previous next

[656] quite muddy, and a small body of rebel cavalry in falling back before La Grange destroyed several bridges, so that our progress was necessarily slow.

At seven A. M., April twelfth, the advanced guard reached Montgomery, and received the surrender of the city from the mayor and council. General Adams, with a small force, after falling back before us to the city; burned ninety thousand bales of cotton stored there, and continued his retreat to Mount Meigs on the Columbus road. Five guns and large quantities of small arms, stores, &c., were left in our hands and destroyed.

General McCook assigned Colonel Cooper, Fourth Kentucky cavalry, to the command of the city, and immediately began the destruction of the public stores. Major Weston, of the Fourth Kentucky, with a small detachment of his regiment, made a rapid march toward Wetumpha, swam the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers, and captured five steamboats and their cargoes, which were taken to Montgomery and destroyed. Early on the fourteenth the march was resumed. I instructed Major-General Upton to move with his own division directly upon Columbus, and to order La Grange with his brigade to make a rapid movement upon West Point, destroying railroad bridges along the line of his march. I hoped to secure a crossing of the Chattahoochee at one or the other of these places.

Minty followed Upton by the way of Suskegge. McCook, with a part of his division, remained a few hours at Montgomery to complete the destruction of the public stores. Shortly after leaving his camp near Montgomery, La Grange struck a force of rebels under Buford and Clanton, but drove them in confusion, capturing about one hundred and fifty prisoners.

About two P. M. of the sixteenth, General Upton's advance, a part of Alexander's brigade, struck the enemy's pickets on the road, and drove them rapidly through Girard to the lower bridge over the Chattahoochee, at Columbus. The rebels hastily set fire to it, and thereby prevented its capture. After securing a position on the lower Montgomery road, General Upton detached a force to push around to the bridge at the Factory, three miles above the city. He then made a reconnoisance in person, and found the enemy strongly posted in a line of works covering all the bridges, with a large number of guns in position, on both sides of the river. He had already determined to move Winslow's brigade to the Opelika or Summerville road, and assault the works on that side, without waiting for the arrival of the Second division. I reached the head of Winslow's brigade of the Fourth division at four o'clock, and found the troops marching to the position assigned them by General Upton. Through an accident, Winslow did not arrive at his position till after dark; but General Upton proposed to make the assault in the night, and, coinciding with him in judgment, I ordered the attack.

Three hundred men of the Third Iowa cavalry, Colonel Noble commanding, were dismounted, and, after a slight skirmish, moved forward and formed across the road, under a heavy fire of artillery. The Fourth Iowa and Tenth Missouri were held in readiness to support the assaulting party. At half-past 8 P. M., just as the troops were ready, the enemy, at a short distance, opened a heavy fire of musketry, and, with a four-gun battery, began throwing canister and grape. Generals Upton and Winslow, in person, directed the movement; the troops dashed forward, opened a withering fire from their Spencers, pushed through a slashing and abattis, pressed the rebel line back to their out works, supposed at first to be the main line. During all this time the rebel guns threw out a perfect storm of canister and grape, but without avail.

General Upton sent two companies of the Tenth Missouri, Captain Glassen commanding to follow up the success of the dismounted men and get possession of the bridge. They passed through the inner line of works, and, under cover of darkness, before the rebels knew it, had reached the bridge leading into Columbus.

As soon as everything could be got up to the position occupied by the dismounted men, General Upton pressed forward again, swept away all opposition, took possession of the foot and railroad bridges, and stationed guards throughout the city.

Twelve hundred prisoners, fifty-two field guns, in position for use against us, large quantities of arms and stores, fell into our hands. Our loss was only twenty-four killed and wounded. Colonel C. A. L. Lamar, of General Cobb's staff, formerly owner of the Wanderer slavetrader, was killed.

The splendid gallantry and steadiness of General Upton, Brevet Brigadier-General Winslow, and all the officers and men engaged in this night attack, is worthy of the highest commendation. The rebel force was over three thousand men. They could not believe they had been dislodged from their strong fortifications by an attack of three hundred men.

When it is remembered that this operation gave to us the city of Columbus — the key to Georgia--four hundred miles from our starting-point, and that it was conducted by cavalry, without any inspiration from the great events which had transpired in Virginia, it will not be considered insignificant, although shorn of its importance.

General Winslow was assigned to the command of the city. His report will give interesting details in regard to the stores, railroad transportation, gunboats, armories, arsenals, and workshops destroyed.

After much sharp skirmishing and hard marching, which resulted in the capture of fourteen wagons and a number of prisoners, La Grange's advance reached the vicinity of West Point at ten A. M., April sixteenth. With Beck's Eighteenth Indiana battery, the Second and

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.
E. Upton (10)
E. F. Winslow (6)
Daniel McCook (2)
Weston (1)
John W. Noble (1)
Robert H. G. Minty (1)
C. A. L. Lamar (1)
Glassen (1)
George E. Cooper (1)
Howell Cobb (1)
Clanton (1)
N. B. Buford (1)
Beck (1)
A. J. Alexander (1)
Wirt Adams (1)
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.
April 16th (1)
April 12th (1)
16th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: