Colonel Harrison's, four miles east of Loundes-borough, distance twelve miles. April twelfth. Marched at 5:30 A. M., passed through Montgomery at four P. M., camped four miles east on Columbus road, distance twenty-seven miles. Lagrange's brigade of McCook's division having been placed under my command, I received orders on the fourteenth to march to the Chattahoochie, to secure the bridges over that river either at Columbus or West Point, thereby opening for the cavalry corps the road into Georgia. In pursuance of these instructions I sent Lagrange's brigade via Tuskagee and Opelika, to West Point, where he arrived on the sixteenth. We immediately attacked the garrison at that place, captured it, and secured the bridge. My own division marched directly upon Columbus, eighty miles distant. Columbus is a fortified city of twelve thousand inhabitants,, situated on the east bank of the Chattahoochie. Three bridges span the river at this point, one foot bridge at the lower end of the city, the other foot bridge and railroad bridges are three-quarters of a mile above, opposite the upper end of the city. There is a fourth bridge at Clapp's factory, three miles above, which was destroyed upon the approach of Captain Young, of Tenth Missouri cavalry, who was sent to secure it. On the west bank of the river, between the upper and lower bridges, lies the small town of Girard. Mill Creek, which flows through an open valley about a mile in width, separating two prominent ridges, which approach the river perpendicularly and overlook the city, empties into the river near the centre of Girard. The lower bridge was defended from the east bank by a rifle-pit, and three pieces of artillery sweeping it. The upper foot and two railroad bridges were defended by a tete de pont, consisting of two redoubts connected by a range of rifle-pits about three-quarters of a mile long, extending across the upper ridge, strengthened by slashing in front. The lower redoubts, situated just below the upper bridge, contained six twelve-pounder howitzers; four ten-pounder Parrott guns were in position on its right. These guns completely swept Mill Creek Valley. The upper redoubt contained four guns, commanding the Summerfield road. Five guns swept the railroad, and two howitzers the upper foot bridge, making in all twenty-four guns in position. The works were held by about twenty-seven hundred infantry. The division moving along the lower Crawford road, arrived about two P. M. opposite the lower bridge. Colonel Eggleston, commanding the advance guard, immediately charged to secure it, but was received with a heavy fire of artillery and musketry, while the bridge previously prepared with combustible material was at the same time fired. He therefore retired behind the ridge, Rodney's battery fired a few shots which devoloped the position of the enemy's artillery. It being impossible to attack successfully the tete de pont from this direction, General Alexander's brigade was placed in position along the crest of the lower ridge, while General Winslow's brigade, making a wide detour, was sent under cover across to the Summerfield road on the upper ridge. The brigade was preceded by two companies of the Fifth Iowa cavalry, under Captain Lewis, who drove in the opposing picket, and charged gallantly upon a strong line of works, which in the darkness appeared to be the enemy's main position. General Winslow at once disposed his command for the attack, the plan of which was to penetrate the work with dismounted men, and then to send a mounted force through the breach, with instructions to charge directly upon the bridge. The assault was made about nine P. M. by six companies of the Third Iowa cavalry, commanded by Colonel Noble. The front line of works was soon carried, which being mistaken for the main line, two companies of the Tenth Missouri cavalry were ordered to charge to the bridge. These companies, supposed by the enemy to be his own men, passed through to the works on the Summerfield road unharmed, charged and secured the bridge, capturing many prisoners. Captain McGlasson, finding himself in the enemy's rear and vastly outnumbered, rejoined his regiment. In the mean time the main line opened fire upon the right with grape and musketry. The Third Iowa pressed forward through a slashing one hundred yards deep, and after a charge unexampled in cavalry service, and with but few parallels in infantry, crowned the works. General Winslow promptly followed up the success, ignoring the redoubt on the right, which still continued its fire. The Fourth Iowa cavalry, dismounted, under Captain Abraham, passed through the breach, turned to the right, charged the redoubt, capturing ten guns, and then sweeping across the bridge with the flying rebels, captured the two howitzers loaded with canister at the opposite end. Mounted companies from the same regiment followed in the rear of Captain Abraham's, and after crossing the bridge, turned to the right and charged in flank the works at the lower bridge, capturing prisoners and the three guns at that point. By ten P. M. Columbus, with its vast munitions of war, fifteen hundred prisoners, and twenty-four guns, was in our hands. This victory, which was the closing conflict of the war, was achieved with the loss of but thirty men killed and wounded. April eighteenth. At 8:30 A. M. the division marched for Macon via Double bridge and Thomaston, arriving and going into camp at East Macon on the evening of the twenty-first. The march was through a rich country, and the distance marched ninety-eight miles. Here official information of the armistice between
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.