War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 0186 COASTS OF S.C., GA., AND MID. AND EAST FLA. Chapter XXVI.

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company of Major Abney's battalion, which had been taken upon within a short distance of Coosawhatchie as they were marching along the railroad track toward that point, passed by. The enemy hearing their approach for some distance (the two roads here running parallel and very close to each other) availed themselves of the opportunity to ambuscade and fire into the train.

The particulars of this disastrous affair I will not refer to, as I suppose a full report of all the circumstances will be made by the officer in command of that detachment, who succeeded the late unfortunate Major [J. J.] Harrison.

It seems that on arriving near Coosawhatchie the enemy divided into two detachments one of which ambuscaded the train, as above referred to and the other advanced to the river, for the purpose of destroying the railroad and turnpike bridges. With timely forethought you had fortunately dispatched at an early hour that morning for their protection the Lafayette Artillery, Lieutenant Le Bleux commanding and a section of Captain Elliott's battery, Lieutenant Stuart commanding. These, supported by Captain Wyman's company of infantry, most gallantly repulsed the enemy in their attack on the bridges and drove them in confusion toward their other detachment, which, beyond the range of our artillery had succeeded in cutting the telegraph wire and displacing a couple of rails on the track.

About this time the cavalry, which had to make a considerable detour over very unfavorable ground, made its appearance and the enemy beat a hasty retreat the cavalry pursuing. Unfortunately the enemy had taken the precaution in advancing of destroying all the bridges, which so retarded the progress of the cavalry as to prevent their cutting off their retreat to their gunboat and barges. Disappointed in this object Colonel Johnson dismounted his men and deploying them as skirmishers advanced to within about 130 yards of the gunboats, where, under the protection of a few trees, they poured three volleys from their rifles into the crowded decks and barges of the enemy, which must have done considerable execution. The companies composing this detachment consisted of Captain J. H. Howard's [company, D] A. B. Estes [company, E.], (under the immediate command of Lieutenant [W. B.] Peeples), and Captain George C. Heyward's [company, G.] Recovering from their surprise the enemy opened a terrific fire of grape, shell, and musketry in which they were assisted by two of their gunboats stationed half a mile lower down the river, under whose enfilanding fire our small force had to fall back.

In this affair I regret to inform you we lost Private Thomas B. Fripp, of Captain Heyward's company, who fell mortally wounded, shot in three places; as gallant a soldier and true-hearted gentleman as ever fell a martyr in defending the cause of liberty. First Lieutenant T. G. Buckner, of Captain Howard's company, was also severely, but I hope not mortally wounded in the abdomen, and Corpl. Thomas Farr, of the same company received a flesh wound in the thigh, from which I am happy to say he is rapidly recovering. That the casualties were not greater I can only attribute to the interposition of a merciful Providence who protects those fighting in a righteous cause. For the casualties occurring in Major Abney's command I refer you to that officer's report, which you will find herewith inclosed.*

The enemy's boats retired immediately after the skirmish leaving in their hasty retreat one of their splendid barges, capable of transporting


*Not found.