The Battle of Honey Hill, S.C.
Report of Colonel William Gurney
One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh New York Infantry
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

In the Field, near Boyd's Neck, S C., December 3, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In obedience to circular order of this date, I have the honor to report that the regiment moved up the Grahamville road from the cross-road church at 8 a.m. of the 30th ultimo, having the advance of the line. After advancing some 250 yards the cavalry reported the rebels in our front with artillery. By order of General Potter the regiment was deployed on the right and left of the road as skirmishers. The rebel pickets were met at about 400 yards and firing began. The Thirty-second Colored and One hundred and forty-fourth New York Volunteers reported to me as supports to our skirmish line. The right wing of the Twenty-fifth Ohio Volunteers had already deployed as skirmishers on our right. I turned the command of the regiment over to Lieut. Col. Stewart L. Woodford and took charge of the skirmishers and supports as above. The latter were on the right of the road. The rebels fired the woods and dry grass in front of their artillery, and our line had to advance through and around the flames. Our artillery now coming into position on the road shelled the rebels' gun or guns back, and my command came into the road. I went forward to the new skirmish line, which was immediately thrown out. This line advanced with part of the Fifty-sixth New York Volunteers at the front, and the One hundred and forty-fourth New York Volunteers on the right of the road, and the One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers at the left. The rebel artillery had taken up a new position, and was shortly encountered again. Our artillery again shelled them back and our infantry moved up. The skirmish line on the left of the road met the rebel line, and fell back upon the One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers as a support. The action now opened on the left. The One hundred and forty-fourth New York Volunteers encountered the rebels on the right of the road, and the fight began there at the same moment. The heads of these two regiments pressed on to the cross-roads that turned into the rebel fort, and then other regiments moved up, as did the artillery, and the fighting became general. The One hundred and twenty-seventh held the left center in front of the fort, the right of the regiment resting on the road. It was immediately formed into line of battle facing the fort and forced the rebel line back some 200 yards, when it halted and held its ground. I still exercised my provisional command at the center of the front until the new and general disposition of the troops was made by General Potter, who was immediately at the front. Part of the Thirty-fifth U. S. Colored Troops came over to the left of the road, in front of the One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers, but were immediately moved back on the road to the right of our regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Woodford reported to General Potter that he would charge the front of the works with our regiment, if a simultaneous charge could be made on the road to his right. The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers immediately came up and charged. Colonel Hartwell was wounded just at the head of the cross roads as he formed his men for the charge. Captain Gouraud, aide-de-camp, brought the order for the charge. Colonel Hartwell and Captain Gouraud told me to take the Fifty-fifth in, but the terrible fire held the regiment in check, and this attempt was unsuccessful. Colonel Hartwell, although wounded, took the head of his regiment again and led them in. They met a heavy fire both in front and flank, and Colonel Hartwell was again wounded in two places. We got around the corner of the road, but the troops were then forced back.

Colonel Woodford reports that the One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers charged forward at nearly a right angle with the advance of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, crossing a creek and advancing into the marsh at the front of the fort until they came within 70 yards on the left of the regimental line and within 100 yards on the right. The ground here comparatively open, with isolated large trees and low brush; the soil was boggy, with standing water about ten to eighteen inches deep. The men got their foothold at the roots of the brushwood. The regiment remained here some ten minutes, firing from the shelter which the men took, until the infantry on the right center had been forced back, and their fire enfiladed our line. Then the One hundred and twenty-seventh fell back some fifty yards, formed a new line, and laid down, supporting the artillery on the road, which fired over them. Two companies of the One hundred and twenty-seventh were here formed across the road with fixed bayonets, to prevent straggling from the right center and the right. I then relinquished my temporary command in the road and rejoined my regiment. The artillery soon fell back a few yards, and the One hundred and twenty-seventh fell back to a new position in front of the artillery, and still under the guns, where it remained for an hour, when it was ordered back some twenty yards, and formed line with the same front but at the left of and in line with the advanced guns, where it remained until the action closed. The regiment was the last to leave the field, being ordered to act as rear guard. After it had fallen back as such in the rear for a quarter of a mile, it was relieved by another regiment, which took its place, under orders from General Potter. After reaching the cross-road church, it moved on to the cross-road leading to Boyd's Neck, and bivouacked for the night about 500 yards down this road.

I have the honor to submit herewith a report of casualties, as required, numbering 7 killed, 44 wounded, and 2 missing; total, 53.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding 127th New York Volunteers.

Capt. W. C. MANNING,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Return to Honey Hill home page