The condition of the teams was not good, and delays to the rear of our long column were consequently vexatious and protracted. Geary's division was detached, unencumbered, on the morning of the nineteenth, with orders to destroy the Georgia Railroad Bridge over the Oconee River, and such wagon-bridges as he might find on that river toward Milledgeville. The purpose was fully accomplished, and several miles of railroad as well as the long railroad bridge over the Oconee were destroyed. A wagon-bridge over that river and several mills and factories were also burned. The division rejoined the column on the twenty-first, before reaching Little River. The other two divisions, with the trains of the corps, moved through Madison, and encamped four miles beyond. About six miles of railroad were destroyed by Ward's division. Supplies for man and beast became abundant on the third day after leaving Atlanta. On the twentieth, moved forward and encamped near Eatonton. The afternoon was rainy and the roads heavy. On the twenty-first, marched through Eatonton, encamping near Little River. Two or three miles of the Eatonton Branch Railroad were destroyed on the march. On the twenty-second, having laid the pontoon-bridge over Little River, the corps crossed and moved forward to the suburbs of Milledgeville. Two regiments under Colonel Hawley, Third Wisconsin volunteers, (appointed commandant of the post,) were sent to occupy the town. The First and Second divisions were encamped on the east side of the Oconee, and the Third division on the west side, near the bridge. Large quantities of arms, ammunition, and accoutrements were found and destroyed, as well as salt and other public property. The report of Colonel Hawley, commander of post, forwarded herewith, will give the details of this property. The railroad depot, two arsenals, a powder magazine, and other public buildings and shops were burned. The railroad track for five miles toward Gordon was destroyed. On the twenty-fourth, the march was resumed, and the divisions encamped near Gum Creek; and on the twenty-fifth, after some delay, to rebuild the bridges over Buffalo Creek and Swamp, the head of the column encamped about seven miles from Sandersville. Some skirmishing was had, and the enemy's cavalry was driven away by Colonel Robinson's brigade just as we were going into camp. On the following morning, (twenty-sixth,) two regiments of Carman's brigade, Jackson's division, drove away the rebel cavalry, and the corps moved rapidly into Sandersville, entering simultaneously with the Fourteenth corps, upon a road on our left. In the afternoon, the First and Second divisions were moved down to Tennille Station, (No 13,) the Third division being left to cover the trains. The First Michigan engineers reported for duty with the corps. On the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth, the Central Railroad and all wag-on-bridges over Williamson's Swamp Creek were destroyed from Tennille Station to the Ogeechee River, including the long railroad bridge over that stream, by the First and Second divisions and Michigan Engineers. The Third division marched with the trains, via Davisboro, across the Ogeechee and Rocky Comfort Rivers, and encamped near Louisville. On the thirtieth, the First and Second divisions moved up the Ogeechee to Coward's Bridge, which was found partly destroyed, but easily repaired. The whole corps encamped about three miles south of Louisville. Between the Oconee and Ogeechee, the roads, excepting at the river and swamp crossings, were good, the country very level, and the weather, during the march, superb. Supplies of all kinds were very abundant. From the first to the eighth of December, our line of march was down the Peninsula between the Ogeechee and Savannah Rivers, following the Louisville and Savannah Road, encamping on the first on Baker's Creek; on the second, at Buckhead Church; on the third, at Horse Creek; on the fourth, at Little Ogeechee; on the fifth, at Sylvania Cross-Roads; on the sixth, near Cowpens Creek; on the seventh, on Jack's Branch, near Springfield; and on the eighth, near Eden Cross-Roads. As we approached the coast, the surface of the country became flat and swampy. Large ponds or pools were met every mile or so, and the creeks spread out into several miry branches. The roads between the creeks and ponds, though apparently of sand, and substantial character, proved to be upon a thin crust, which was soon cut through by our long trains into the deep quicksand, requiring miles of corduroy. At several of the swamps, the enemy had attempted to obstruct our march by falling timber. The supplies continued good and the weather excellent. On the ninth, our direction of march was changed to the east, taking the road from Eden to Monteith Post-Office, on the Charleston Railroad. At the large Monteith Swamp, we found that the enemy, besides obstructing the road for nearly a mile by falling trees, had built two small earthworks, and with a single gun and about four hundred infantry was making a show of stopping our march. Jackson's division being in advance, he was ordered to throw out several regiments on each flank, while a brigade in the centre should make a feint, to engage attention and enable the pioneers to clear the obstructions. Our hope of capturing the whole party did not succeed; but their pretentious defences were speedily abandoned as soon as a portion of Robinson's brigade, under Colonel West, Thirty-first Wisconsin volunteers, could cross the swamp. The fugitives left behind a considerable quantity of new clothing and accoutrements. Our loss was one man killed and four wounded. Much praise was awarded to Colonel West for his conduct on this occasion.
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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