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Series 1 Volume XLIV; Part 1, Operations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. November 14-December 31, 1864

 

Official Report Number 21




 
 
NO. 21.
Report of Brig. Gen. William D. Hazen, U.S. Army, commanding Second Division
 
 
Hdqrs. Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps,
Savannah, Ga. January 9, 1865

On the 15th of November, every preparation being completed, this division, with the army, broke camp at Atlanta and set out upon its march through Georgia. It then numbered an effective strength of 4,426 officers and men, and was composed of seventeen regimental organizations, the three brigade commanders being Col. John M. Oliver, Fifteenth Michigan; Wells S. Jones, Fifty-third Ohio, and Theodore Jones, Thirtieth Ohio. The troops moved rapidly, passing through McDonough the 16th, Indian Springs the 18th, crossing the Ocmulgee the 19th at Roach's Mills, reaching Hillsborough the 20th, and Clinton the 21st, where Col. Theodore Jones brigade was left to cover the Macon roads till the next division arrived. Some skirmishing took place here, with a few casualties. On the 22d the Macon and Augusta Railroad was crossed and the march continued, passing Irwinton the 24th and the Oconee River, at Bells Ferry, the 25th. The enemy was found on the opposite bank, and two regiments deployed to develop them. On the morning of the 26th they had left and preparations were at once made to cross, which was commenced by 11 a. m.. The march was resumed without loss of time Passing Irwin's Cross-Roads the 27th, we moved toward Sunmmerville, through continuous pine forests, crossing several low marshy branches of the Ohoopee, reaching Summerville the 30th. The number of miles marched this month, 273; number of casualties, 11.


On December 1 the march was resumed in the direction of Statesborough, along the right bank of the Ogeechee River. The remainder of the march was impeded by low, broad marshes, which it was invariably found necessary to corduroy. From Summerville to the Cannouchee River, which was reached the 7th, the Third Division, General John E. Smith, with my own, formed a separate column under my command, and was somewhat exposed to annoyances from the enemy endeavoring to reach Savannah from the west before us. On the 3d the Fifty-third Ohio lost by capture a foraging party of 1 officer and 11 men. On the 4th, near Statesborough, the foragers met a brigade of the enemy cavalry endeavoring to join Wheeler; were attacked by them and driven to the main column, losing by capture 27 and by wounds 8. The enemy lost 2 killed and 2 captured. The enemy defended the crossing of the Cannouchee with infantry and two pieces artillery, having burned the bridge. During the night of time 8th the enemy retired; and the bridge being repaired, at 11 a. m. the 9th the brigades were crossed -- one pushed to Kings Bridge, the other to a point on the Gulf railroad, about six miles from Kings Bridge, which was reached and much of the road destroyed toward the river by night, including the bridge. On the 10th the division recrossed the Cannonchee, moving to and crossing the Ogeechee at Dillon's Ferry, and proceeding to near the Anderson plantation, nine miles from Savannah. On the 12th the division moved back to Kings Bridge, it having received orders to cross the Ogeechee there and move down its right bank to Fort McAllister and capture it. At daybreak the 13th the troops were put in motion, reaching the vicinity of McAllister at about 11 a.m. About one mile from the fort a picket was captured, revealing the whereabouts of a line of torpedoes across the road. Some time was lost in safely removing them, when leaving eight regiments at that point, nine were carried forward to about 600 yards from the fort and deployed, with a line of skirmishers thrown sufficiently near the fort to keep the gunners from working their guns with any effect - those firing to the rear being in barbette. The grounds to the right of the fort being marshy, cut through by deep streams, rendered the deployment of that part of the line slow and difficult, and was not completely effected till 4.45 p. m., at which time, every officer and man of the nine regiments being instructed what to do, the bugle sounded the forward, and at precisely 5 o'clock the fort was carried. The troops were deployed in one line as thin as possible. The result being that no man in the assault was struck till they came to close quarters. Here the fighting became desperate and deadly. Just outside the works a line of torpedoes had been place, many of which were exploded by the tread of the troops, blowing many men to atoms, but the line moved on without checking, over, under, and through abates, ditches, palisading, and fighting the garrison through the fort to their bomb-proofs, from which they still fought, and only succumbed as each man was individually over- powered.

Our losses were 24 officers and men killed, and 110 officers and men wounded.


Capt. John H. Groce, Thirtieth Ohio, an officer of many rare and valuable qualities, and who led the first assault on Vicksburg, was killed, and Col. Wells S. Jones, Fifty-third Ohio, commanding brigade, severely wounded.


The regiments most conspicuous in their gallantry were the Seventieth, Forty-seventh, and Thirtieth Ohio; all the rest performed their duty equally well.


After the proper commander of the second Brigade fell, Col. James S. Martin, One hundred and eleventh Illinois, assumed command of it, led it in the assault, rendering distinguished service. Col. A. C. Parry, Forty-seventh Ohio, and Lieutenant-Colonel Philips, Seventieth Ohio, were also conspicuous in their performance of duty.


Maj. Thomas T. Taylor, Forty-seventh Ohio, acting judge-advocate of this division, preferring to serve with his regiment on the campaign, was severely wounded while fighting in the fort.


The captures were as follows: The garrison, including killed, 250 men and officers, 24 pieces of ordnance, with their equipment, 40 tons ammunition, a mouths supply of food for the garrison, the small-arms of the command, all the animals and equipments of a light battery, the horses of the officers, and a large amount of private stores placed in the fort for safety.


To my entire staff especial praise is due for their faithful and efficient conduct during the campaign.


After the frill of McAllister the division was directed to destroy the Gulf railroad for a distance of twenty miles west of the Ogeechee, which it proceeded to do in the most thorough manner, completing the work December 21.


I would respectfully call attention to accompanying reports of brigade commanders; also, to drawings of Fort McAllister,** and a map of the country passed over.


The supply train of this division on leaving Atlanta consisted of eighty-three six-mule wagons. I transferred to other commands after reaching the vicinity of this place 22,000 rations.


I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant
 
W. B. HAZEN,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers
ASST. Adjt. GEN., FIFTEENTH ARMY Corps

Addenda


Special Hdqrs. Mil. Div. of the Miss.,
Field Order In the Field, near Savannah, Ga.
No. 131December 13, 1864

The general-in-chief announces with pleasure that to-day at 4.30 p.m. the Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, assaulted Fort McAlister and carried the place, capturing its entire garrison and armament, giving him full communication with the fleet and the army of Major-General Foster.


By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON,
Aide-de-Camp



Drawings of Fort McAllister
Source: OR Series 1 - Volume 44; page 112
Chapter: LVI - Operations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. November 14-December 31, 1864.

 

 
Title: The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.
Series 1Volume XLIV; Part 1, Brig. Gen. William D. Hazen, U.S. Army, commanding Second Division; Page 109-112
Chapter:LVI - Operations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. November 14-December 31, 1864
Author: United States. War Dept., John Sheldon Moody, Calvin Duvall Cowles, Frederick Caryton Ainsworth, Robert N. Scott, Henry Martyn Lazelle, George Breckenridge Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph William Kirkley
Published: Washington: Government Printing Office
Date: 1893