previous next

[73] pressed forward and encamped near Horse Creek at forty-five minutes past four P. M. The distance marched on this day was about fifteen miles.

On the fourth, my brigade, having in charge the entire division train, the pontoon train, the corps supply train, and the artillery ammunition train, marched at nine A. M. The column crossed a number of small swampy streams and passed through a sterile, sandy country, bountifully timbered with groves of pine. At half-past 12 P. M., it crossed Little Horse Creek, and at five P. M., Little Ogeechee Creek. At six P. M., my troops encamped one mile beyond the Little Ogeechee, having marched thirteen miles.

On the fifth, the First division, which had previously been in advance, dropped to the rear, allowing the other two divisions to go ahead. This consumed most of the day. My brigade marched at five P. M. The road was very sloughy, greatly detaining the trains. The column advanced only about three and a half miles, when it encamped at half-past 10 P. M.

On the sixth, my brigade, with a battery of artillery, was detailed as a rear-guard for the corps. It marched at half-past 9 A. M., unencumbered with wagons. The line of march pursued, the Springfield road, through a moderately fertile country. My foraging parties, which were now kept out daily, were enabled to obtain a considerable quantity of sweet potatoes and fresh meat. Ample supplies of forage were also obtained along the road. My command marched on this day about twelve miles, and encamped at a point about six miles from the Ogeechee River, six from the Savannah and sixteen from Spring-field.

On the seventh, our march was resumed at eight A. M. My brigade had charge of about three hundred wagons, consisting of the division and the cavalry trains. The road soon entered the Cowpens Branch Swamp, a low, flat, boggy surface, about three miles in width. The wagons easily cut through the surface, and many of them became completely mired. In the mean time a drizzling rain set in, which had no tendency to improve the roads. In many instances the animals had to be entirely removed from the wagons, and the vehicles drawn out of the slough by the troops.

By half-past 1 P. M., the trains were all gotten safely through the swamp, and the column moved slowly on. At eight P. M., it reached Turkey Creek and Swamp, and at ten P. M., encamped one mile above Springfield. The distance marched on this day was fifteen miles.

At eight o'clock A. M., on the morning of the eighth, my brigade crossed Jack's Creek, and arrived at Springfield. My command was now unencumbered, and marched in advance of the division, following the Second division. Our course followed the Monteith road about nine miles, then turned to the right and pursued a south-westerly direction for a distance of six miles, which brought us to our encampment, having marched in the aggregate fifteen miles.

The march was resumed at half-past 8 A. M. on the ninth. My brigade followed the Second, the First being in the advance. At ten A. M., the column struck the main road leading to Savannah. Cannonading and musketry were now occasionally heard in the advance. It began to be evident that a considerable force of the enemy had gathered in our front, and meant to oppose our onward march to Savannah.

At three P. M., my brigade reached Monteith Swamp, where the First and Second brigades had already encountered a considerable force of the enemy. The rebel forces were so disposed as to completely command the only practicable passage of the swamp, which was by the main road. Their artillery, which they were disposed to use freely, was so posted as to completely sweep the road and was covered by earthworks.

The advance of the First brigade against the enemy's front, together with that of the Second brigade against his left flank, having failed to dislodge him, I was instructed by the General commanding division to send two regiments around the left with directions to push through the swamp if possible and turn the enemy's right. I immediately despatched the Thirty-first Wisconsin and Sixty-first Ohio veteran volunteers, the whole commanded by Colonel West, of the Thirty-first Wisconsin volunteers, to whom I gave the instructions above repeated. Making a detour of about one mile to the left, Colonel West formed his command in line of battle, and plunged into the almost impenetrable swamp. It was found impossible to get a horse over the miry surface, and officers and men were alike compelled to go on foot. The swamp, which was about four hundred yards in width, was finally passed, and the troops emerged into an open field skirted on the farther side by timber, in which the enemy lay concealed. The point at which he was struck was far in the rear of his main position, which was completely turned, yet he was not wholly unprepared to meet Colonel West's forces, upon whom he opened fire at their first appearance. The fire was returned with a good will, but only three volleys were needed to complete the overthrow and effect precipitate retreat of the enemy. Colonel West now cautiously advanced his line, fearing an ambush. He soon discovered that the rebel forces were all gone, and quietly occupied two fine redoubts, containing about eighty abandoned knapsacks, well packed with clothing, etc. The remainder of my brigade, except the Eighty-second Ohio veteran volunteer infantry, which had been sent to the support of Colonel West, now crossed the swamp by the main road, and the whole encamped near the rebel redoubts.

This little affair, in my judgment, reflects great credit upon those concerned in it, and I take this occasion to express my appreciation of the skill and promptitude with which Colonel West handled his troops. I regret to say, however, that this affair cost us one man killed and four wounded.

My brigade marched again at seven A. M., on the tenth, in the centre of the division, the Second

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Francis H. West (6)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
10th (1)
9th (1)
8th (1)
7th (1)
6th (1)
5th (1)
4th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: