Today in History:

33 Series I Volume LIII- Serial 111 - Supplements


on his arrival had judiciously burned the main bridge over the Buffalo and guarded the crossing, and placed a light picket at Ball's Ferry, but his force was too small to prevent any formidable resistance. Three other bridges over the Buffalo were destroyed, the crossing guarded, and the picket at the ferry strengthened. Re-enforcements were called for from Savannah, but General McLaws had none to send, and the small command of not quite 700 men had twenty miles at least of line to watch and guard. Held to extreme orders, with an overhelming force in front and on both flanks, these gallant officers and men cheergully prepared to do their duty and meet their fate.

Wendnesday, the 23d, the enemy (a brigade of Kilpatrick's division of mounted infantry, as we were informed by prisoners taken) appeared on our front at the bridge about 10,45 a. m. and commened the attack, which was handsomely met on the west bank of the river by the Cadets under Captain Austin, and a detachment of the Fourth Kentucky Mounted Infantry under Colonel Thompson, sent to my assistance that morning by General Wheeler, and by one gun of Pruden's battery, mounted on a platform car, under the gallant Pruden himmself. Retiring slowly as they were pressed back to the bridge by the superior force of the enemy, the detachment of the Fourth Kentucky was withdrawn, the factory and penitentiary guards and Williams' militia sent in, and a line formed on the east bank of the river under the direction of Major Capers, who had been assigned to special command at the bridge. At 12,30 p. m. it was reported to me from the ferry that the enemy in numbers were on the opposite side, had driven in our pickets, seized the flat, which the officer in charge there had not destroyed on the approach of the enemy, as he had ben ordered to do, and we crossing the river. Major Hartridge was immediately sent down with Heyward's company of South Carolina Cavalry, Talbot's cavalry, the company of the Twenty-seventh Battalion, the Roberts Guards, and Huger's section of artillery to meet this force and drive it back over the river, reclaim the flat, and establish a strong guard at the ferry. This duty the major performed in a most gallant manner, marching ten miles, driving back over the river between 200 and 300 of the enemy who had crossed, carrying out my orders completely. Leaving Talbot's cavalry and the Roberts Guard as an additional guard, and picketing Blackshear's Ferry, still four miles lower down, he rejoined me with the remained of his troops at the bridge at 10,30 p. m. The force Major Hartridge encountered was subsequently reported to be the advance of the Fifteenth Corps. As the attack at Ball's Ferry, if succesful, necessitated the abandonment of the bridge by placing the enemy in our rear, the forces at the bridge being, as it were, in a pocket, I had directed the baggage to be packed, the telegraph to be disconnected, and prepared for an orderly retreat should we be compelled to abandon the ground. Taking post at the head of the trestle, I awaited the result of Hartridge's movements. His success re-established our position. In the mantime the enemy at the bridge had been hammering Capers and his command in a lively manner, but without making any impression. Night closed active operations, but only to exectite our men to sleepless vigalance, lest under the shelter of darkness the enemy might with his larger numbers seize an advantage.

Thursday, the 24th, opened bright and cold, and with daylight recommenced the attempt on the bridge. At Ball's Ferry the enemy had fallen back to his main body. Talbot crossed with some of his cavalry and gathered forty-three rifled carbines and a quantity of clothing, knapsacks, and other articles apparently abandoned in a