The Battle of Honey Hill, S.C.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel William Ames
Third Rhode Island Artillery
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records
of the Union and Confederate Armies,
128 Vols.,
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1882)

Copy provided by Marjorie Kwiatkowski; HTML text prepared by Gary W. Myers

Cross-Roads, December 5, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of General Orders, No. 1, from headquarters Coast Division, I assumed command of this Artillery Brigade upon its arrival at Boyd's Landing, November 29. This brigade consisted of one section of Capt. W. H. Hamner's company (A, Third Rhode Island Artillery--3-inch Parrotts), four light 12-pounder guns of Capt. T. J. Mesereau's battery (B, Third New York Artillery), and four 12-pounder light guns of F Company, Third New York Artillery, commanded by First Lieut. E. H. Titus. The section of Parrotts did not arrive until the afternoon of November 30.

November 30, at daylight I proceeded with the New York batteries, in rear of Second Brigade, to the church at forks of road, Joining the main force at this point. One section of Mesereau's battery (B, Third New York Artillery), under First Lieut. E. A. Wildt, was placed in rear of the advance regiment of First Brigade, the remaining three sections followed in rear of the brigade. At 9 a.m. the First Brigade moved up the Honey Hill road. After advancing about one mile and a half fire was opened upon our advancing troops from a section of the enemy's guns in position at a point where the road turns to the right. The section of Battery B, Third New York Artillery, under Lieutenant Wildt, was put in position in the road, 600 yards from the enemy's guns, and, after firing seventy-five rounds, caused them to retreat. The approach to this point was by a narrow road bordered by dense woods, and the battery was brought into position under a sharp fire from the enemy's guns. The troops advanced from this point about three-quarters of a mile, when the enemy's guns were again encountered at a turn in the road. The section of artillery under Lieutenant Wildt was brought into battery in the road at a distance of 800 yards from the enemy; after firing twenty rounds the rebel artillery retreated. Whilst coming into battery at this point Lieutenant Wildt was mortally wounded, also one private of his command. The troops advanced from this point half a mile, when the Honey Hill battery was engaged. This battery is situated at the left and 600 yards from the road up which the advance was made, on slightly elevated ground. Four pieces of Mesereau's battery were placed in position to command the enemy's work and rifle-pits on its flanks. One section only could be placed in position within sight of the enemy's work, the left section being masked by the woods, which at this point were very dense and the road so narrow that great difficulty was experienced in bringing the two sections into battery. Fire was kept up upon the enemy from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. At this time two ammunition-chests of the right section were exploded by the enemy's shells. First Lieut. George C. Breck, of Company B, Third New York Artillery, was much scorched in the face and hands by this explosion, also three privates of his section, which, being disabled, was relieved by one section of Lieutenant Titus' battery (F, Third New York Artillery), under Second Lieut. E. C. Clark. Lieut. George H. Crocker, in command of the left section of Mesereau's battery (B, Third New York Artillery), was shot in the right eye at this time (3 p.m.); also 8 horses and 7 cannoneers of Mesereau's battery. The disabled section of Battery B, Third New York Artillery, was drawn to the rear by a detachment of the One hundred and second U.S. Colored Troops. The pieces were afterward attached to the empty caissons going to the rear and drawn off. At 4 p.m., the ammunition in both batteries having been nearly expended, the guns of the New York batteries were relieved by four howitzers from the Naval Battery, under Lieutenant Commander Matthews, who continued the fire until dark. When the troops retired to their position at the cross-roads one section of Titus' battery was left with rear guard, with which I remained until it arrived at the cross-roads at daylight on the morning of December 1. The section of Hamner's battery (A, Third Rhode Island Artillery) came up at about dark, but was not placed in position, as the troops were about retiring.

I take great pleasure in mentioning the gallant conduct of the officers under my command during the battle of Honey Hill. Captain Mesereau, Lieutenants Titus, Clark, Wildt, Breck, and Crocker were constantly at their posts; the two latter remained with their sections, although they were wounded, until relieved by my order. First Lieut. E. A. Wildt, Company B, Third New York Artillery, was killed while pointing a gun, and proved himself a brave and efficient officer.

The following casualties occurred in my command on the 30th of November.(*)

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieut Col. Third Rhode Island Arty., Comdg. Artillery Brig.

Lieut. L. B. PERRY,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters Coast Division.

Return to Honey Hill home page