The Battle of Honey Hill, S.C.
Report of Maj. Gen. John G. Foster
U.S. Army, Commanding Department of the South
Including Operations November 28-December 7, 1864
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


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
STEAMER NEMAHA,

Tullifinny River, December 7, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I left Hilton Head on the night of November 28 for Boyd's Neck, on the south side of Broad River, with all the disposable troops in this department, amounting to 5,000 infantry, cavalry, and artillery, with 500 sailors and marines. Owing to a thick fog and the incapacity of our pilots many of the boats lost their way and others grounded, so that the troops did not get ashore until late in the afternoon of the 29th. I then placed Brigadier-General Hatch in command of the force with orders to push forward and cut the railroad. He marched at once, but the maps and guides proved totally worthless, and after being twice misguided the troops reached the right road by morning. Thence, after daylight, they advanced toward Grahamville through a densely wooded country, driving back the enemy's artillery and infantry to a rise of ground called Honey Hill, a short distance this side of Grahamville, where they met a battery across the road, with seven guns. The enemy's infantry, rather over 4,000 and nearly equal to our own in number, was posted behind intrenchments in the woods on each side of the road. This position was immediately attacked with vigor and determination, but from the unfavorable nature of the ground, which admitted the employment of only one section of our artillery, we were unable to drive off the enemy, who did not, however, venture to advance beyond his intrenchments. After an obstinate fight of several hours, General Hatch, finding that the enemy's line could be neither successfully assaulted nor outflanked, retired after dark to a strong position about two miles and a half from Boyd's Neck. The rebels made no attempt to follow. Our loss was 88 killed, 623 wounded (140 of whom so slightly as not to be sent to the hospital), and 43 missing.

From November 30 to December 5, while keeping the greater part of the force at Boyd's Neck, I made at different points, with the assistance of the navy, several demonstrations--in one of which the Twenty-fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry marched six miles into the interior toward Pocotaligo and captured two pieces of artillery at Church Bridge, near Gardner's Corners, one of which the men dragged off by hand. On the night of December 5 I embarked a force under command of Brigadier-General Potter. From Boyd's Neck proceeded, at daylight, to Tullifinny Creek, and landed the men at James Gregory's plantation, on the right bank, in pontoons and launches. General Potter pushed immediately forward, and about one mile and a half out met the enemy, whom he forced rapidly back to the spot where the road up the peninsula between the Coosawhatchie and Tullifinny meets the road running across from one river to the other. Here the rebels, being re-cu-rl,reed from the south side of the Coosawhatchie, made a stand and attacked our left vigorously, but our men repulsed them handsomely, capturing a battle-flag and some prisoners, and got possession of the crossing, which we now firmly hold. A detachment sent to the right destroyed the road bridge over the Tullifinny. Our loss in the whole affair was about 5 killed and 50 woundcd. The railroad is less than three-quarters of a mile from our front separated by a dense wood, through which is only a bridle path, and in the skirt of which are our pickets. I have ordered nearly all the force from Boyd's Neck to this position, and also some 30-pounder Parrotts, with which we can reach the railroad, even should our men not succeed in gaining it, as I hope they may, as also the road bridge over the Coosawhatchie. Our position is strong, the spirit of the troops excellent, and the landings and means of communication good. The naval force, under orders from Admiral Dahlgren, have co-operated cordially and efficiently both by water and land. The reports received from prisoners and deserters relative to General Sherman's movements are very conflicting. A lieutenant who deserted on the 4th reports that General Sherman was in sight of Savannah. There can be no doubt that he is nearing Savannah, as all the deserters and prisoners who have recently come in agree that troops are leaving Charleston and Augusta for Savannah.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER,
Major-General, Commanding.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, U.S. Army, Chief of Staff, Armies of United States, Washington, D.C.


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