Today in History:

85 Series I Volume XLIV- Serial 92 - Savannah


divided into two columns-Hazen and Smith were to march from Summerville, via Statesborough, to Numbers 2; the left column (Woods and Corse) on the inter route. I took care to regulate the marches daily, so as to have the columns always in supporting distance, and used a portion of the Twenty-ninth Missouri (mounted) to keep up communication and explore the intermediate ground between the columns. The two columns crossed Scull's Creek on December 2, and were ordered to lie over on December 3, to give the columns to our left time to come up with us. The troops of these columns were partly employed in breading the railroad, and in order to assist this work, detachments of General Woods' troops had crossed the Ogeechee, at Green's Bridge, on December 1 (which we had to repair), and burnt the railroad in the vicinity of Station Numbers 8.

Next day (December 2) a pontoon was ordered to be laid opposite Station Numbers 7, and large portions of the divisions of General Corse and Woods put to work destroying the railroad there, which they did most effectually for many miles. On the 4th and 5th of December the two columns continued their routes, bringing the left column opposite Guyton (Station Numbers 3), while the right column camped about four miles off on the headwaters of Black Creek, December 5. General Hazen, who led the right column, fell in on both days with a force of General Wheeler's cavalry; after a lively skirmish at Statesborough, the rebels dispersed and did not make their appearance any more. The next day the corps had to lie over again; but very early in the morning I pushed the Twenty-ninth Missouri forward to secure the crossing of the Ogeechee River, near Station Numbers 2 (at Wright's and Jenks' Bridges). We found the bridges burnt. I ordered at once a foot bridge to be constructed on the remains of Wright's Bridge, and directed General Woods to send one brigade to the bridge and hold it. The commanding officer of the brigade (Colonel Williamson) threw a regiment across the Ogeechee, and constructed on the east side breast-works, and then pushed a detachment of fifty men, under Captain McSweeney (Ninth Iowa), to the railroad with orders to break it, and thus prevent the enemy from re-enforcing his troops, who opposed the advance of the columns on the east side of the river. Captain McSweeney moved directly for the railroad about two miles off and broke it in plain view of a train coming down loaded with troops. He then fell back pursued by the rebels, but he kept them in check. When in the evening the enemy attempted to drive Colonel Williamson's men from the breast-works thrown up in the afternoon, he was repulsed with some loss. Our appearance on the flank of the rebels drew their attention to the lower crossing, and they sent a detachment of infantry to Jenks' Bridge, three miles below Wright's.

The next morning (December 7) the divisions of Generals Woods. Smith, and Corse were concentrated near Jenks' Bridge. General Hazen was ordered to send, by way of a diversion, the brigade of Colonel Oliver, which had been pushed on the day previous toward Jenks' Bridge, to the Cannouchee and take possession of the bridge near Bryan Court-House; with the rest of his command General Hazen was to follow Colonel Oliver's brigade as far as Black Creek. When Colonel Oliver withdrew in the morning from Jenks' Bridge he left the Ninetieth Illinois (Colonel Stuart) there to watch the rebels on the east side of the river. General Corse on his arrival at Jenks' Bridge found Colonel Stuart behind a line of rifle-pits, livelily disputing the crossing. To re-enforce Colonel Stuart one section of Arndt's battery was brought into position and opened. They succeeded in keeping the rebels under