directed Lieutenant-Colonel Fahnestock, commanding the Eighty-sixth Illinois, to wheel gradually to the left, and if possible get his right to the enemy's rear. This he did, so far as it was in his power, but his whole line was in a swamp, where vines, rank weeds, and undergrowth timber were so abundant that his progress was necessarily too slow to reach the desired position before dark, and at dark, by order of General Morgan, the entire line was halted and established as a picket-line for the night. During the night the enemy withdrew, and my skirmishers entered his works at daybreak. In this affair two men of the Eighty- sixth Illinois were wounded. December 10, marched at 7 a. m. Proceeded five miles in the direction of Savannah, when we struck the Twentieth Corps column. Went into camp for the afternoon and night on the left of the road. December 11, marched at 8 a. m. toward the city, as fa as the Five-Mile Post, and turned to the right and marched about three-quarters of a mile, when, by the direction of General Morgan, I went into position in three lines, in reserve, facing south. My camp was as comfortable as I could wish, being o high ground and in the midst of a pine grove. December 12, in the afternoon my command tore up and destroyed two miles and a half of track and ties on the Savannah and Macon Railroad. December 13, made the road destroyed yesterday suitable for a wagon road, after which the brigade did not other duties than furnish train and other guards until the 22nd of December, the day subsequent tot he fall of Savannah, when my command marched to within one mile and a half of the city and went into camp in two lines, facing north, on the left of the canal, where we now are making preparations for such other work as it may be our lot to perform.
This brigade, though small, is perhaps in as good condition for active operations as any. There are many officers and men absent, whom I would be glad to have returned to their commands. While in camp at Atlanta, during the moth of September last, there was perfected and forwarded a list of absentees, and efforts were being made to secure their return, but before much could be accomplished in this respect the brigade was put in motion and has only stopped since arriving at this place.
The strength of the command is as follows: Present, commissioned officers, 80; enlisted men, 1,634. Absent, commissioned officer, 58; enlisted men, 1,177. Total, commissioned officers, 138; enlisted men, 2,811.
After two days' marching from Atlanta I found a necessity for a party of pioneers to clear out and repair bad places in the road. To meet this end I detailed thirty enlisted men for whom I could not procure guns, and armed them with spades, picks, and axes. these I put under the command of Lieutenant Groninger, of the Eighty-sixth Illinois, an officer of the proper spirit and energy to make such a party very useful. I required these pioneers to march each day at the head of the brigade column, and build rail or pole bridges over small streams for the safe and speedy passage of troops, and now we well appreciate the utility of such a force in all campaigns. When once drilled to labor they will perform as much work in the same length as three times the number detailed temporarily from the ranks.
On the 18th of November I began to subsist off the country, and to prevent as far as possible pillaging and marauding and all manner of lawlessness, I had details of thirty men and one commissioned officer made daily from each regiment, who reported, at an hour stated, at brigade headquarters, when these details wee verified. These I put in charge of a field or acting field officer, whom I made responsible for