Numbers 1. Reports of Major General John G. Foster, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the South, including operations November 28-December 7.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Tullifinny River, December 7, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I left Hilton Head on the night of November 28 for Boyd's Neck, on the south side of Broad River, with all the disposable troops in this department, amounting to 5,000 infantry, cavalry, and artillery, with 500 sailors and marines. Owing to a thick for and the incapacity of our pilots many of the boats lost their way and others grounded, so that the troops did not get ashore until late in the afternoon of the 29th. I then placed Brigadier-General Hutch in command of the force with orders to push forward and cut the railroad. He marched at once, but the maps and guides proved totally worthless, and after being twice misguided the troops reached the right road by morning. Thence, after daylight, they advanced toward Grahamville through a densely wooded country, driving back the enemy's artillery and infantry to a rise of ground called Honey Hill, a short distance this side of Grahamville, where they met a battery across the road, with seven guns. The enemy's infantry, rather over 4,000 and nearly equal to our own in number, was posted behind entrenchments in the woods on each side of the road. This position was immediately attacked with vigor and determination, but from the unfavorable nature of the ground, which admitted the employment of only one section of our artillery, we were unable to drive off the enemy, who did not, however, venture to advance beyond his entrenchments. After an obstinate fight of several hours, General Hatch, finding that the enemy's line could be neither successfully assaulted nor outflanked, retired after dark to a strong position about two miles and a half from Boyd's Neck. The rebels made no attempt to follow. Our loss was 88 killed, 623 wounded (149 of whom so slightly as not to be sent to the hospital), and 43 missing.
From November 30 to December 5, while keeping the greater part of the force at Boyd's Neck, I made at different points, with the assistance of the navy, several demonstrations- in one of which the Twenty-fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry marched six miles into the interior toward Pocataligo and captured two pieces of artillery at Church Bridge, near Gardner's Corners, one of which the men dragged off by hand. On the night of December 5 I embarked a force under command of Brigadier-General Potter. From Boyd's Neck proceeded, at daylight, to Tullifinny Creek, and landed the men at James Gregory's plantation, on the right bank, in pontoons and launches. General Potter pushed immediately forward, and about one miles a half out met the enemy, whom he forced rapidly back to the spot where the road up the peninsula between the Coosawhatchie and Tullifinny meets the road running across from one river to the other. Here the rebels, being re-enforced from the south side of the Coosawhatchie, made a stand and attacked our left vigorously, but our men repulsed them handsomely, capturing a battle-flag and some prisoners, and got possession of the crossing, which we now firmly hold. A detachment sent to the right destroyed the road bridge over the Tullifinny. Our loss in the whole affair was about 5 killed and 50 wounded. The railroad is less than three-quarters of a mile from our front, separated by a dense wood,