We arrived in Thomsonville by noon Monday, having marched from Albany, a distance between fifty-five and sixty-miles, in fifty-four hours. At Thomasville instead of finding five trains, the number I had requested to be sent, there were but two, and these could not be started until after dark, and did not arrive here until 2 o'clock Wednesday morning, occupying twice the time necessary between Thomasville and Savannah, and leave the Second, Third, and Fourth Brigades at the former place. Upon arriving here, almost broken down by fatigue and want of rest, with officers and men similar situated, I received before leaving the cars a peremptory order from yourself requiring me to take the militia of Georgia beyond the limits of the State, which was in direct violation of the statue organizing and calling them into service. Considering the jaded condition of both officers and men, I determined not to move the militia or the State Line beyond the limits of Georgia until satisfied in my own mind that absolute necessity demanded it.
In a personal interview yourself you informed me that the enemy had moved out from Broad River; were encamped within a few miles of the Savannah and Charleston Railroad, threatening Grahamville and Coosawhatchie, and unless vigorously opposed would undoubtedly break the road at one or both of these points soon after daylight; and that the only force you had in your whole command which could by any possibility be brought upon the ground in time was two regular Confederate regiments from Charleston, and you believed these would be there too late; and that if I could hold the enemy in check until 2 p. m. and prevent their cutting the road before that time, several thousand re-enforcements from North and South Carolina, intended for Savannah, would arrive.
In this interview I showed you my qualified authority from the Governor to withdraw the Georgia State forces under my command from Confederate service in case they were ordered beyond the limits of the State. After a full conference with yourself I was perfectly satisfied that for the purposes intended it was right and proper the movement should be made, and I gave orders accordingly. Notwithstanding some objections made by a portion of officers and men, the order was willingly obeyed.
The leading brigade arrived at Grahamville about 8 o'clock Wednesday morning, the 30th of November. You kindly tendered me the services of your chief artillery (Colonel Gonzales), who, upon our arrival at Grahamville, introduced me to Colonel Colcock, commander of the military district; Major Jenkins, the commander of the immediate vicinity, and Captain De Saussure, Colonel Colcock's adjutant-General. To these four gentlemen particularly, and other officers acquainted with the locality, I am indebted for the information upon which I based the directions of the whole operation for the day.
Colonel Colcock reported the enemy rapidly advancing, skirmishing with some companies of his cavalry and a few pieces of artillery. He was just starting to the front, and I requested him to select a position for my leading brigade so soon as I could dispatch it to him. I awaited the arrival of the second train of my own troops and the Forty-seventh Georgia, which was momentarily expected from Charleston.
Having given the necessary orders to these forces, I joined Colonel Colcock a few minutes after 10 o'clock some four miles from the Grahamville depot and about one-half mile beyond the position we finally assumed. Colonel C. informed me the enemy had already occupied the position selected by him as the best for defense before my troops