by Colonel Dustin's brigade of Third division, I proceeded with the remainder of the brigade to Argyle Island, and took up position on the eastern point and near South-Carolina shore. Two pieces of artillery, battery I, First New-York, were ordered to report to me, and were put into position. During the night received orders from Brigadier-General Williams, commanding corps, to cross my brigade to the South-Carolina shore, and take up position near the river, threatening the Savannah and Charleston pike. Later in the evening this order was countermanded, and an order given to send one hundred men only, and cross them in small boats. December 17.--I found it impossible to cross one hundred men in small boats, not having enough for the purpose, and the low state of the tide not warranting the use of the large barges. Nothing special occurred during the day, save a desultory fire on our position by a light battery of General Wheeler's cavalry command, which had now taken up position on the South-Carolina shore opposite us. December 18.--Remained in same position on Argyle Island, with slight shelling from General Wheeler's guns. December 19.--Under orders from the Brigadier-General commanding division, the Third Wisconsin, Second Massachusetts, and Thirteenth New-Jersey, all under command of Colonel Hawley, were sent over to the South-Carolina shore at daybreak. They landed without opposition, and advancing to and beyond Izard's Mill, succeeded, after a slight skirmish, in securing a good position. Deeming the force too inadequate to maintain its ground against the accumulating force of the enemy, the One Hundred and Seventh New-York was sent over in the afternoon, and succeeded in gaining an important point on the line. So important did the enemy consider this position, that they charged our forces with their cavalry, but were speedily driven off. I then moved the remaining regiment of the brigade, One Hundred and Fiftieth New-York volunteers, to the South-Carolina shore, and established then my headquarters at Izard's Mill. The position occupied by the brigade was strong for defence, but the nature of the ground was such that an advance was difficult. It was a rice plantation, cut up by numerous dykes and canals, and the enemy had burned all the bridges over the canals and overflowed the whole plantation to a depth of eight to eighteen inches water, thus necessitating all our movements by the flank up these dykes, and they stood well prepared at these places to resist our advance. During the night I transported the two pieces of artillery across the river, and put them in position in the centre of the line; the line as then formed and held by my brigade was two and a quarter miles long, the left resting on the Savannah River near Izard's Mill, the right on an inlet near Clysedale Creek. During the night I caused earthworks to be thrown up at all the prominent points along the line, making my position as strong as possible. December 20.--In obedience to orders from the Brigadier-General commanding division, to determine the position of Clysedale Creek, with reference to my line, I detailed twelve companies of the brigade, under immediate command of Colonel Hawley, Third Wisconsin volunteers, and accompanied them myself. The force succeeded in reaching Clysedale Creek, with the loss of one man killed, and after erecting works for one regiment, and posting therein two companies of Thirteenth New-Jersey volunteers, an effort was made to strike the Savannah and Hardeesville road, but the enemy, anticipating the movement, had thrown a strong force in our front. Having a canal to cross under their fire if we advanced, I ordered the detachment to withdraw. During the day, a great number of vehicles of all descriptions were seen passing our front, moving from Savannah toward Hardeesville, which fact was reported to the headquarters of the division. In the afternoon, a rebel gunboat came up the river in our rear, and threw about thirty shells in my brigade, killing one man of One Hundred and Fiftieth New-York. I could not reach it with my artillery. At four P. M., the enemy were reenforced by three regiments of infantry from Savannah. From seven P. M. until three A. M. the noise of the retreating enemy could plainly be heard as they crossed the bridges from Savannah to the South-Carolina shore. December 21.--At seven A. M., I received orders from the Brigadier-General commanding division, through Captain Bennett, Topographical Engineer, to recross my brigade to the Georgia shore, as rapidly as possible, and march into Savannah, which place had surrendered to us at five A. M. The enemy were still in my front, and I made dispositions to cross, by sending the One Hundred and Fiftieth New-York, Colonel Ketcham commanding, across to Argyle Island, and put into position behind the dyke, so as to cover the withdrawal of the rear-guard down a dyke on the Carolina shore to a lower landing opposite Gibbon's Mill. The Second Massachusetts volunteers and the two pieces of artillery were then withdrawn, the Second Massachusetts landing on Argyle Island, and the artillery, loaded on a barge, being ordered to land on the island. On account of the high wind, the artillery could not be landed as desired. The enemy, perceiving our movements, advanced their skirmishers rapidly, but were checked by the bold front and steadiness of our own skirmishers. It was two o'clock before the artillery and stores could be got far enough away to warrant the withdrawal of the balance of the brigade; then it was withdrawn, followed by our skirmishers, the enemy pressing hard. The One Hundred and Seventh New-York volunteers crossed ; then the enemy grew more bold, advancing at all points; but under cover of the numerous dykes,
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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