Oliver, John M. – January 5, 1865

Michigan Civil War Collection

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Regiment: 15th Michigan Infantry Battles Mentioned: 2nd Fort McAllister, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia Historical Figures: John C. Breckinridge, John M. Oliver Hd Ar 3 Brigd 2d Division 15 AC Savannah Ga January 5 1865 Capt G. Lofland A. A. Genl 2d Div 15 AC Sir 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