Oliver, John M. – January 5, 1865

Michigan Civil War Collection

Click here for this soldier’s biography:

Regiment: 15th Michigan Infantry

Battles Mentioned: 2nd Fort McAllister, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia

Historical Figures: John C. Breckinridge, John M. Oliver

[twocolumns]Hd Ar 3 Brigd 2d Division 15 AC
Savannah Ga January 5 1865

Capt G. Lofland
A. A. Genl 2d Div 15 AC
I have this honor to report
the following details of operations of this Brigade in the Campaign
so gloriously conducted by the Capture of Fort McAllister and
Surrender of Savannah.
On the 15th of November 1864 we left Whitehall at 10 oclk AM
and marched in a southerly direction passing through Rough and
Ready camped near Tuckers Cabin Henry County at 5 P.M
having marched 14 miles. On the 16th left camp at 6 oclk AM
passing through McDonough. Two miles South of town reached camp
at 5 P.M. Distance marched 16 miles. 17th marched from 3.30 P.M.
until 12.30 night The troops marched on the left side of the road
while the wagon train and artillery took the road. Camped at
Liberty Church having marched 17 miles. 18th Resumed our march
at 8 AM encamped at Indian Springs at One P.M. Disctance
marched 6 ½ miles. 19th Left camp at 3 oclk AM marched to
the Omulgee River and crossed on Pontoon Bridge halted for the

night near Hillsborough arriving in camp at 4.30 P.M. distance
marched 15 miles. 20th Marched at 10 AM passing through
Hillsborough and encamped 5 miles south of town arriving at
7 oclock P.M. Distance marched 12 miles. 21st Resumed march
at 6 oclk AM rained all day roads in a terrible condition,
passing through the town of Clinton and encamped within 9
miles of Macon. Distance marched 13 miles. Left 15th Mich
Vols at Clinton to guard roads leading to Macon until the
trains had passed, About 4 oclk P.M. they had a sharp
skirmish with Breckenbridges’s Brigade of Cavalry and repulsed
them with the loss of two men wounded. On the 22d Broke
camp at 8 A.M. marched in a south easterly course crossing
the Macon and Augusta Rail Road which had been destroyed
by our troops. Encamped on the Gordon Road. The enemy attached
the 1st Division and were repulsed, 15th Mich vols reported at
5 P.M. from Clinton, marched this day 10 miles. 23rd Marched
at 9 ocl’k AM in the direction of Gordon by a circutous route
reaching camp at 12 M. took position and fortified, marched
5 miles. 24th Left camp at 9 Oclk A.M. arriving at Irwinton
at 3 P.M. marched 5 miles. 25 Resumed our march to the
Ocouee River passing through the town of Irwinton. Arriving at

the river at 4 P.M. The enemy being posted on the opposite
bank prevented our crossing. Artillery was placed in position
and opened on their works. The 90 Ills vols and 99 Ind Vols were
detailed to picket the river. The 14th A.C. joined us at this point
The 4th Division and Pontoon train also arrived. Distance marched
12 miles. 26th The enemy evacuated the opposite bank of the
Ocouee at 12 oclk (night) At 6 P.M. crossed the river marched
two miles and encamped. 27th marched on a north easterly
course and encamped at Irwins Cross Roads at 12 M. Distance
marched 8 miles. 28th Resumed march & encamped, distance
15 miles. 29th marched 18 miles roads in a terrible condition
on account of rain. 30th marched 15 miles had to Corduroy
and bridge the roads continually. On the 1st of December left
camp at 7 A.M. passing through Canonchee river Post office
and encamped at the junction of the Imes Ferry and old Savannah
roads arriving at 5 P.M. marched 14 miles. 2d at 8 A.M. marched
on the Savannah road crosing Skull’s Creek and encamped
in Bulloch County. Distance marched 10 miles, 3rd marched
and encamped on Lotts Creek. Distance marched 5 miles
4th At 8 A.M. resumed march in a Southerly course. At 3 P.M.
Some mounted foragers of the Division were attacked by some

six hundred Cavalry near Statesboro and driven back until the
enemy encountered the 70th Ohio Vols., who, were in advance as
guard for Puniers Corduroying roads. The 70th Ohio gave them
a volley after which the Rebels hastily retreated, leaving six
(6) killed & One (1) wounded in our hands. Our loss was slight.
In encamped at Statesboro. Distance marched 14 miles.
5th at 9 P.M. Distance marched 13 miles. 6th was ordered to
march to Jenks Bridge and secure the crossing. Left camp
between 6 and 7 oclk A.M. leaving all my trains but four
Ambulances, two wagon load of Amunition and the tool
wagon, upon arriving at the river found the bridge destroyed
The 15th Mich and 70th Ohio Vols. took position on the river bank
The 48th and 90th Ills and 99th Ind Vols. were put in position faced
to the rear with a section of Artillery from the 3 Division on
a hill back of the river half a mile at 12 M. stacked arms
and went into camp. Distance marched 15 miles. The vigor
of the troops and their earnest effort to reach the river, secure
the bridge, and to strike the enemys Cavalry enabled us
to make this march with astonishing quickness. When we
arrived a the Camp of the 3rd Division which was one and a half

mile neared to Jenks bridge than our camp. We waited
one & one half hours at least for the Artillery which had
not been notified that they were to accompany the
expedition. this delay in the outset and some skirmishing
on the way left the actual marching time less than 4 hours.
7th We were ordered to the Canonchee River to save and hold
the bridge across that river if possible. We met the enemys pickets
on Black Creek. skirmishing commenced and contained for
twelve hours until our mounted force arrived at the bridge which
they found in flames. The officers and men of the command
seemed determined to day to strike the enemys Cavalry
who had some 23 prisoners whom they fed on Sorgum
stalks. At Black Creek the obstructions in the Ford were
removed so that our Ambulances and Amunition wagons
crossed the ford before the troops could get across on the
stringers of the still burning bridges. The enemy were
pushed so hard that they could not destroy the bridge
across Mill Creek at all. At one place near Bryan Co
Court house the men waded in four ranks through at
swamp 300 yds across upto their waists in the water.
We captured two prisoners and five horses. The mounted

force with one Regiment of Infantry remained at the
river, and the rest of the Brigade encamped at Eden
(Bryan Co Court House) Distance marched twenty miles.
Lt. Col. Berkey 99th Ind. Vols in command of the mounted
force (sixty men) conducted the operations of the advance
with great skill and perseverance. 8th At day light enemy
opened with Artillery and shelled the woods freely hurting
no one. Skirmished with them all day. Sent a detachment
of the mounted men to effect a crossing up the river which
they were unable to do. The skirmishing across the Conanochee
river was kept up so fiercely that the enemy in the two nights
and a day could not destroy the bridges across the two Lagoons
which were 600ft or more across. If they had been destroyed we
could not have reached the Gulf Rail Road or saved any
position of Kings Bridge without making a march of 30 miles
The behavior of the officers and men during this expeditions was
highly praise worthy. We have no skulkers. The balance of the Division
and Pontoon train joined us here and commenced to put in Artillery
the night. 9th The enemy left during the night but before leaving
opened a brisk fire of Artillery and musketry. At daylight was
ordered to secure and hold Kings bridge across the Oguchee

I at once commenced to cross my Brigade over the Canonchee
by ferrying them in Pontoon boats and swinging the horses. It took
us nearly two hours to cross pushed rapidly forward for 8 miles
to Kings bridge but were unable to save but part of it. We then
returned to Ways Station to camp leaving two companies of the
48th Ills Vols to guard the crossing and prevent further destruction
of the bridge. We received orders at 3 oclk PM to destroy all trusses on the
Rail Road and also the Rail Road bridge across the Oguchee.
We destroyed 14 trusses varying from 30 to 150 yds
long and the Gulf Rail Road bridge across the Oguchee a
magnificent bridge 500 yds long. Took 18 prisoners, finished our work at
9 30 P.M. 10th Left Ways Station at 5 A.M. returned
to the Canonchee river, acrossed and marched to the Oguchee
River and crossed at Dillons Ferry and encamped within
10 miles of Savannah Distance marched 18 miles. 11th and
12th rested in Camp. 13th Left camp and marched crossing Oguchee
on Kings Bridge to within about one mile of Fort McAllister and
formed. The 3 Brigade formed the Center of Division line 90th
Ills on the right 48th Ills center and 70th Ohio on the left. The 15th
Mich and 99th Ind were in reserve, advanced half a mile
and halted until 5 oclk P.M. to enable other troops to get in

position when the order was given to advance and take the
Fort. The distance from our line to the Fort was about 700 yds
through open fields. The taking of this Fort was so cheerfully &
gallantly done by the troops of this Brigade that there is
hardly any way to do them full justice. The conduct of
Capt Grimes 48th Ills Vols commanding skirmish line in silencing
two of the 10 inch guns bearing on our front by his sharpshooters. And
in his hand to hand fight with Capt Church ought to be notice
in General orders. Capt Smith of the same Regiment who rejoined
us on the 27th November 1864 after escaping from Columbia
S.C. was the first man into the Fort and was killed in it.
He was a gallant officer. The flag of the 70th Ohio was the first
on the Fort though the gallant veterans of the 48th and 90th Ills
were there with them almost at the same time, both Colored
bearers of the 48th Ills were killed with torpedoes. The Colored bearer
of the 70th Ohio was also killed just as he handed the flag
to a comrade when climbing over the Abates. The men in
this command under fire cannot be surpassed. The only order
I gave them was. That when the forward was sounded to
march steadily until they reached our skirmishers and then
go in. The action lasted 12 minutes our loss was 76 officers

and men killed and wounded. The results of this action were most
important, our communications were at once fully established. Captures
in the Fort by Division were 24 guns about 200 prisoners, Medical
stores. Quarter Masters stores. A large quantity of ordnance stores
Amunition and small arms. Its Garrison Flag was taken by
Capt Nelson of my staff and sent to your Head Quarters. On the
14th. The 70th Ohio on account of the conspicious part taken by them
in the Capture of the Fort yesterday were ordered to garrison it
On the morning of the 17th of December Left camp with 3 Regiments
99th Ind, 48th Ills and 15th Mich Vols for the Gulf Rail Road
returned on the 21st having marched 40 miles and destroyed
7 miles of the road burning every tie and twisting every rail.
On the morning of the 21st our troops entered Savannah. The
3 Brigade of this Division consists of the 15th Mich Vols Lt Col
Hutchinson. Comdg. 90th Ills Vols Lt Col Stuart Comdg. 70th
Ohio Vols Lt Col Phillips Comdg. 99th Ind Vols Lt Col Berkey.
Comdg. and 48th Ills Vols Major Adams. I know of no troops
in our Army that surpasses them in heroism and self devotion
but few very few equal them.
To my staff I have been greatly indebted for success
Capt Lapoint A.A.A. Genl. Capt Nelson A.A. I. Genl. Lt Brown

A.A.D.C. I thank them all sincerely for the manner in which
they have discharged their duties.
To yourself and other officers
of the Division Staff I offer my hearty thanks for the
Courtesy and for the many acts which have shown how
well and thoroughly you have striven for the success of
all in this campaign.

Respectfully Your
Obt Servt

Col Comdg
I have the honor to submit the following report of Casualities
in this Brigade

Command Killed Wounded Missing Aggte
C E [ ? ] C E [ ? ] C E [ ? ]
15th Mich Vols 3 3 1 1 4
70th Ohio Vols 6 6 37 37 16 16 59
48th Ills Vols 1 6 7 1 17 18 1 1 26
90th Ills Vols 3 3 14 14 17
99th Ind Vols 1 1 3 3 4
1 15 16 1 72 73 21 21 110

Respectfully Your
Obt Servt[/twocolumns]