previous next

[89] to be beaten in detail as they came up.1 During the retreat, the 1st Mass. Cavalry (Independent Battalion) assisted in covering the rear, but without losses, and the 55th was not in action. The 40th Mass. also lost some men in the engagement, in which it served as a mounted infantry, ‘on animals raked and scraped up within the department,’ according to Gen. G. H. Gordon. The loss of the 54th was fourteen killed, sixty-three wounded and eight missing.

In the expedition to James Island, July 2-9, 1864, the 54th sustained no injury, but the 55th and the 4th Cavalry (2d Battalion) had casualties.2 The 55th on taking possession of the island attacked and drove back a portion of the Confederate battery, capturing two guns. The troops were in the field a whole day with the thermometer at 110 degrees, many men falling from sunstroke. The whole movement was ineffectual and rather aimless, as were almost all attempts to advance our lines among the islands, and the 55th lost eleven men while the 4th Cavalry lost slightly.3

The defeat at Honey Hill (November 30) was less humiliating than that at Olustee, because there was more object in the battle. It formed a part of an attempt to carry out an order given by General Halleck, by report of General Sherman, that General Foster should break the Charleston and Savannah Railroad about Pocotaligo about the first of December.4 This particular fight was sufficiently well timed for Lieut.-Col. C. C. Jones, Jr., in his Siege of Savannah to say of it, ‘The engagement [November 30] at Honey Hill released the city of Savannah from an impending danger, which, had it not been thus averted, would have necessitated its immediate evacuation.’ General Potter wrote of the troops engaged, ‘Nothing but the formidable character of the obstacles they encountered prevented them from achieving success;’ and Capt. Charles C. Soule, of the 55th Mass., wrote to the Philadelphia Weekly Times, ‘The generalship displayed was ’

1 ‘We were whipped in detail. . . . Five brigadier-generals had remained idly awaiting results on those islands [Folly and Morris] while as many brigades, commanded by colonels, were being whipped at Olustee.’ (War Diary by George H. Gordon, one of the brigadier-generals, pp. 282, 283) Compare Walker's 2d Army Corps, p 405, ‘The Confederates knew better. They had always brigadier-generals to command their brigades and usually major-generals to command their division.’

2 Emilio, p. 201.

3 ‘To continue the Department of the South as an aggressive one was a folly, nay, almost a crime.’ (War Diary of General G. H. Gordon, p. 289) General Gordon had little patience with General Gillmore, whose military qualities, apart from engineering, were not highly esteemed by those under him. With admirable scouts at his command he rarely took the pains to ascertain in advance the conditions of proposed operations, and was quite apt to throw the blame on his subordinates if they failed to perform impossibilities.

4 Emilio, p. 237.

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Savannah (Georgia, United States) (2)
Olustee (Florida, United States) (2)
Honey Hill (South Carolina, United States) (2)
Pocotaligo (South Carolina, United States) (1)
James Island (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
George H. Gordon (3)
L. F. Emilio (2)
F. A. Walker (1)
Charles C. Soule (1)
T. W. Sherman (1)
E. E. Potter (1)
George W. Morris (1)
C. C. Jones (1)
Halleck (1)
G. H. Gordon (1)
Gillmore (1)
Abby Kelly Foster (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.
November 30th (2)
July 9th, 1864 AD (1)
July 2nd, 1864 AD (1)
December 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: