previous next

[64] access to these bold inland water ways gave to the Federal forces complete dominion in this region, the South having no ships for defensive service; yet despite these recognized advantages and our many disabilities, the enemy was kept at a safe distance all through the four years, by means of rifles and field artillery, and when their armed vessels ventured inland they were uniformly driven off, more than once with loss of ships and heavy casualties.

Against these short and fully protected water advantages, with an unlimited command of men, guns and vessels, operating from a military and naval base close at hand, we had for our base 103 miles of railroad between Charleston and Savannah, with its bridges seriously exposed at half a dozen points. To protect this long line we had practically only mounted riflemen (cavalry) and field pieces.

Our outpost service was maintained under serious difficulties, at every point of observation overlooking the enemy's water lines; from Stono to Broad River, we had to maintain our thin line of videttes, who kept watch through winter cold and rain, and summer heat, sand-flies and malaria.

These outposts were from eight to sixteen miles from the telegraph offices on the railroad line, communicating with headquarters; in case of alarms, these intervening distances, from picket stations to the railroad, were traversed by mounted couriers, so that several hours necessarily passed before news could be wired to the commanding general. From these outposts, not a few, but many incursions were made at great peril within the enemy's lines. These gallant enterprises were frequently rewarded by valuable information for department headquarters; the capture of officers and men proved also very advantageous. In this way we obtained the United States signal code, by Captain Mickler, Company E, 11th South Carolina Infantry, bringing off a signal officer from the station at ‘Spanish Wells.’

As the needs of the armies in Virginia and the West had to be supplemented with fresh forces, the troops in this coast region .were reduced to minimum numbers, infantry, cavalry and field artillery being ordered elsewhere; as a matter of fact, during 1863 and 1864, this extended coast line was held by a relatively small force of mounted men and light batteries, distributed at convenient points. Sections of two field pieces each were placed at intervals along this one hundred and odd miles of front, ready for rapid movement in any direction.

The limited infantry supports were stationed at Charleston and its

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.
John C. Mickler (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.
1864 AD (1)
1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: