War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0155 Chapter XXVI. SKIRMISH AT COOSAWHATCHIE, S.C., ETC.

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Numbers 5. Reports of Colonel Edward W. Serrell, First New York Engineers.


Broad River, S. C., October 22, 1862

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding the forces, that, agreeably to the orders of the major-general commanding the department, I reported to Brigadier-General Brannan this morning at 8 o'clock with 250 enlisted men of the Volunteer Engineers and 15 officers constituting the engineer force. Fifty-four men and two officers were assigned to duty with Colonel Barton, of the Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, and furnished with tools and the proper appliances for destroying railroad structures. This detachment was placed under the orders of Captain Samuel C. Eaton, of the Volunteer Engineers, and has not yet been heard from. The remaining forces of the Engineers were placed under the immediate orders of Lieutenant Colonel James F. Hall, of the Volunteer Engineers. I was assigned to duty on the commanding general's staff.

The line of march was from Mackay's Point, on Broad River, on the direct road toward Old Pocotaligo. The general direction is about

north from the Point, and the road is on the right bank of the Pocotaligo River, and begins at the confluence of the Pocotaligo and Broad Rivers, and lies from one to three-quarters of a mile from one to three-quarters of a mile from this stream. The country through which the road runs is a rolling sandy plain, except at two points, where it crosses marshes and small streams, the first of which is about 5 1/2 miles from the Point, and is on Caston's plantation; the second is about 6 1/4 miles, and the plantation is called Frampton. At both of these points serious engagements took place with the rebels. The Engineer troops were engaged from about 10 o'clock until after sunset in making and repairing several small bridge and keeping the road in order.

Lieutenant-Colonel Hall reports Sergt. N. M. Edwards, acting lieutenant, as especially worthy of notice for his efforts in repairing the bridge at Frampton under heavy fire and for his general efficiency.

The point reached by the troops was within a few yards of the road bridge over the Pocotaligo, on the road leading from Old Pocotaligo to Coosawhatchie. This bridge was destroyed by the rebels as they retreated over it into their earthworks on the easterly side. Timber for the purpose of rebuilding this bridge was prepared by the Engineers, and was ready to be put together when the retreat was ordered. This point is within about 1 1/2 miles of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. Officers in the advance report having seen the cars passing. A small lunette, that had been abandoned, was observed on the southerly side of the marsh on the high ground near Caston's.

I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,


Colonel of Vol. Engineers, and Chief Engineer Dept. of the South.


Asst. Adjt. General, U. S. Forces, Broad River, S. C.

OCTOBER 23, 1862

I cannot too highly compliment Lieutenant-Colonel Hall for his zeal and efficiency in caring for the wounded of the whole army during the night.