the diary immediately to General Ripley in Charleston. [If proper attention had been paid to the
information which it contained the surprise and disadvantage of the roth of July would have been avoided, and the advantage
gained would in some measure have compensated for the unequal exchange which had been made when we lost Lieutenant Dibble
and got a sergeant.] I allowed nothing taken from our prisoner except this diary, and the spy-glass. These he begged to
be allowed to retain. He was told the diary was too valuable to be left in his keeping, and that as our Lieutenant had a
spy-glass with him when he was captured, we would take this glass in exchange. [Lieutenant Dibble remained a prisoner in
the hands of the enemy till October, 1864, and the Twenty-fifth South Carolina Volunteers was thus deprived of one of our
most promising officers.]
Hdqrs. First Sub-Division First Military District,
Secessionville, June 8, 1863.
Capt. W.F. Nance, Assistant
Captain: In order to ascertain the movements of the enemy on Long Island in front of Secessionville
I detailed Lieut. Samuel Dibble, Twenty-fifth South Carolina Volunteers, to go over with two men and to scout the island.
He went last night, landed, and went over the island. This morning whilst they were waiting on the tide, Lieutenant Dibble
being at a point whence he was watching the enemy, the two men with him heard the approach of a large party of the enemy and
heard them capture Lieutenant Dibble. Immediately afterward a sergeant of the Fifth Connecticut came to them to capture their
boat. They at once took him prisoner, and whilst one of them used him as a protection from his party, the other pushed the
boat down to the water. They then came off safely with their prisoner. This took place from just before daylight to a little
after. It appears that the enemy have a regular picket on Long Island, consisting of some 30 men. They have an excellent
point of observation, giving a full view of Secessionville, and out of the range of our guns, being at the same time under
the command of their battery and gunboats.
Lieutenant Dibble is an excellent scout, cool, sagacious, and daring.
The temporary loss of his services will be very great. I would call the attention of the brigadier-general commanding to
the skill and courage exhibited by the two men with him, who in the presence of an overwhelming number captured their prisoner
and brought him off safely in their sight.
Their names are Sergt. F.L. McClary and Corpl. R.A. McLeod, both of Twenty-fifth
South Carolina Volunteers.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Charles H. Simonton,
Although some information -- including the above letter -- indicates that Lt. Dibble was captured on June 8, 1863, the actual
capture date is almost certainly July 8, 1863. I possess a letter which Lt. Dibble wrote from Secessionville on June 28,
1863, and he was not then imprisoned. I believe the letter above was either misdated originally or, more likely, was copied
incorrectly in the official records.