War of the Rebellion: Serial 092 Page 0121 Chapter LVI. THE SAVANNAH CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

pickets on Black Creek. Skirmishing commenced and continued for twelve miles, until our mounted force arrived at the bridge, which they found in flames. The officers and men of the command seemed determined to-day to strike the enemy's cavalry, who had some twenty-three prisoners whom they fed on sorghum stalks. At Black Creek the obstructions in the ford were removed, so that our ambulances and ammunition wagons crossed the ford before the troops could get across on the stringers of the still burning bridge. The enemy were pushed so hard that they could not destroy the bridge across Mill Creek at all. At one place, near Bryan County Court-House, the men waded in four ranks through a swamp 300 yards across up to their waists in water. We captured two prisoners and five horses. The mounted force, with one regiment of infantry, remained at the river, and the rest of the brigade encamped at Eden (Bryan County Court-House). Distance marched, twenty miles. Lieutenant-Colonel Berkey, Ninety-ninth Indiana Volunteers, who was in command of the mounted force of the brigade (sixty men), conducted the operations of the advance with great skill and perseverance. 8th, at daylight enemy opened with artillery and shelled the woods fiercely, hurting no one; skirmished with them all day. Sent a detachment of the mounted men to effect a crossing up the river, which they were unable to do. The skirmishing across the river was kept up so fiercely that the enemy in two nights and a day could not destroy the bridges across the two lagoons, which were 600 feet or more across. If they had been destroyed we could not have reached the Gulf railroad or saved any portion of King's Bridge without making a march of thirty miles. The behavior of the officers and men during this expedition was highly praiseworthy. We have no skulkers. The balance of the division and pontoon train joined us here and commenced to up in artillery during the night. 9th, the enemy left during the night, but before leaving opened a brisk fire of artillery and musketry. At daylight was ordered to secure and hold King's Bridge, across the Ogeechee. I at once commenced to cross my brigade over the Cannouchee, by ferrying them in pontoon-boats and swimming the horses. It took us nearly two hours to cross. Pushed rapidly forward for eight miles to King's Bridge, but were unable to save but part of it. We then returned to Way's Station to camp, leaving two companies of Forty-eight Illinois Volunteers to guard the crossing and prevent further destruction of the bridge. We received orders to destroy all trestles on the railroad; also the railroad bridge across the Ogeechee. We destroyed fourteen trestles, varying from 30 to 150 yards long, and the Gulf railroad bridge, across the Ogeechee, a magnificent bridge 500 yards long; took 18 prisoners; finished our work at 9. 30 p. M. 10th, left Way's Station at 5 a. M. ; returned to the Cannouchee River, recrossed, and marched to the Ogeechee River and crossed at Dillon's Ferry, and encamped within ten miles of Savannah; distance marched, eighteen miles. 11th and 12th, rested in camp 13th, left camp, and marched, crossing the Ogeechee on King's Bridge, to within about one mile of Fort McAllister and formed. The Third Brigade formed the center of division line, the Ninetieth Illinois on the right, Forty-eight Illinois in the center, and Seventieth Ohio on the left. The Fifteenth Michigan and Ninety-ninth Indiana were in reserve. Advanced half a mile and halted until 5 p. M. to enable other troops to get in position, when the order was given to advance and take the fort. The distance from our line to the fort was about 700 yards through open fields. The taking of this fort was so cheerfully and gallantly done by the troops of this brigade that