War of the Rebellion: Serial 092 Page 0441 Chapter LVI. DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST SAVANNAH R. R., S. C.

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Deveaux's Neck, S. C., December 15, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In obedience to a verbal order given me last evening by General Hatch, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the "skirmish brigade" on Friday, the 9th instant: The command consisted of the marine battalion, the One hundred and fifty-seventh New York Volunteers, and the One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers, and was under Colonel Siliman, of the Twenty-sixth U. S. Colored Troops, who was temporarily detached from his regiment for this purpose. We formed in front of the rifle-pits in the open filed, at 9. 10 a. m., in one rank-the marines having the right, the One hundred and fifty-seventh New York Volunteers the center, and the One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers the left. The men were deployed at a distance of two paces from each other, and one company of the One hundred and twenty-seventh was formed as flanks on the left. The line covered a front of near three quarters of a mile, reaching from a point 100 yards to the left of the dirt road that runs into the Coosawhatchie turnpike. We advanced under cover of a hear artillery fire, moving almost due north. The line was maintained with great regularity, and struck the rebel pickets about 350 yards from the railroad. These, after a few shots, fell rapidly back upon their reserves. These reserves, opposite our center and right, retired upon their main line, which immediately opened a heavy fire, both with musketry, grape, and canister. The rebel pickets upon our left appeared to rally upon their reserves, which were near their line, and these being sheltered by a heavy growth of young pines, maintained for some time a sharp and well-directed fire, which enfilades our left. Colonel Stillman was shot in the left soon after fire opened; his wound was very serious and he was forced to leave the field. Lieutenant Hill, of the Fifty Massachusetts, who was serving upon his staff, was killed. The command of the skirmish line thus devolved upon the undersigned as senior officer present. The skirmish line pushed steadily forward, pressing the place occupied by the rebel pickets, and took up position within about 200 yards of the railroad. The marines upon the right, under command of First Lieutenant Stoddard, U. S. Marine Corps, approached quite close to the rebel battery and make a gallant attempt and charge it. They were exposed to a very severe fire; became entangled in a dense thicket between the forks of a creek upon the right, and were compelled to fall back. They retired upon the reserves, where they reformed and again moved to the front. Before they could be again deployed upon the skirmish line, they were detached from my command, by order of General Potter, and placed upon the left among the reserves. Their loss was 1 killed, 7 wounded, and 3 missing. Lieutenant Commander A. F. Crosman, who accompanied Lieutenant Stoddard as adjutant of the Naval Brigade, and Lieutenant Stoddard alike behaved with great courage. The detachments of the One hundred and fifty-seventh New York Volunteers, under command of Captain Van Slyke, formed our extreme right after the marines had retired. They moved steadily in position until ordered back later in the day. They were cool, brave, and under remarkably good discipline. Captain Van Slyke and Lieutenant Baldwin, the regimental adjutant, deserve honorable mention for good conduct. This regiment lost 11 wounded. The One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers lay in its position to the left of the One hundred and fifty-seventh at about the same distance from the railroad. The left of this regiment, consisting of Companies G, K, and B, were exposed to the hot confilanding fire before mentioned, and