On the 6th my brigade, with a battery of artillery, was detailed as a rear guard for the corps. It marched at 9. 30 a. m., unencumbered with wagons. The line of march pursued the Springfield road through a moderately fertile country. My foraging parties, which were now kept out daily, were enabled to obtain a considerable quantity of sweet potatoes and fresh meat. Ample supplies of forage were also obtained along the road. My co this day about twelve miles, and encamped at a point about six miles from the Ogeechee River, six from the Savannah, and sixteen from Springfield. On the 7th our march was resumed at 8 a. m. My brigade had charge of about 300 wagons, consisting of the division and the cavalry trains. The road soon entered the Cowpens Branch Swamp, a low, flat, boggy surface, about three miles in width. The wagons easily cut through the surface and many of them became completely mired. In the meantime a drizzling rain set in, which had no tendency to improve the roads. In many instances the animals had to be entirely removed from the wagons and the vehicles drawn out of the slough by the troops. By 1. 30 p. m. the trains were all gotten safely through the swamp and the column moved slowly on. At 8 p. m. it reached Turkey Creek and Swamp, and at 10 p. m. encamped one mile above Springfield. The distance marched on this day was fifteen miles. At 8 a. m. on the morning of the 8th my brigade crossed Jack's Creek and arrived at Springfield. My command was now unencumbered and marched in advance of the division, following the Second Division. Our course followed the Monteith road about nine miles, then turned to the right and pursued a southwesterly direction for a distance of six miles, which brought us to our encampment, having marched in the aggregate fifteen miles.
The march was resumed at 8. 30 a. m. on the 9th. My brigade followed the Second, the First being in the advance. At 10 a. m. the column struck the main road leading to Savannah. Cannonading and musketry were now occasionally heard in the advance. It began to be evident that a considerable force of the enemy had gathered in our front and meant to oppose our onward march to Savannah. At 3 p. m. my brigade reached Monteith swamp, where the First and Second Brigades had already encountered a considerable force of the enemy. The rebel forces were so disposed as to completely command the only practicable passage of the swamp,e main road. Their artillery, which they were so disposed those freely, was so posted as to completely sweep the road, and was covered by earth-works. The advance of the First Brigade against the enemy's front, together with that of the Second Brigade against his left flank, having failed to dislodge him, I was instructed by the general commanding division to send two regiments around the left, with directions to push through the swamp if possible and turn the enemy's right. I immediately dispatched the Thirty-first Wisconsin and Sixty-first Ohio Veteran Volunteers, the whole commanded by Colonel West, of the Thirty-first Wisconsin Volunteers, to whom I gave the instructions above repeated. Making a detour of about one mile to the left Colonel West formed his command in line of battle and plunged into the almost impenetrable swamp. It was found impossible to get a horse over the miry surface, and officers and men were alike compelled to go on foot. The swamp, which was about 400 yards in width, was finally passed and the troops emerged into an open field skirted on the farther side by timber, in which the enemy lay concealed. The point at which he was struck was far in the rear of his main position, which was completely turned, yet he was not wholly
17 R R-VOL XLIV