struck high ground and a rebel picket. Our men fired and created the greatest alarm in the rebel camp. They opened with infantry and artillery most vigorously, and, to my astonishment, they left the position by 2 a. m.
The next morning (December 9) showed that the contemplated crossing at the old ferry, which the rebels could not prevent, would have exposed their flanks, and, therefore, their sudden departure. Troops were crossed as fast as possible in boats, while the damaged bridge was being repaired. I ordered General Hazen to send two of his brigades to the railroad, which was in full work yet. One brigade marched toward King's Bridge and Way's Station, the other to Fleming Station; both with orders to destroy the road as effectually as possible. (This work of destruction was afterward completed and extended for twenty miles by General Hazen.) The remaining brigade was placed in reserve at the bridge. The expeditionary brigades returned during the night from their work at the railroad, having, with the assistance of the Twenty-ninth Missouri (mounted), driven everything from the road and taken some prisoners.
On the morning of December 8 General Smith was left in charge of the trains corralled at Jenks' Bridge (west side), and General Corse, who was on the east side of the Ogeechee River, moved his division down the stream toward Dillon's Bridge, which he found burned, however, and had to be replaced by pontoons. On the following day (9th) the general pushed on and met some rebels at the Savannah Canal and drove them back to their main line, which he assaulted and carried, taking 1 piece of rifled artillery and some 60 prisoners. General Corse's report was laid before you, and I respectfully refer to it for the particulars of this brilliant affair. General Corse followed the rebels across Little Ogeechee and to the north fork of it; but was recalled by General Howard behind the Ogeechee, where he threw up a line of defense. General Smith, with the trains of the Third and Fourth Division, moved to the canal, and, early on the morning of December 10, from there up the towpath along the canal (south side) abreast of General Corse, who advanced again beyond the Little Ogeechee on the Savannah road.
I left, on December 10, General Hazen, with orders to march by way of a foot bridge constructed at Dilton's Ferry to the support of Corse, while General Woods, with the trains of the First and Second Divisions, moved across the Ogeechee River by the pontoon bridge near Dillon's and closed on Smith's division (the trains were to be left at the canal). General Corse's advance, which I had joined, found no opposition west of the north fork; but behind that stream, which is rather a wide swamp subject to the influence of the tides, the rebel fortifications and camps were stretched out. The rebel troops gathered on and behind the parapets, and with their banners defiantly unfurled awaited the approach of our column. The open and exposed ground, swamps, and stream in front of the rebel works forbade all sudden attacks, an advance were kept accordingly under cover, while skirmishers probed all along the lines as closely and carefully as possible. I ordered Captain De Gres' 20-pounder Parrott battery to be brought forward in a position from which it could throw an oblique fire into their main works, which covered the Savannah road, without coming under fire of the rebel batteries. With wonted precision De Gress landed his shots and created great commotion in the garrison. The profiles of the works and the traverses were too heavy, however