There Is Nobody Killed But A Private Or Two

On Wednesday, June 22, 1864 both companies of Berrien Minute Men were in the line of battle at Marietta, GA.  It was a hot summer day.

That morning John W. Hagan, of Berrien County, GA, wrote his wife Amanda there was “only 7 but what was killed or wounded” in the 29th Georgia Regiment. That made the total count of men killed, wounded or missing in the past week an even 100 from the 29th GA Regiment.  Hagan reported that among the dead was Jasper M. Roberts, of the Berrien Minute Men. He asked his wife to tell Jasper’s mother, “he was killed dead in a charge he was gallantly leading & chering his men on to battle and was successfull in driving back the Yankees. He was taken off the battle field & was burried as well as the nature of the case would permit.

In the evening, on the other side of the line, Pvt Charles T. Develling, 17th Ohio Regiment wrote in his journal.

June 22nd, the rebels gave us a severe shelling this afternoon, from five different points. Our artillery replied promptly and with effect. Shortly after dark we moved to the right and into front line, already fortified, in an open field, in the hottest hole we have yet found, as regards both the sun and fire from the rebels.

That same day, the Columbus Times, Columbus, GA published a Civil War poem by an anonymous author, a poem apparently not ever appearing elsewhere in print before or since.

For the  Times.
There is Nobody Killed but a Private or Two.

The crack of the rifle in the distance is heard,
From the hills far away comes the shriek of the shell
Through the valley re-echoes the huge cannon’s roar,
Mingling its deep thunder with the victor’s wild yell.

At last we are told that ’twas only a skirmish,
That again to their colors our gallants were true ;
Tho’ around them flew thickly the shot and the shell,
“There was nobody killed but a private or two.”

At the dawn of the morrow a squad is detailed,
’Tis supplied with no arms but the shovel and spade;
To the scene of the conflict their steps are now turned,
Where their comrades lie sleeping in death’s gloomy shade,
The dead are wrapp’d hurriedly in the cold, wet sod,
Uncoffin’d, unshrouded, scarcely hidden from view,
Their task is soon over, to the camp they return,
For “there’s nobody killed but a private or two.”

The telegraph columns of the papers, announce
Another slight skirmish just in front of our lines;
The report is scarce read, and the public complain.
That there’s so little news, considering the times,
Ah ! yes, there is one who has scanned the dispatches,
In her hands her pale face is now hidden from view,
Great God! she exclaims, ’tis my husband they have slain,
Tho’ “there’s nobody killed but a privateer two.”

That mother sits weeping alone in her cabin,
The low mourning winds in the tree-tops are sighing,
Her four little children stand gazing around her,
Wondering the reason why mamma keeps crying.
“Your papa, my darlings, never more will return,
Never more the’fond ties of affection renew,
In the cold distant grave his body’s reposing,
But there’s nobody killed but a private or two.”

How lonely and sad is the cold world to them now !
Ah ! who can portray the deep sorrow that is there!
Four orphans so desolate, left drifting alone,
A mother’s heart wrapp’d in the black gloom of despair!
When they think of the grave where that father’s now sleeping.
Recall to the memory his last fond adieu,
How sad to be told with such wanton indifference,
That “there’s nobody killed but a private or two.”
B***.    – Columbus Times 6/22/1864

Related Posts:

The Berrien Minute Men and the 1861 Expedition Hurricane

The Expedition Hurricane 1861

Two companies of men sent forth in the Civil War from Berrien County, Georgia were known as the Berrien Minute Men. For the most part, both companies of Berrien Minute Men traveled with the 29th Georgia Regiment and kept the same campfires, although occasionally they had different stations. They made their campfires most of 1861 at coastal defenses of Georgia, at Brunswick, GA, on Sapelo Island and then around Savannah, GA.

The Berrien Minute Men arrived on Sapelo Island around October 1, 1861 just a month before the final storm of the 1861 hurricane season.  Undoubtedly they experienced a gale on the night of October 31, 1861 as the hurricane, later known as the Expedition Hurricane, passed about 120 miles east of the Island. This hurricane had formed in the Gulf of Mexico and traversed south Florida before moving up the eastern seaboard. By the morning of November 1, 1861, the hurricane passed about 255 miles east of Savannah; the outer bands of the storm were already reaching Savannah with “driving clouds and heavy falling rain.”  The USS Savannah and USS Monticello, blockading the port of Savannah, GA were forced to move away from the Savannah Bar and proceed to seas as a measure necessary to their preservation.

USS Savannah. On Nov 1, 1861 the Savannah was stationed off Tybee Island, blockading the port of Savannah.

USS Savannah. On Nov 1, 1861 the Savannah was stationed off Tybee Island, blockading the port of Savannah.

On the Monticello, the storm damage disabled the engine forcing the ship to make for a safe harbor. That night the storm provided cover for the Confederate blockade runner CSS Bermuda escape from Savannah.

On November 2, 1861, following the 1861 Expedition Hurricane, the Confederate blockade runner CSS Bermuda escaped from the Savannah River bound for England. On the return trip it was captured by the US Navy & renamed the USS General Meade.

On November 2, 1861, following the 1861 Expedition Hurricane, the Confederate blockade runner CSS Bermuda escaped from the Savannah River bound for England. On the return trip it was captured by the US Navy & renamed the USS General Meade.

In the direct path of the hurricane was the largest fleet of ships that had ever been assembled by the United States Navy. It had been widely reported in newspapers that the  great fleet had assembled at New York, and that General Sherman’s forces had embarked at Annapolis, MD. Among the “Expedition Corps” was the Forty-Sixth New York Volunteer Regiment, Colonel Rudolph Rosa commanding, aboard the steamship USS Daniel Webster.  Later in the war the 46th NY Regiment would occupy Tybee Island, GA opposite the Berrien Minute Men garrisoning Causton’s Bluff near Savannah, GA

USS Daniel Webster, 1861, transported the 46th NY Regiment through the Expedition Hurricane to the Battle of Port Royal.

USS Daniel Webster, 1861, transported the 46th NY Regiment through the Expedition Hurricane to the Battle of Port Royal.

This was the largest naval expedition that had ever sailed under the U.S. flag. Its destination was “supposedly a military secret.” Reporters aboard the USS Atlantic in the Expedition fleet provided various cover stories:  a demonstration would be made upon Sewell’s Point or the fleet would practice an amphibious assault on Fort Monroe.  In Savannah, and probably on Sapelo Island, it was expected the expedition would make an assault on the Confederate shores.  After sailing on sealed orders it was speculated that the squadron would attack New Orleans, Charleston, Pensacola, Wilmington, Beaufort, Galveston or James River.

The expedition did practice an amphibious landing on the Virginia Peninsula at Fort Monroe, where it also expected to embark a contingent of Africa-Americans – escaped slaves – to be employed as support for the mission.

It was believed by the War Department that there were at least 1,000 slaves, or ‘”contrabands,”’ at Fortress Monroe, able to perform a certain sort of labor necessary to the accomplishment of the purpose of the expedition — such work as throwing up entrenchments and adding to the comfort of the officers. Six hundred of these negroes were to have accompanied us, but there is scarcely that number at the fortress, and Gen. Wool has plenty of employment for all of them there. We therefore do not take any. – New York Times Correspondent aboard USS Atlantic

After the exercises at Fort Monroe, the fleet continued on to its unstated destination.

The Great Lincoln Naval Expedition.
FULL PARTICULARS OF ITS STRENGTH.
Rumored theft of its Maps, Charts, and Sealed Orders.

Richmond, Nov. 2.—A special order for the Lincoln fleet, dated on board the steamer Atlantic, Oct. 28, says the expedition will be under command of Commodore Dupont, that it is intended to make a descent on the enemy’s coast, and probably under circumstances demanding the utmost vigilance, coolness and intrepidity on the part of every man in the expedition.
The surf boats and other means of debarkation are believed to be capable of landing at once from three to four thousand men. Some of them carry a hundred men.
The expedition consists of three brigades commanded by Generals Wright, Stephens, and Viele, each with artillery. Full orders are given as to the mode of landing. They have to conquer the ground and succeed. They are directed not to go beyond supporting distance from shore.

Fortress Monroe, Oct. 28.—The fleet will sail to-morrow. One hundred thousand rations have been distributed among the fleet, and sealed orders have been given to the Captains of the several transports. The men and horses are on board. Several of the transports have suffered greatly from the gale during the last few days.
The New York Herald of the 29th says the objects to be accomplished by the expedition are as follows :
First, to carry the war into the Cotton states, which are chiefly responsible for the rebellion, and produce a disorganisation of the disposition of the Immense Confederate army in Virginia.
Second, to secure winter quarters for the Federal troops, and harbors for the refuge the Federal naval and commercial marine.
Third, To open our Southern ports to commerce, and thus satisfy all the demands and obviate all difficulties about the supply of cotton and the efficiency of the blockade.
Fourth, to form a nucleus in the Confederate States near which the long suppressed loyalty and good sense of the people may find a safe expression and encouragement, and to stimulate this reactionary feeling, of which we have seen such remarkable and encouraging manifestations in North Carolina. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, in a letter to the expedition, gives them authority to employ negroes in the Federal service, but assures all loyal masters that Congress will provide a just compensation for all losses thus incurred by them.
The New York Tribune says one of its correspondents on board the Federal expedition writes from Hampton Roads that the Private Secretary to Commodore Dupont had absconded, carrying off with him the maps, charts, and even the sealed orders of the Expedition.

The Naval Expedition.—Our telegraphic column contains important information. There is no doubt that the whole composition, plan, and private instructions of the expedition are now in Richmond, else how should the information given and the Tribune’s report of the absconding Secretary tally so squarely? Say no more of Yankee shrewdness! 

 

 

A Naval Expedition Sails for Port Royal, S. C.

October 29, 1861, the great naval expedition, which had been fitting out for several weeks, sailed for the southern coast. It consisted of seventy-five vessels of various sizes and descriptions, and 15,000 troops; the former under command of Commodore Dupont; the latter under command of General William Tecumpseh “Cump” Sherman.

The Great Expedition, in Lat. 34 degrees, 37 minutes N., Long. 75 degrees, 50 minutes W., on the way to Port Royal Inlet. – Sketched at noon on 31st October, 1861, from the deck of the Steamer “Matanzas.” At the time, the fleet was 600 miles north of a tropical storm passing over Florida. Image Source: House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/33007.

The Savannah papers noted with glee that the storm would likely strike the US Fleet which had departed NY on October 30 on its mission to attack Confederate force.

“The season is not very propitious for their enterprise…they will be scattered to the four winds, and many of them sunk or stranded…We imagined the “nice time” the Yankees were having in their heavy laden and crowded ships and thought of their chances between treacherous waves and the inhospitable shores to which they were coming and if we indulged a wish that they might all be blown to Davy Jones’ locker, it was only that they might be spared the fate that awaits them whenever they land upon our southern shore.”

That evening, the U.S. Navy expedition encountered the  tropical hurricane—which wreaked havoc on the organization of the fleet.

A Union soldier at sea on board the steamer  USS Atlantic in the Expedition fleet wrote in his journal on November 1, 1861

Wind continued to rise till at 11PM it blew almost a gale. Went on deck at 11 1/2 PM. The scene was fearful, but magnificent. The ship was tossing and pitching in a manner not at all pleasant. The waves were rolling at least 20 feet high and as far as the eye could reach seemed to be capped with silver, while in the track of our wheels millions of stars were dancing and flashing…

Nov 2nd
Last night was the worst I ever saw. I could not sleep, for I had as much as I could do to hold myself in my bunk. Reynolds got thrown out of his and he had a top one too…8AM Our quarters presented a sorry sight. Window in stern got stove in the night. before it could be stopped the water was 3 or 4 inches deep. Shoes, guns, knapsacks, shirts, etc floating round in fine style. Went on deck…10A.M. Wind going down some. Struck green water at 4P.M.

John Call Dalton, M.D., rode out the 1861 Expedition Hurricane aboard the troopship USS Oriental.

On board the USS Oriental, John Call Dalton, Medical officer, rode out the storm with the 7th New York Militia. He vividly recalled the storm in his memoir:

On Friday, November 1st it began to get rough. The sky was overcast, the ship rolled and pitched, and the wind howled in a way that gave warning of worse to come. As the day wore on, there was no improvement, and before nightfall it was a blowing gale…All that evening the wind increased in violence. Every hour it blew harder, and the waves came faster and bigger than before. The see was no longer a highway; it was a tossing chaos of hills and valleys, sweeping toward us from the southeast with the force of the tornado, and reeling and plunging about us on every side. The ship was acting well and showed no signs of distress thus far; but by midnight it seemed as though she had about as much as she could do. The officers and crew did their work in steady, seamanlike fashion, and among the soldiers there was no panic or bustle. Once in a while I would get up out of my berth, to look at the ship from the head of the companion way, or to go forward between decks and listen to the pounding of the sea against her bows. At one o’clock, for the first time, things were no longer growing worse; and in another hour or two it was certain that the gale had reached its height. Then I turned in for sleep, wedged myself into the berth with blankets, and made no more inspection tours that night.

The SS Governor was overwhelmed by the storm and foundering with a battalion of 385 marines on board, Major John George Reynolds commanding, and 15 crew.  In the gale, the  gunboats USS Young Rover and USS Isaac Smith, both damaged by the storm, were unable to take the Governor effectively in tow. Finally the frigate USS Sabine arrived and a daring rescue ensued at the height of the raging hurricane.  Before the SS Governor sank, the entire complement of the ship were saved with the exception of one corporal and six privates who, attempting to jump from the deck of the Governor to the Sabine were drowned or crushed  between the decks of the two vessels. The reports of the captains of the USS Sabine, USS Isaac Smith, USS Young Rover, and the acting master of the SS Governor were published in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies.

Expedition Hurricane. Rescue of Major Reynolds's Battalion of Marines From The Foundering Steamer "Governor."

1861 Expedition Hurricane. Rescue of Major Reynolds’s Battalion of Marines From The Foundering Steamer “Governor.”

The awesome force with which this hurricane struck the fleet is evident in Major John G. Reynolds’ report to Commodore Samuel F. Du Pont.

Flag-Officer Saml. F. Du Pont,
Commanding U. S. Naval Expedition, Southern Coast.

The marine battalion under my command left Hampton Roads on transport steamboat Governor on the morning of Tuesday, the 29th of October, with the other vessels of the fleet, and continued with them near the flagship Wabash until Friday, the 1st of November. On Friday morning about 10 o’clock the wind began to freshen, and by 12 or l blew so violently we were obliged to keep her head directly to the wind, and thereby leave the squadron, which apparently stood its course.
Throughout the afternoon the gale continued to increase, though the Governor stood it well until about 4 o’clock. About this time we were struck by two or three very heavy seas, which broke the port hog brace in two places, the brace tending inward. This was immediately followed by the breaking of the hog brace on the starboard side. By great exertions on the part of the officers and men of the battalion these braces were so well stayed and supported that no immediate danger was apprehended from them.
Up to this time the engine worked well. Soon after the brace chains [guys] which supported the smokestack parted, and it went overboard. Some 3 feet of it above the hurricane deck remained, which enabled us to keep up the fires. Soon after the loss of the smokestack the steam pipe burst. After this occurrence we were unable to make more than 14 pounds of steam, which was reduced as soon as the engine commenced working to from 3 to 5 pounds. The consequence was we had to stop the engine frequently in order to increase the head of steam. At this period the steamer was making water freely, but was easily kept clear by the pumps of the engine whenever it could be worked. About 5 o’clock we discovered a steamer with a ship in tow, which we supposed to be the Ocean Queen. To attract attention we sent up rockets, which signals she answered. When our rockets, six in all, were gone, we kept up a fire of musketry for a long time, but, the sea running high and the wind being violent, she could render us no assistance. She continued on her course, in sight the greater part of the night. About 3 o’clock Saturday morning the packing round the cylinder head blew out, rendering the engine totally useless for some time. The engine was finally put in running order, although it went very slowly. The rudder chain was carried away during the night, the water gaining constantly on us and the boat laboring violently. At every lurch we apprehended the hog braces would be carried away, the effect of which would have been to tear out the entire starboard side of the boat, collapse the boiler, and carry away the wheelhouse. Early in the morning the rudderhead broke, the engine was of very little use, the water still gaining on us rapidly, and we entirely at the mercy of the wind. It was only by the untiring exertions of our men that we were kept afloat. Nearly one hundred of them were kept constantly pumping and bailing, and the rest were holding fast the ropes which supported the hog braces.
Toward morning the weather, which during the night had been dark and rainy, seemed to brighten and the wind to lull. At daybreak two vessels were seen on our starboard bow, one of which proved to be the U.S.S. Isaac Smith, commanded by Lieutenant J. W. A. Nicholson, of the Navy. She descried our signal of distress, which was ensign halfmast, union down, and stood for us. About 10 o’clock we were hailed by the Smith and given to understand that if possible we should all be taken on board. A boat was lowered from her and we were enabled to take a hawser. This, through the carelessness of Captain [C. L.] Litchfield, of the Governor, was soon cast off or unavoidably let go. The water was still gaining on us. The engine could be worked but little, and it appeared that our only hope of safety was gone.
The Smith now stood off, but soon returned, and by 1 o’clock we had another hawser from her and were again in tow. A sail (the propeller bark Young Rover) which had been discovered on our starboard bow during the morning was soon within hailing distance.
The captain proffered all the assistance he could give, though at the time he could do nothing, owing to the severity of the weather. The hawser from the Smith again parted, and we were once more adrift.
The Young Rover now stood for us again, and the captain said he would stand by us till the last, for which encouragement he received a heartfelt cheer from the men. He also informed us [that] a large frigate was ahead standing for us. He then stood for the frigate, made signals of distress and returned. The frigate soon came into view and hope once more cheered the hearts of all on board the transport. Between 2 and 3 o’clock the U.8. frigate Sabine (Captain Ringgold) was within hail, and the assurance given that all hands would be taken on board. After a little delay the Sabine came to anchor. We followed her example, and a hawser was passed to us. It was now late in the day and there were no signs of an abatement of the gale. It was evident that whatever was to be done for our safety must be done without delay. About 8 or 9 o’clock the Sabme had paid out enough chain to bring, her stern close to our bow. Spars were rigged out over the stern of the frigate and every arrangement made for whipping our men on board, and some thirty men were rescued by this means. Three or four hawsers and an iron stream cable were parted by the plunging of the vessels. The Governor at this time had 3 feet water, which was rapidly increasing. It was evidently intended by the commanding officer of the Sabine to get the Governor alongside and let our men jump from the boat to the frigate. In our condition this appeared extremely hazardous. It seemed impossible for us to strike the frigate without instantly going to pieces. We were, however, brought alongside and some forty men succeeded in getting on board the frigate. One was crushed to death between the frigate and the steamer in attempting to gain a foothold on the frigate.
Shortly after being brought alongside the frigate the starboard quarter of the Sabine struck the port bow of the Governor, and carried away about 20 feet of the hurricane deck from the stem to the wheelhouse. The sea was running so high, and we being tossed so violently, it was deemed prudent to slack up the hawser and let the Governor fall astern of the frigate with the faint hope of weathering the gale till morning.
All our provisions and other stores, indeed every movable article, were thrown overboard, and the water casks started to lighten the vessel. From half past 3 until daybreak the Governor floated in comparative safety, notwithstanding the water was rapidly gaining on her. At daybreak preparations were made for sending boats to our relief, although the sea was running high, and it being exceedingly dangerous for a boat to approach the guards of the steamer. In cpnsequence the boats laid off and the men were obliged to jump into the sea, and were then hauled into the boats. All hands were thus providentially rescued from the wreck with the exception, I am pained to say, of 1 corporal and 6 privates, who were drowned or killed by the crush or contact of the vessels. Those drowned were lost through their disobedience of orders in leaving the ranks, or abandoning their posts. After the troops were safely reembarked every exertion was directed to securing the arms, accouterments, ammunition, and other property which might have been saved after lightening the wreck. I am gratified in being able to say nearly all the arms were saved and about half the accouterments. The knapsacks, haversacks, and canteens were nearly all lost. About 10,000 round of cartridges were fortunately saved, and 9,000 lost. Since being on board of this ship every attention has been bestowed by Captain Ringgold and his officers toward recruiting the strength of our men and restoring them to such a condition as will enable us to take the field at the earliest possible moment. Too much praise can not be bestowed upon the officers and men under any command. All did nobly. The firmness with which they performed their duty is beyond all praise. For forty eight hours they stood at ropes and passed water to keep the ship afloat. Refreshments in both eating and drinking were passed to them at their posts by noncommissioned officers. It is impossible for troops to have conducted themselves better under such trying circumstances. The transport continued to float some three hours after she was abandoned, carrying with her when she sunk, I am grieved to say, company books and staff returns. In order to complete the personnel of the battalion, I have requested Captain Ringgold to meet a requisition for several privates, to which he has readily assented. I considered this requisition in order, as I have been informed by Captain Ringgold it is his intention, as orders were given for his ship to repair to a Northern port; in which event he can easily be supplied, and my command by the accommodation rendered complete, in order to meet any demand you make for our services.
Under God, we owe our preservation to Captain Ringgold and the officers of the Sabine, to whom we tender our heartfelt thanks for their untiring labors while we were in danger and their unceasing kindness since we have been on board the frigate.
This report is respectfully submitted.
I am, commodore, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Jno. Geo. Reynolds,
Commanding Battalion Marines, Southern Division.

P. S.—List of noncommissioned officers and privates drowned and
injured by attempting to leave the U. S. transport steamer Governor
without orders:
Corporal Thomas McKeown, Privates Manus Brown, Timothy Lacy, Lawrence Gorman, Thomas Walker, Robert Campbell, drowned; Private Edward H. Miller, cut in two by collision with Sabine; Private Gustave Smith, arm broken by collision with Sabine.
Jno. Geo. Reynolds,
Major, Commanding Battalion.

On Hatteras the storm surge was so high the entire island was inundated.  Fort Hatteras was the only thing that remained above water. Federal troops evacuated the island and withdrew to Fort Monroe. USS Union went ashore about 13 miles south of Fort Macon.  USS Osceola went on the rocks near Georgetown during the storm. The USS Peerless went down after a collision with the Star of the South.  The confederate press reported that USS Winfield Scott had gone down with two Federal regiments, but that was wishful thinking; the Winfield Scott was badly damaged but remained afloat.

After ripping through the fleet, the hurricane made landfall on November 2, 1861 at 10:00 am at Morehead City, NC with sustained winds estimated at 70 mph, and proceeded up the coast.

When the fleet arrived at Port Royal “many showed the marks of their rough treatment at sea. The big sidewheel steam, Winfield Scott, came in dismasted, and with a great patch of canvas over her bows, looking like a man with a broken head. Other had lost smoke-stacks, or stove bulwarks or wheel-houses.”John Call Dalton

 

USS Winfield Scott, dismasted in the Expedition Hurricane of 1861, made port at Port Royal, SC.

USS Winfield Scott, dismasted in the Expedition Hurricane of 1861, made port at Port Royal, SC.

Some of the other ships were forced to return home for repairs, but the majority rode out the storm successfully.

The expedition proceeded onward to Port Royal Sound for the Battle of Port Royal.  Among the ships joining the rendezvous at Port Royal Sound was the USS St Lawrence. The St. Lawrence had come from blockade duty off St. Simons Island, GA.

USS St Lawrence, US Southern Blockade Squadron, was stationed off St. Simons Island, GA

USS St Lawrence, US Southern Blockade Squadron, was stationed off St. Simons Island, GA

 

The expedition arrived at Port Royal, South Carolina, November 4th, when it was greeted by Commodore Tattnall and his mosquito fleet; which soon withdrew in disgust. On the following day, Commodore Tattnall renewed his “attack,” but a few shots from our big guns effectually disposed of him. The 6th, the weather being stormy, nothing was done.

Surrender of Forts Walker and Beauregard.

On the morning of November 7th, Commodore Dupont engaged the Confederate forts, Beauregard, of 32 guns, and Walker, of 15 guns; the Wabash leading the way, and the other war ships and gunboats following. The batteries from the shore replied with spirit. The action commenced at twenty minutes past nine, A. M., and lasted until half-past two, P. M., when the batteries were silenced, the forts evacuated, and the Stars and Stripes planted on South Carolina soil. Soon after, the Seventh Connecticut regiment landed and took possession of Fort Walker; and on the following morning our flag waved over Fort Beauregard. Beaufort was also temporarily occupied, the whole white population, with the exception of one man, having fled. The Confederate troops, estimated at full 5,000, retreated before the Federal troops could land, leaving arms, baggage, and personal valuables behind. The Federal loss was 8 killed and 23 wounded  –Edgar Albert Werner

The cannonade was so intense the sounds of the Battle of Port Royal could be heard by the 29th Georgia Regiment 60 miles away on Sapelo Island.

The hurricane of November 1-2, 1861 which preceded the battle is known as the Expedition Hurricane because of its influence on the fleet.

Related Posts

Ships of the Great Naval Expedition

New York Times
October 26, 1861

THE GUNBOAT FLEET.

We are now enabled to give the names of all the vessels engaged in this great expedition. The gunboats are all well armed and manned. Vessels like the Unadilla, Seneca, Pembina and Ottawa, each carry one 11-inch Dahlgren, one Parrott rifled gun, and two 24-pound howitzers. The names of the gunboats are:

Vessel, Commander.

      1. USS Seminole ………………..J.P. Gillies.
      2. USS Mohican …………………Godon.
      3. USS Florida …………………..Gildsborough.
      4. USS Pocahontas ……………….Drayton.
      5. USS James Adger ……………..Marchand.
      6. USS Augusta ………………….Parrott.
      7. USS Alabama………………….Lanier.
      8. USS Unadilla ………………….N. Collins.
      9. USS Ottawa …………………..Thos. H. Stevens.
      10. USS Seneca ………………….Daniel Aminen.
      11. USS Pawnee ………………….R.H. Wyman.
      12. USS Pembina ………………….Bankhead.
      13. USS Isaac Smith ……………….Nicholson.
      14. USS R.B. Forbes ………………Newcomb.
      15. USS Curlew ……………………Watmough.
      16. USS Penguin ………………….Budd.

      In addition to these vessels, all of which are steamers, there are now on the station, and to join the squadron,
      Vessel, tonnage, Commander, station
      <

      1. USS Sabine ……………………………(50,) Capt. RINGGOLD, at present blockading Charleston;
      2. USS Susquehannah……………. (15,) Capt. LARDNER;
      3. USS Flag………………………….. Commander RODGERS; off Savannah
      4. USS Savannah……………. (24,) Commander MISSRGOM, off Savannah
      5. USS St. Lawrence……………. (50.) Capt. PURVIANCE, off St. Simon’s Island, GA
      6. USS Dale…………….(16,) Commander YARD, off Fernandina, FL
      7. Vandalia……………. (20,) Commander HAGGERTY, recently off Bale’s Bay, S.C., but just returned to Hampton Roads;
      8. Governor……………. (transport,) Capt. C.L. LITCHFIELD, with Major REYNOLDS’ Battalion of Marines.
        The entire armament of the fleet is about 400 guns.

THE TRANSPORT FLEET
STEAMSHIPS.

Vessel. Tonnage. Commander.

 

  1. Baltic………………2,723……………Comstock.
  2. Ocean Queen……….2,802……………Seabury.
  3. Vanderbilt…………..3,360……………La Favre.
  4. Illinois…………….2,123……………Rathburn.
  5. Star of the South…… 960……………Kearnly.
  6. Marion…………….. 860……………Phillips.
  7. Parkersburgh………. 715……………Hoffman.
  8. Matanzas………….. 875……………Leesburg.
  9. Cahawba…………..1,643……………Baker.
  10. Empire City………..1,751……………Baxter.
  11. Ariel……………….1,295……………Terry.
  12. Daniel Webster……..1,035……………Johnston.
  13. Coatzacoalcos………1,953……………Botcock.
  14. Roanoke……………1,071……………Conch.
  15. Ericsson……………1,902……………Cowles.
  16. Oriental……………. — ……………Tuzo.
  17. Potomac…………… 448……………Hilliard.
  18. Locust Point……….. 462……………French.
  19. Philadelphia………..1,236……………Barton.
  20. Spalding…………… — …………… —
  21. Winfield Scott……… — …………… —
  22. Atlantic…………….2,815…………… —
  23. Belvidere………….. — ……………Phillips.
  24. Ben. Deford…………1,080…………… —
  25. Mayflower, (ferryboat.)
  26. Philadelphia, (ferryboat.)
  27. Baltimore, (ferryboat.)
  28. Eagle, (ferryboat.)
  29. Star, (ferryboat.)
  30. Pocahontas, (ferryboat.)
  31. Commodore Perry, (ferryboat.)

SAILING VESSELS.

Vessel. Tonnage.

  1. Great Republic….. 3,356
  2. Zenas Coffin…….. 338
  3. Ocean Express…..1,697
  4. Golden Eagle…… 1,128All these transport vessels are armed. They carry ordnance and Quartermaster’s stores, two houses in frame work, bricks in large quantity, about 1,500 shovels, the same number of picks, sand bags, horses, boats for landing men and guns through the surf, and every other article likely to be required for a campaign.

Confederate Cures in the Civil War

In the Civil War, the death rate from contagious diseases and illnesses were very high. “In the Federal armies, sickness and disease accounted for 7 of every 10 deaths. One authority has estimated that among the Confederates three men perished from disease for every man killed in battle. Small wonder that a Civil War soldier once wrote his family from camp: “It scares a man to death to get sick down here.” – The Civil War

In the Summer of 1862 the Berrien Minute Men, 29th GA Regiment, stationed at Causton’s Bluff and Battery Lawton would suffer with malaria, fever, measles,  mumps,  dysentery, tonsillitis,  wounds, typhus,  pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis, hepatitis, and rheumatism. The heat, mosquitoes, fleas and sandflies just made the men all the more uncomfortable. All of the stations of the Berrien Minute Men on the Georgia coast were disease ridden. After visiting Battery Lawton on June 22, 1862, Captain George A. Mercer wrote, “Fort Jackson, and the adjacent batteries, are located in low swampy fields, where the insects are terrible the air close and fetid and full of miasma and death.” The “miasma” was actually mosquito-born transmission of diseases like yellow fever or malaria, but the conventional wisdom at the time was that all diseases were carried by vapors, which were believed to be especially prevalent in coastal marshy areas.  Given the state of medical knowledge in the 1860s, Regimental Surgeon, William P. Clower, had little if any effective treatments for such contagious diseases. (Surgeon Clower’s brother, John T. Clower, would later practice medicine in Ray’s Mill, now Ray City, GA).  Wiregrass Georgians had always depended more on home remedies, patent medicines and faith than doctors.

On June 12, 1862, a concerned citizen advised Confederate soldiers via a newspaper article to treat camp illnesses themselves and not to trust their health to physicians. Some of the “cures” seem worse than the disease.  In discussing the recipes for tinctures and enemas, the advise is, “If the pepper is too exciting for delicate patients, leave it out…   

On the treatment snake bite, the reference to Hog Artichoke has a trivial connection to the Berrien Minute Men; Colonel William Spencer Rockwell, who enlisted the Berrien Minute Men in the C.S.A., was perhaps the leading horticultural authority on Hog Artichoke in the State of Georgia.

 

Savannah Morning News
June 12, 1862

“[From the Columbus Enquirer.]
Every Soldier his own Physician.
Editor Enquirer:—Horrified at the rapidity with which our soldiers die in camp, we are tempted to give them the following recipes, the result of some experience, in hopes that some may be saved by using remedies simple, safe, and generally sure cures:
TO PREVENT SICKNESS.—Have a Jug of salted vinegar, seasoned with pepper, and take a mouthful just before going to bed. The salt and vinegar make a near approach to the digestive gastric Juice of the stomach, and are besides antidotes to many of the vegetable and miasmatic poisons.
FOR PNEUMONIA, COLDS AND COUGHS.—Take half a cup or less of the salted pepper vinegar, fill the cup nearly full of warm water, and then stir in a raw well-beaten egg slowly. Taken mouthful every 15 or 20 minutes; in the intervals slowly suck on a piece of alum. If the attack is violent, dip a cloth in hot salted pepper vinegar and apply it round the throat, cover with dry clothes to get up a steam, and do the name to the chest.
FOR CHILLS.—Put a tablespoonful of salted pepper vinegar in a cup of warm water, go to bed and drink ; In two hours drink a cup of strong water-willow bark tea; in two hours more another tablespoonful of the vinegar and warm water, and so on, alternating, until the fever is broken up. After sweating, and before going into the out door air, the body ought always to be wiped off with a cloth dipped in cold water. Dogwood will do if water-willow cannot be obtained
FOR MEASLES.—Put a small piece of yeast in a tumbler of warm sweetened water, let it draw, and drink a mouthful every 15 or 30 minutes, and drink plentifully of cold or hot catnip, balsam, horehound, or alder tea”, and use In place of oil or salts, one table spoonful molasses, one teaspoonful lard, and one teaspoonful salted pepper vinegar, melted together and taken warm. Take once a day, if necessary— keep out of the wet and out-door air.
FOR DIARRHOEA.— A teaspoonful of the salted pepper vinegar every one or two hours. Take a teaspoonful of the yellow puffs that grow round oak twigs, powdered fine; take twice a day in one tablespoonful of brandy, wine or cordial If these yellow puffs can not be found, suck frequently on a piece of alum. The quantity of alum depends upon the severity of the attack; take slowly and little at a time.
FOR CAMP FEVERS.—One tablespoonful of salted pepper vinegar, slightly seasoned, and put into a cup of warm water—drink freely and often, from 4 to 8 cupfuls a day, with fever or without fever. Pour a cupful more or less of the salted pepper vinegar into cold water, and keep the body, particularly the stomach and head, well bathed with a cloth dipped in it. Give enemas of cold water, and for oil use a tablespoonful molasses, a teaspoonful lard, and a teaspoonful pepper vinegar, melted together and taken warm. If the pepper is too exciting for delicate patients, leave it out of the drinks and bathings, and use simply the salt and vinegar in water, and very little salt.
ANTIDOTE FOR DRUNKENESS: FOR THE BENEFIT OF OFFICERS —One cup of strong black Coffee, with out milk or sugar, and twenty drops of Laudanum. Repent the dose if necessary. Or take one teaspoonful of Tincture Lobelia In a tumbler of milk; if taken every ten or fifteen minutes it will act us an emetic: taken in longer intervals, say thirty minutes, it will act as an antidote. The Yankees declared that poisoned liquor was put on the counters in Newbern to poison their soldiers. Nobody doubts the liquor being poisoned, but it was made of poison to sell to our own Southern boys; and it is horrifying to think of the liquors now being made down in cellars, of “sulfuric acid, strychnine, buckeye, tobacco leaves, coloring matter and rain water.” For this poisoned liquor, the best antidote is an emetic, say lobelia and warm salt and water, and then drink freely of sugared vinegar water.
FOR SNAKE BITES —The best thing is one teaspoonful of Lobelia and ten drops of Ammonia, taken every few minutes, and a bottle filled with Lobelia and Ammonia, stopped with the palm of the hand and warmed in a panful of hot water; then apply the bottle to the bite, and it will draw out and antidote the poison. Either of these, Lobelia or Ammonia, will answer without the other. Tobacco, or Nightshade, or Kurtle Burr, or Deer Tongue, (a rough-leafed herb, in flower and appearance like to hog artichoke) stowed in milk; drink the milk, using the rest as a poultice. The last is an Indian remedy, and will cure in the agonies of death.
FOR CHICKEN CHOLERA, NOW DEVASTATING FOWLDOM.—Put one or two Jimpston or Jamestown weed leaves, properly called Stramonium, into the water trough every day—fresh leaves and fresh water. This is one of the triumphs of Homeopathy, for we were just from a perusal of one of their works, and finding that the chickens died and made no signs of sickness, except holding the head down, we concluded the head must be the seat of the plague, and reading that stramonium affected the brain with mania and stupor, we tried it, and have not lost a chicken since the using.
If other papers will copy these recipes, they will save many lives, now sacrificed to the negligence of salaried physicians The Eastern monarch’s plan ought to be adopted, to strike off a certain percent of a Doctor’s salary every time he loses a patient— that would soon stop the feast of Death! X.

Confederate medicine: cures for soldiers in the regimental camps.

Confederate medicine: cures for soldiers in the regimental camps.

 

 

Related posts:

Daily Routine at Battery Lawton

In 1862, Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr was detailed to take Berrien Minute Men Company C to Battery Lawton, where they joined the Brunswick Rifles manning artillery defenses of Savannah, GA. The Berrien Minute Men and Brunswick Rifles had encamped together at Brunswick.  (Berrien Minute Men Company D was manning the battery at Causton’s Bluff and other posts around the city.)  Battery Lawton had also been the 1861 post of the Berry Light Infantry,  a company which joined with the Berrien Minute Men and other companies in the organization of the 29th Georgia Infantry Regiment.

Battery Lawton was part of the complex of Advance River Batteries supporting Fort Jackson on the Savannah River, which were under the command of Col. Edward C. Anderson.

Colonel Edward Clifford Anderson (November 8, 1815 – January 6, 1883) was a naval officer in the United States Navy, Mayor of Savannah, Georgia and a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He commanded Fort James Jackson near Savannah before its capture in 1864. He was elected mayor of Savannah eight times, before and after the war, and on December 6, 1865, he became the first mayor to be elected after the war.

Colonel Edward Clifford Anderson (November 8, 1815 – January 6, 1883) was a naval officer in the United States Navy, Mayor of Savannah, Georgia and a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He commanded Fort James Jackson near Savannah before its capture in 1864. He was elected mayor of Savannah eight times, before and after the war, and on December 6, 1865, he became the first mayor to be elected after the war.

Anderson had been educated at a Massachusetts prep school, a former mayor of Savannah and a former officer of the United States Navy. He had participated in numerous naval and amphibious operations in the Mexican-American War.    At the outbreak of the Civil War he was sent as a Confederate envoy to England and styled himself as the Confederate Secretary of War. Upon his return he was placed in command of the Savannah river artillery,

Col. Anderson was somewhat of a stickler for military discipline. Orders for a typical day at Battery Lawton, Fort Jackson and the Savannah River Batteries as per Colonel Edward C. Anderson:

 

The daily routine for the observance of this command will be as follows:
Reveille 4:30
Sick Call 5:30
Breakfast Call 6:00
Preparatory Call for Guard Mounting 6:30
Battery or Siege Drill 8:00
Dinner Call 12:00
Company Drill 6:00 P.M.
(In the Summer)
Preparatory Call for Dress Parade 10 Minutes
before Sunset
Dress Parade Sunset
II Immediately after Reveille, the tents and quarters will be policed & put in complete order.
III Battery… Drill will be superintended by at least one Commissioned Officer
IV Company drills will be attended by all the Commissioned Officers…
XII No man will be allowed to go over a half mile from this post without special permission…
XIII The firing of small arms is strictly forbidden & every man will be held responsible for the care of his arms, ammunition & accoutrements…
XIV Bathing in the river is restricted to three times a week…
Additional orders for clarification:
II The sick are required to report promptly at Sick Call every morning, otherwise they will be held to duty & in no instance will any man be excused from duty except on Surgeon’s Certificate.
III On occasion of Dress Parade & inspection both officers & men are required to appear in uniform with jackets buttoned up & after the command attention, will remain fixed in the position of a soldier. Moving of the body or changing of attitude while in ranks & at attention will not be allowed. Also on all inspections the men must appear in marching order with arms accouterments, etc. complete.

Col. Edward C. Anderson had little respect for Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr., whom he considered to be undisciplined.  Anderson eventually had Levi J. Knight placed on a list of incompetent officers.

Related Posts:

Ned Holmes and Civil War Epidemics

Edward “Ned” HOLMES, was a soldier of the 25th Georgia Regiment, which shared garrison duties with the Berrien Minute Men and the 29th Georgia Regiment several camps around Savannah, GA in the spring and summer of 1862. In June, the colonel of the 25th Regiment, Claudius C. Wilson, would assume command of Causton’s Bluff, where the Berrien Minute Men were stationed.

Ned Holmes was born about 1834 in DeKalb County, Georgia, the younger of two sons of James and Martha Thurman Holmes.

Ned’s father, James Holmes, according to family tradition left the family in Atlanta to go west to look for land to homestead. He was never heard from again…  Ned’s brother Mike Holmes, as oldest son, was sole support of his family and supposedly worked as an overseer to support them. Once again family legend says Mike rode a winning horse in a race in Atlanta the purse for which was enough for him to move his mother, five sisters and Ned  to Alabama. About 1845, the family moved to Henry County, AL, settling near Wesley, about 7 miles northeast of Abbeville. – Gordon W. Holmes, Jr

In Henry County, Mike Holmes first worked as a farmer then in 1858 was elected Sheriff of Henry County as a Democrat.  By 1860, Ned Holmes was employed as an overseer and moved out of his brother’s household to a place of his own in Franklin, AL.

When the Civil War broke out Mike Holmes enlisted at Abbeville, AL on May 11, 1861, in Company A (became Company B), 6th Regiment, Alabama Infantry, CSA. 

Edward “Ned” Holmes was enlisted on April 12, 1862, in Henry County, Alabama, by Capt. George W. Holmes (no relation) for 3 years, in Company E, 25th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, CSA. Ned remained at home on furlough through the end of April, 1862. In May, he  joined his unit at Camp Smith near Savannah, Georgia. After joining the 25th Regiment, Ned Holmes would suffer a battery of contagious diseases.

Colonel Claudius C. Wilson gathered a petition from the 29th Georgia Regiment requesting that Elbert J. Chapman's life be spared.

Colonel Claudius C. Wilson gathered a petition from the 29th Georgia Regiment requesting that Elbert J. Chapman’s life be spared.

The Twenty-fifth regiment Georgia volunteers had been organized during the summer of 1861.  Claudius C. Wilson, a member of the Georgia Bar and former solicitor-general for the eastern circuit of Georgia, was elected colonel and commissioned the unit’s first commanding officer. The unit was mustered into Confederate service at Savannah, Georgia, early September 1861.  The Twenty-fifth, after being equipped and drilled, was assigned to the department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and throughout the latter part of 1861 and during 1862 served on the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. By September, 1862 the 25th Georgia Regiment would  serve alongside the 29th Regiment at Causton’s Bluff, east of Savannah, GA.   The initial officers of the regiment were: William Percy Morford Ashley, lieutenant-colonel; William John Winn, major; Rufus Ezekiel Lester, adjutant, and William DeLegal Bacon, quartermaster. The captains were Alexander W. Smith, Company A; Martin L. Bryan, Company B; Jefferson Roberts, Company C; Andrew J. Williams, Company D;  William Sanford Norman, Company E; George T. Dunham, Company F;  William D. Hamilton, Company G;  W. Henry Wylly, Company H; Alexander Hamilton “Hamp” Smith , Company I, [post-war resident of Valdosta, GA];  Mark Jackson McMullen, Company K, Robert James McClary, Company L.

By the time Ned Holmes joined the Regiment in May 1862, the 25th Georgia had already served eight months at posts around Savannah: at Camp Wilson with the 27th, 31st and 29th Georgia Regiments;  at Camp Young; Thunderbolt Battery;  Camp Mercer on Tybee Island; and Camp Smith.

Most of the 25th Regiment had already suffered through a host of communicable diseases. “The fact that a majority of the soldiers were from rural communities made them very susceptible to such “city sicknesses” as measles, chicken pox, and small pox. The death rate from these diseases were very high. In the Federal armies, sickness and disease accounted for 7 of every 10 deaths. One authority has estimated that among the Confederates three men perished from disease for every man killed in battle. Small wonder that a Civil War soldier once wrote his family from camp: “It scares a man to death to get sick down here.” – The Civil War

Isaac Gordon Bradwell, a soldier of the 31st Georgia Regiment at Camp Wilson wrote,”“We had not been in these camps many days before we were invaded by measles the dread enemy of all new soldiers, and many of our men died or were rendered unfit for further service. Other diseases thinned our ranks, and for a while few recruits came to take their places.”  When new recruits like Ned Holmes did come, measles might be contracted within days of the men’s arrival.   Measles had hit The 29th Georgia Regiment and the Berrien Minute Men hard at Camp Security, GA in December 1861. Augustus H. Harrell,, of the Thomasville Guards, took the measles home from Camp Security.   William Washington Knight wrote from Camp Security, “Nearly all of our company have the measles. Capt [John C.] Lamb has it,” along with 60 others of the Regiment.  William A. Jones went home to Berrien County, GA with the measles and died there in January, 1862; a son born after his death suffered from apparent Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

Ned Holmes wrote home from Camp Smith on June 7, 1862, telling his family that he had a very bad cold and cough, and that there was a lot of sickness in the the 25th regiment.  By June 11, 1862 he wrote he was sick with measles.

“Measles [Rubeola] infection occurs in sequential stages over a period of two to three weeks. For the first 10 to 14 days after infection, the measles virus incubates. There are  no signs or symptoms of measles during this time. Measles symptoms typically begin with a mild to moderate fever, often accompanied by a persistent cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis) and sore throat. This relatively mild illness may last two or three days. Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background form inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek — also called Koplik’s spots. A skin rash develops made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another. Over the next few days, the rash spreads down the arms and trunk, then over the thighs, lower legs and feet. At the same time, the fever rises sharply, often as high as 104 to 105.8 F (40 to 41 C). The measles rash gradually recedes, fading first from the face and last from the thighs and feet. A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days.”- Mayo Clinic

 

In June, 1862  the 25th Regiment’s Colonel, Claudius C. Wilson, was assigned special duty as commander of the post at Causton’s Bluff.  The bluff, about three miles east of Savannah, overlooked St. Augustine Creek and Whitemarsh Island (pronounced Whitmarsh Island). “This twenty to thirty foot bluff strategically commanded the rear approach to Fort Jackson, on the Savannah River, and the approach to the part of the eastern lines of the city.”  Causton’s Bluff had been garrisoned since December 1861 by   the 13th Georgia Infantry, also known as the Bartow Light Infantry, under the command of Colonel Marcellus Douglass .  After the U.S. Army captured Fort Pulaski on April 11, 1862, the Berrien Minute Men and the 29th Georgia Regiment were brought up to strengthen the garrison.  Soon the 25th regiment moved up from Camp Smith to join the garrison at Causton’s Bluff.  At Causton’s Bluff, the men would suffer with fever, malaria, measles, tonsillitis, mumps,  wounds, typhus, dysentery, pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis, hepatitis, and rheumatism as well as mosquitoes, fleas, and sandflies.

In a letter to his brother, Ned Holmes wrote that he had his gear “hauled from the old camp,” and that he was sick with the mumps.

Early in the morning, 20th of June 1862

Mike,
As I did not get off my letter yesterday I write you a few lines this morning. I feel very well this morning. I am swole up powerful with mumps this morning but they give me but little pain. I am taking good care of myself. Perhaps you think I cant do that in camp but my tent is as dry as any — house. Last night we had 2 pretty hard storms & heavy raining and I never felt a drop of water or a breeze of wind. I managed to get my bed stead hauled from the old camp yesterday. It is as good a bed as I would want at home. I think I will improve all the time now. I want you to write me. I have not heard from you since you were on your way to Richmond. I don’t know how I will like the move we made. I have not been out any since I came to this place. All I know is it’s very level where we are camped.
Tell Sim’s folks he is well. Dick [Knight] is in good health. Be sure to write soon. Dick got letters from home saying that Reuben Fleming has been carried home. I want to hear about it.

Ned

According to the CDC, “Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12–25 days after infection.It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Then most people will have swelling of their salivary glands. This is what causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw. Some people who get mumps have very mild symptoms (like a cold), or no symptoms at all and may not know they have the disease. Mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults. In men, complications can include: inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; this may lead to a decrease in testicular size (testicular atrophy); inflammation in the pancreas (pancreatitis); inflammation of the brain (encephalitis); inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis); deafness. Inflammation of the testicles caused by mumps has not been shown to lead to infertility.” – CDC
Mumps generally last about ten days.

About the time Ned Holmes recovered from the mumps, he wrote that he was sick with diarrhea.

June 30, 1862

Dear Mike
I recvd your letter dated 26. I was glad to hear you was all well. I am not as well as I was when I saw you. 2 days ago my bowels was a little out of order tho not bad but just enough to keep week and not able to do anything. I am up all the time but dont have the strength to do anything. You need not be uneasy about me, if I git bad sick I will let you know. I think I will be able for duty in one or 2 days. Tell Mary she need not be uneasy about me that I can come home if I git sick much and I am going to do it. A sick man — tese very depressing and can get a furlough here. I dont want one now, no use of going home. I would not go now if I had a furlough. I will write you all the particleurs that I can gather in a few days. I am writing every other day. I will until I get plum well. Morris and Simm Schick and Zuch is all well. I have no more to write at present.

Write me often.

E. [Ned] Holmes

In July, Ned Holmes wrote that he had suffered a relapse of the measles. In  Civil War times little distinction was made between measles (Rubeola) and Rubella, sometimes called “German measles.”  Both diseases were contagious and both were rampant in the regimental camps. It appears that Ned’s “relapse” may have been Rubella.  Ned’s letters from July 1862 indicate that he had returned to Camp Smith to recuperate.  Soldiers who got sick preferred care in a camp hospital or sick ward over being sent to a hospital in Savannah.

The hospitals in Savannah were feared by the soldiers as death houses. In order to address this fear Lt. Col. Anderson, [commander of the Savannah River Batteries,] set up a separate hospital at Deptford. The less critically ill could be sent there, watched by their comrades and not have all their personal belongings stolen – which would happen when they were sent into Savannah. – Fort Jackson Interpretive Materials

But even while in recovery at Camp Smith,   Ned Holmes found his personal items being pilfered.

Camp Smith, Savannah, Ga., July 1862

(To Mat and the Family)
I thought I was surely well of the measles till yesterdasy, it was a cloudy wet day and the measles made their appearance on me as plain as ever. It’s cleared off this morning & looks like Sept. It’s cool & pleasant, the air stirring brief and is a very pleasant time. I will finish this in the morning and tell you how I am getting along. Dick has got the mumps. He took them yesterday. I hope he will get well soon. Tell Mama somebody has stolen one of my socks and I have an old one and if she sees any chance to send me one, to do it. I shall get out of socks before long anyway.

“Rubella, also called German measles or three-day measles, is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash. Rubella is not the same as measles (rubeola), though the two illnesses do share some characteristics, including the red rash. However, rubella is caused by a different virus than measles, and is neither as infectious nor usually as severe as measles. The signs and symptoms of rubella are often so mild they’re difficult to notice, especially in children. If signs and symptoms do occur, they generally appear between two and three weeks after exposure to the virus. They typically last about one to five days and may include: Mild fever of 102 F (38.9 C) or lower; Headache; Stuffy or runny nose; Inflamed, red eyes; Enlarged, tender lymph nodes at the base of the skull, the back of the neck and behind the ears; A fine, pink rash that begins on the face and quickly spreads to the trunk and then the arms and legs, before disappearing in the same sequence.” – Mayo Clinic.

 

July the 6th [Camp Smith]

My health is improving now again finally. If I can keep mending 2 or 3 days more as I have for 2 days I will be well. I have quit discharging blood, have not discharged any in 30 hours & my bowels feel like they are getting well & they are not moving more than 4 times a day. I think today I will be much better than usual. We have most pleasant weather here now I ever saw at this season. It’s clear and cool and the wind stirring like fall of the year. I had almost concluded there was no Yankees about here till I heard them shooting on the 4th. There is plenty of cannon whether there are any Yankees with it or not. I suppose they fired some 2 hundred big guns at 1 o’clock at 2 or 3 different points. I have nothing else to write. Thomas Doswell has just this minute come into camp. I want to see him right soon. get my watch home.

I remain,

Ned

By August Ned’s health was improved. He returned to his unit at Causton’s Bluff and on August 26, 1862 was elected Junior 2nd Lieutenant.   On August 10, 1862, Ned Holmes wrote a letter home to his family.

Camp Costons Bluff,[Near Savannah] Aug. 10, 1862

Dear Mat and Viney,
I write you a few lines that leaves me about well except my mouth. I never was in such a fix with fever blisters before. I received a letter from you, Santanna just a few minutes ago. Alex Gamble is going to start home tonight. I will send this by him. I think my fever is broken entirely up. I have not had any since Friday morning so I feel as well as I did before I was taken. There is a deal good of sickness around —– but they are also not dying as fast as they were ten or fifteen days ago. There is a heap of heavy shooting going on today in the direction of Fort Pulaski. I don’t know what it means.

They are fixing up a volunteer company right now to go to Wilmington Island, a place we have never scouted.
It’s beyond Whitemarsh and from where we are camped and on the way to Fort Pulaski. I don’t know what information they expect to obtain by going to Wilmington. It’s all under the General of the Fort [Pulaski, captured by U.S. Army forces from Tybee Island on April 11, 1862,] and they never expect to hold it unless the fort is retaken which will never be done for there is nothing here to take it with. Morris is well. Miles is getting well. John Nobles is right sick. Washer Nobles came into our company this morning to stay. I may get off home when Sim gets back. I don’t know. Everbody has been here longer than I have. I will be there by the first of September anyway if I keep well. And I am not afraid of being sick anymore this summer.

Love, Ned

P.S. Tell Mike if there are any of Cook’s pills there to send me some. And I can manage my own cases.

In September 1862 Ned Holmes was on detached duty.  He was later reported as “wholly incompetent & probably physically unfit to hold office.

In 1863, Ned Holmes and the 25th Georgia Regiment would be sent to north Mississippi, forming part of the army assembled for the relief of Vicksburg. The The Berrien Minute Men and the 29th Georgia Regiment were also sent to join that effort.

Related Posts

Causton’s Bluff Part 4: Arrival of the 29th GA Regiment

Berrien Minute Men Arrive at Causton’s Bluff

On the night of April 16, 1862 the Berrien Minute Men, Company D, 29th Georgia Regimen moved to Causton’s Bluff, between Savannah and Tybee Island.   They came along with other companies of the 29th Georgia Regiment to reinforce the 13th Georgia Regiment which had fought an engagement with Federal troops of the 8th Michigan Infantry the evening before on Whitemarsh Island.  Causton’s Bluff was also the site of Camp Stonewall Jackson, the encampment of the 47th Georgia Regiment.

The Berrien Minute Men Company D, under command of John Carroll Lamb, was the second of two companies of that name going forth from Berrien County, GA in 1861.  They had made their campfires most of the previous year at coastal defenses of Georgia, first on Sapelo Island and then around Savannah, GA.

The Berrien Minute Men Company D had been encamped at Camp Tattnall, Savannah, GA and from that vantage point had witnessed the Federal bombardment and recapture of Fort Pulaski by U.S. Army forces from Tybee Island on April 11, 1862, exactly one year to the day from the Confederate seizure of Fort Sumter.  Within the week the Federal forces were probing the Confederate pickets on Whitemarsh Island, prompting the move of the 29th GA Regiment up to Causton’s Bluff.

  1. Causton’s Bluff Part 1: The Key to Savannah
  2. Causton’s Bluff Part 2: Challenge from Tybee
  3. Causton’s Bluff Part 3: War on Whitemarsh Island
  4. Causton’s Bluff Part 4: Arrival of the 29th GA Regiment
  5. Causton’s Bluff Part 5: Tidewater Time

 

Harmon Neal Baldree served with the Berrien Minute Men, Company K, 29th Georgia Regiment. In June, 1862 he was on detached duty as a ferryman at Causton's Bluff on St. Augustine Creek near Savannah, GA

Harmon Neal Baldree served with the Berrien Minute Men, Company D (K), 29th Georgia Regiment at Causton’s Bluff near Savannah, GA. In June, 1862 he went on detached duty as a ferryman on St. Augustine Creek at Causton’s Bluff

The Berrien Minute Men had arrived at Causton’s Bluff in the middle of the night on April 16th, having been aroused by an alert and summoned as reinforcements. After a quick march in darkness they took up a position at the bluff, only to find by morning it was to be their new encampment. Their equipment was sent down the next day.  Berrien Minute Men Company D (K) and most of the other companies of the 29th Regiment spent May of 1862 at Causton’s Bluff.  The Ocklocknee Light Infantry, Company E, was at Debtford Plantation adjacent to Causton’s Bluff.  Berrien Minute Men Company C (G) continued to serve at Battery Lawton on the Savannah River.

In some ways, the arrival of the Berrien Minute Men must have been similar to the experience described by Walter Augustus Clark upon his arrival at Thunderbolt battery, overlooking the marsh just south of Causton’s Bluff:

My earliest recollections of Thunderbolt is associated with a fruitless effort to mix turpentine soap and salt water. We had reached the place tired and dusty and dirty. As soon as the ranks were broken, the boys divested themselves of their clothing and soaping their bodies thoroughly plunged into the salt water for a bath. The result may be imagined. The dirt and dust accumulated in streaks, which no amount of scrubbing could dislodge for it stuck closer than a postage stamp.

For some men, the prospect of duty on theriver batteries  was unbearable. On April 21, in a downpour, two men deserted their post at Thunderbolt Battery and made their way to pickets of the 48th NY Volunteer infantry, where they surrendered. The deserters carried word that there was a reign of terror in Savannah. The deserters were taken down to Gen. Viele’s headquarters on Daufuskie Island.

The 29th Regiment’s move to Causton’s Bluff may have presented a welcome distraction to Lieutenant Thomas J. Perry of the Berry Light Infantry.   At Camp Wilson, a previous encampment of the 29th Regiment, Lt. Perry had gotten into a Regimental Feud with an officer of the 25th Georgia Regiment, publicly condemning gambling and loose discipline among the men of the 25th Regiment. Lieutenant W.P.M. Ashley of 25th Regiment had Perry hauled before a military tribunal and courtmartialed.  Lieutenant Perry was still awaiting the sentencing of the court. In early May, he was relieved to learn that the sentence from his court martial was a mild one: a reprimand from the Colonel and one week’s suspension. Ready to get on with the business of the regiment, Perry wrote:

Causton’s Bluff, near Savannah, GA
May 8, 1862

Our Regiment is on picket duty on Oakland [Oatland] and Whitmarsh Island [Whitemarsh Island], in connection with the 13th Regiment and 11th Battalion. We have had no fighting yet, though we are sometimes in shooting distance of the Yankees…There are no prospects of a fight here soon…The weather is remarkably pleasant. Days moderately warm and nights cool. The sea breeze is delightful. There is but a few cases of sickness in our company. It is much more healthy here than our up country friends would suppose. We have good water, but not so good as you have in Floyd [County]. 

Perry’s assessment of the healthfulness of the camp at Causton’s Bluff would turn out to be overly optimistic. The 29th Georgia Regiment had yet to face the oppressive heat and pestilence of summer on the marsh. The men at Causton’s Bluff would suffer with mosquitoes, fleas, sandflies,  fever, malaria, measles, tonsillitis, mumps,  wounds, typhus, dysentery, pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis, hepatitis, and rheumatism.

At Thunderbolt Battery, Walter Augustus Clark wrote further of summer conditions on the marsh:

We fought and bled, it is true, but not on the firing line. The foes that troubled us most, were the fleas and sand flies and mosquitoes that infested that section. They never failed to open the spring campaign promptly and from their attacks by night and day no vigilance on the picket line could furnish even slight immunity. If the old time practice of venesection as a therapeutic agent was correct in theory our hygienic condition ought to have been comparatively perfect. During the “flea season” it was not an unusual occurrence for the boys after fruitless efforts to reach the land of dreams, to rise from their couches, divest themselves of their hickory shirts and break the silence of the midnight air by vigorously threshing them against a convenient tree in the hope of finding temporary “surcease of sorrow” from this ever-present affliction. It was said that if a handfull of sand were picked up half of it would jump away. I can not vouch for the absolute correctness of this statement, but I do know that I killed, by actual count, one hundred and twenty fleas in a single blanket on which I had slept the preceding night and I can not recall that the morning was specially favorable for that species of game either. I remember further that as we had in camp no “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,” I corked up an average specimen of these insects to see how long he would live without his daily rations. At the end of two weeks he had grown a trifle thin, but was still a very lively corpse. But these were not the only “ills, that made calamity of so long a life,” for as Moore might have said, if his environment had been different,

“Oft in the stilly night,
Ere slumber’s chain had bound me,
I felt the awful bite
Of ‘skeeters buzzing ’round me “

Their bills were presented on the first day of the day of the month and, unfortunately, on every other
day. At our picket stations on Wilmington and Whitemarsh Islands and at the “Spindles” on the river where the young alligators amused themselves by crawling up on the bank and stealing our rations, there was a larger variety known as gallinippers, from whose attacks the folds of a blanket thrown over our faces was not full protection.

But there were still others. On dress parade in the afternoons, while the regiment was standing at “parade rest” and no soldier was allowed to move hand or foot until Richter’s band, playing Capt. Sheppards Quick stephad completed its daily tramp to the left of the line and back to its position on the right, the sandflies seemed to be aware of our helplessness and “in prejudice of good order and military discipline” were especially vicious in their attack upon every exposed part of our anatomy Capt. C. W Howard, I remember, was accustomed to fill his ears with cotton as a partial protection. I have seen Charlie Goetchius, while on the officers’ line in front of the regiment, squirm and shiver in such apparent agony that the veins in his neck seemed ready to burst. Neither whistling minies, nor shrieking shells, nor forced marches with no meal in the barrel nor oil in the cruse ever seemed to disturb his equanimity in the slightest degree. Quietly and modestly and bravely he met them all. But the sandfly brigade was a little too much for him. In addition to these discomforts, the salt water marsh, near which we were camped, never failed to produce a full crop of chills and fever… Of the one hundred and fifteen men in our ranks only three escaped an attack of this disease. The writer was fortunately one of the three. One man had fifty-three chills before a furlough was allowed him. Quinine was scarce and boneset tea and flannel bandages saturated with turpentine were used as substitutes. Whiskey was sometimes issued as a preventative. In pursuance of a resolution formed on entering the service I never tasted the whiskey and as soon as my habit on this line became known, I was not subjected to the trouble of looking up applicants for the extra ration.

At Causton’s Bluff in May, 1862 Joel J. Parrish, Berrien Minute Men,  went out on sick furlough; despite his absence he was promoted to Sergeant on May 13th.  Charles R. Oliver, Alapaha Guards, was absent sick, but returned and in August was on special duty as a nurse; he later deserted. Reuben Dollar and Isaac B. Stroud, Berry Infantry, came down sick and went home. Dollar was sent to the convalescent camp at Springfield, GA & never returned to the unit. John G. Stroud and John L. Tanner, Berry Infantry, were at hospital in Augusta, GA.  James Sellars, 17th Patriots, contracted measles and was sent to Guyton Hospital at Whitesville, GA. On May 11, 1862, Isaac Watson, Thomas Volunteers, was certified disabled at Causton’s Bluff because of fever and rheumatism. On May 12, 1862,  Joseph N. Singletary, 17th Patriots, died at Screvens Ferry, and George W. Fletcher, Alapaha Guards, was sent home with an “indolent ulcer” on his right leg that went clear down to the bone.   Richard M. Aycock, Berry Infantry, was discharged on May 14, by reason of a severe cut across his foot with an axe which he received before he came into the service.  W. E. Carter, Thomas Volunteers, died of pneumonia May 15, 1862. Daniel M. Banks, Berry Infantry, got sick and was sent to Savannah where he died of fever May 15, 1862. William Ferris, Berry Infantry, on May 15 was at Augusta and died of fever.

Letter from Headquarters of the 29th Georgia Regiment, Causton's Bluff, Savannah, GA supporting discharge of T. S. Gregory on account of consumption. Written May 17, 1862 by Captain, George P. Burch, Thomas Volunteers.

Letter from Headquarters of the 29th Georgia Regiment, Causton’s Bluff, Savannah, GA supporting discharge of T. S. Gregory on account of consumption. Written May 17, 1862 by Captain, George P. Burch, Thomas Volunteers.

James H. Archer, Thomasville Guards, got sick and went home; he died of typhoid dysentery in his mother’s house on May 18, 1862. On May 20, 1862, Frederick Green Thompson, 17th Patriots, died of pneumonia at Screvens Ferry. T.S. Gregory, Thomas Volunteers, who being too weakened and impaired for duty had been serving as a nurse for the previous two months, was discharged at Causton’s Bluff on May 21, 1862 with consumption. James Jones, Alapaha Guards, was discharged May 22, 1862 on account of chronic nephritis. Wesley A. Pugh, Ocklochnee Light Infantry was discharged May 23, 1862 with tertiary syphilis, chronic rheumatism, and chronic hepatitis. On May 24, Lewis J. Collins, Thomas Volunteers, died of typhoid fever at Causton’s Bluff. Philip Schiff, 4th corporal of the Thomasville Guards, 29th GA Regiment, was found physically unfit for duty and discharged on May 26, 1862. Robert A. McKinnon, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, died of typhoid fever on May 27,1862. John E. Dickey , Ochlocknee Light Infantry, got sick in May, went to the hospital and never returned. On May 28, 1862, Waldo McCranie, Berrien Minute Men, was discharged on account of rheumatism; he reenlisted in 1863. On May 29, 1862 Cpl. R. M. Hancock, Thomas Volunteers, died of typhoid fever at Causton’s Bluff. James N. Winn, Ocklochnee Light Infantry was sick at hospital in Savannah; the following month he furnished John E. Bryan as a substitute and received a discharge. Jasper M. Luke, Berrien Minute Men, was discharged about this time with chronic rheumatism. Matthew Godwin, Thomas Volunteers was discharged on account of tuberculosis on May 31, 1862 – the regimental assistant surgeon was of the opinion Godwin suffered from “a hereditary taint in his blood” since his mother also had tuberculosis.

On May 11, 1862, the Federals made another showing on Whitemarsh Island opposite Causton’s Bluff:

Savannah Republican

More Prisoners. – Our pickets on the marsh opposite Causton’s Bluff captured another respectable batch of Yankee Prisoners yesterday afternoon [May 11, 1862], and without firing a gun.
         It seems two detachments were sent out from the 13th Georgia, and stationed in the marsh near Augustine creek. During the afternoon a boat was heard coming from towards Wilmington, when the nearest party threw themselves down in the marsh and awaited its arrival opposite them. Unconscious of danger, the Federals rowed up to within a few yards of the pickets, when the latter suddenly sprang to their feet and ordered a surrender. Taken by surprise, and unarmed, the entire party, numbering fifteen, gave up and came ashore. They were taken in custody by Colonel [Marcellus] Douglass and brought to town for safe keeping.
         The prisoners are fifteen in number – six officers, good looking, well dressed men, and the remainder seamen, all from the steamer Sumter, stationed off Wilmington. They were doubtless reconnoitering, but say they were bound for Fort Pulaski, on a trip of pleasure. The capturing party consisted of only four.

Federal gunboats periodically challenged the Confederate batteries, trying to navigate through the marshes into St. Augustine Creek. Cannon fire from the batteries overlooking Whitemarsh Island was easily heard by the men of the Berrien Light Infantry, Company I, 50th Georgia Regiment encamped some three miles west near Fort Brown. On May 18, 1862 Sergeant Ezekiel Parrish of the Berrien Light Infantry wrote of hearing the cannonade of Thunderbolt Battery:

May 18, 1862, Savannah, GA

We heard some heavy firing of cannon last night about 9 o’clock. There was ten or fifteen fired in quick succession and then at intervals of ten or fifteen minutes I heard some four of five of the heaviest guns I ever heard in my life. Some thought the fight had commenced but up to this time all is quiet here as far as regards a general engagement with the common enemy. I heard that the shooting we heard was at Thunderbolt battery firing at one of the enemy’s gunboats that was trying to poke by our batteries and reports say she made the best of her way back to her own quarter.

Confederate Picket Station.  The Berrien Minute Men, and the 29th Georgia Regiment were stationed at the post on Causton's Bluff  and did picket duty on Whitemarsh Island and at Caper's Battery.

Confederate Picket Station.  The Berrien Minute Men, and the 29th Georgia Regiment were stationed at the post on Causton’s Bluff  and did picket duty on Whitemarsh Island and at Caper’s Battery.

Men from Causton’s bluff were constantly rotated on picket duty or patrolling on Oatland and Whitemarsh Island and the surrounding creeks.  A ferry was kept at a dock below the bluff to move the men across St. Augustine Creek. In June, 1862, Pvt Harmon N. Baldree, Berrien Minute Men, and Pvt Mitchell Griffin, Thomas Volunteers, were among the men on detached duty as ferrymen. Lieutenant Thomas J. Perry of the Berry Light Infantry wrote on May 20,

Causton’s Bluff, Near Savannah, Ga.

May 20, 1862

Since my last letter we have lost, by death, two more member of our company – Daniel M. Banks and W. N. Farris, the former died in the city at St. John’s Hospital, the latter in the Augusta Hospital. This makes four we have lost. The entire company deeply sympathise with the friends and relatives of each, although they did not die on the battlefield, in the defense of their homes and firesides, yet they fill a soldier’s grave and are justly entitled to the Honor as tho’ they did, for they have been found in the line of battle more than once, for the purpose of meeting the enemy in a deadly conflict. When sickness did not prevent, they were true and trusty.
There is but few on the sick list at present, none seriously so. Our duties are laborious at present. Our company have to go on the Island every four days, in addition to working on the fortifications.
While on the island today we saw a large balloon go up from Fort Pulaski, several times, and remain up several minutes at a time.
There does not seem to be any prospect of a fight here soon, if ever. If there is any it will doubtless be a river fight, and if we don’t whip the fight, it will not be because we had not time to prepare for it.
Recruits are coming in rapidly to the different companies, swelling their ranks to a respectable size.
Floyd.

In June 1862,  Colonel Claudius C. Wilson, was present on special duty as commander of the post at Causton’s Bluff; his regular duty was commander of the 25th Georgia Regiment.

In June, 1862, sickness at Causton’s Bluff continued to take a toll on the effectiveness of the 29th Georgia Regiment.  Jacob Marks and John T. Barker of the Berrien Minute Men were among many who were absent sick.  Isaac Baldree, Berrien Minute Men, was at the general hospital at Guyton and J.S. Massey, Thomasville Guards, was “absent sick in hospital”; both were discharged by civil authority in August. William W. Spencer, Captain of the Ocklochnee Light Infantry, who had been on station at Camp Mackey went on sick furlough. Abel A. Braswell, Seventeenth Patriots, went on sick furlough and was discharged by civil authority in September. John W. Callahan, Berry Infantry, was furloughed on sick leave and was absent sick for seven months. William Shores, Berry Infantry, was absent sick in June and July. John Johnston, 1st Lt of the Stephens Volunteers was sick at Causton’s Bluff, then under arrest for two months before going back on the sick roll; in December, 1862, he was detailed as an enrolling officer. Isaac H. Carter, 17th Patriots, went on sick leave in June and died of disease October 10, 1862. Council Singletary, 17th Patriots, was on sick furlough. Benjamin P. Singletary, Thomas Volunteers, was absent sick, then detailed to work in the regimental hospital. Asa C. Crowe, Stephens Volunteers, discharged with disability at Causton’s Bluff, June 3, 1862 because of an old accidental gunshot wound to his left hand.  On June 9, 1862, Corporal John A. Money, an over-age soldier of the Berrien Minute Men, was discharged at Causton’s Bluff, being disabled by frequent attacks of intermittent fever. Lt Robert Thomas Johnson, Thomas Volunteers, went home sick from Causton’s Bluff on June 10 and Lt. John Green Lindsey, Seventeenth Patriots, died of disease that same day.  Sgt Sherod S. Little, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, was discharged for disability on June 22, 1862 after suffering an acute attack of rheumatism and pericarditis. William G. Price Ocklochnee Light Infantry, reported as a substitute for Michael H. Young, but was detailed June 26, 1862 as a tailor. William Cowart, Berrien Minute Men, enlisted November 18, 1861 and was discharged for disability on June 26, 1862; Captain J. D. Knight said he has “been unfit for duty two thirds of the time since he has been in the service, has had measles, tonciliatus, mumps, fever, and seems to have indication of dropsey.” Tim G. Whiddon, Thomas Volunteers went to St. John’s Hospital, Savannah and died of typhoid fever on June 26, 1862. Daniel B. Lammons, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, went on sick leave in June and died of typhoid fever in Thomas County on the 4th of July, 1862. On June 30, 1862, Samuel Staten, Alapaha Guards, was reported sick in an Augusta, GA hospital.

On June 11th, 1862 the Chatham Artillery joined the garrison at Causton’s Bluff, having moved from their previous station at Camp Hardee on Cedar Hammock. (A detachment of the Chatham Artillery had been captured at the fall of Fort Pulaski.) The camp of the Chatham Artillery at Causton’s bluff was named Camp Stonewall Jackson.  A Historical Sketch of the Chatham Artillery provides a complete roster of the company on arrival at the bluff and describes the conditions of the encampment:

Situated as was the camp in the vicinity of the rice fields, low grounds, and brackish marshes of the Savannah river, and therefore in the midst of a truly malarial region, the men suffered so generally and so severely from fevers, that at one time there were scarcely cannoneers enough in camp to perform guard duty, or drivers to attend to stable duties. Several deaths occurred…

Junior 1st Lieutenant John E. Wheaton wrote:

June 11th – Vacated the camp at Cedar Hammock and camped at Causton’s Bluff, in company with a brigade of infantry in command of Col. C.C. Wilson. The guard and picket duty there was severe, and the situation one of the most unhealthy in Chatham county. A large number of the men were made sick. Privates Wylly J. Cash and James Rafferty died in hospital at Savannah, August 7th, and Private W. H. Elliot at Cartersville, Ga., August 12th.  – Reminiscences of the Chatham Artillery during the war 1861-1865

In mid-June the first tropical storm of the 1862 season moved off the coast of Georgia. It formed approximately 340 miles (550 km) east of Savannah, Georgia on June 15 and moved slowly north before dissipating a few days later. The Savannah Morning News reported: Rain and Thunder Storm. – We had a heavy fall of rain last night, accompanied with high wind, vivid lightning and thunder. Between ten and eleven o’clock the storm raged with great fury, the rain descending in torrents, the heavens continually illuminated with the flashing lightning, followed by teriffic peals of thunder. While sheltered from the storm we could but think what a terrible night it was for our soldiers in camp.

At Causton’s bluff, the 4th of July, 1862 passed with ambivalence. But Independence Day was still marked by the Federal troops occupying the coastal areas. At Fort Pulaski, Pvt. William B. Howard, 48th NY Volunteers, wrote in his Journal:

July 4th 1862
Beautiful day. not much of a fourth in Dixie[.] fired a salute of, 13 guns. Went over to Dawfuskie [Daufuskie] Island in the afternoon, took a walk around our old camp ground. Co B doing picket duty over there. returned about Sun down [Sundown[.] Major O. T. Beard made a speeck [speech?] to the Regt. fiew [view?], fire works in the evning [evening].

Private Ned Holmes, 25th Georgia Regiment garrisoned at Causton’s Bluff, wrote home:

I had almost concluded there was no Yankees about here till I heard them shooting on the 4th. There is plenty of cannon whether there are any Yankees with it or not. I suppose they fired some 2 hundred big guns at 1 o’clock at 2 or 3 different points.

Regimental returns for July 1862 from the Berrien Minute Men Company D are sparse, but it seems the health of the company suffered as much as any at Causton’s Bluff. On July 27, 1862 Sergeant John W. Hagan wrote, “The company is very sickly & dose not seem to improve. The health of the troops at this post is very bad. We have had 3 deaths in 24 hours & others expecting to die evry day.”  That month, Stephen Roberts and Guilford Tomlinson, Alapaha Guards, were at a convalescent camp; Roberts died of pneumonia the following month at the Springfield convalescent camp. Lt. Thomas J. Perry, Berry Infantry, was absent sick, but returned in August. James Rhodes, Berry Infantry, went to hospital and was furloughed home to recover; he was back in November, detailed as a ferryman. James W. Ferris, Berry Infantry, was sent to Springfield convalescent camp, then to hospital and eventually deserted. Thomas Allen and  George W. Kirk, Stephens Volunteers, were at convalescent camp; Allen spent the rest of the year in the hospital or furloughed sick.  Merritt A. Chandler, Stephens Volunteers, was sent to the hospital at Whitesville, GA then was in and out of hospitals until February, 1863, when he was diagnosed with “Tertian Fever,” a type of malaria in which the fever spikes every three days. Calvin H. Kytle, Stephens Volunteers, went to the hospital in Savannah. Nathaniel Bryan, Seventeenth Patriots, went on sick furlough. John D. Hires, Wiliam F. Southwell, Lt William Pendarvis, Moses W. Spence, James H. Hodges John T. Strickland, William Thornton and William F. Southwell, Georgia Foresters, were sick in the hospital. Hodges would be out for four months, Strickland six months, Southwell and Thornton never returned. Spence was detailed as a nurse. Randall Phinnie, Thomas Volunteers, was absent sick. F. M. Rawls and J. S. Rawls went to the convalescent camp. F.M. Rawls headed home without leave and died December 9 in Thomas County. J. S. Rawls was sent to Springfield and never returned. James W. Farris, Berry Infantry, went to a convalescent camp and was out five months. Toliver Trapp, Berry Infantry, was at convalescent camp; he had been working as a nurse in the Savannah hospital. Reuben R. Pyles, 17th Patriots, was at the Convalescent camp. Barry Scoggins, 17th Patriots was under arrest at Oglethorpe Barracks, Savannah; he escaped in November 1862. On July 2, 1862, John Muller reported as a substitute for John G. Fondren and deserted the same day. Hayes Singletary, who had enlisted in the 17th Patriots in May, died of pneumonia on July 3, 1862 at Causton’s Bluff. On the 4th of July, 1862, James Sellars, 17th Patriots, died of pneumonia at Guyton Hospital. On July 10, John Tomlinson, Alapaha Guards, furnished a substitute to serve in his place. J. Peacock, 17th Patriots, died of fever, July 10, 1862. On July ll, 1862, Lewis Ebbinger, who worked in the company commissary of the Ocklochnee Light infantry, died of congestive chill. J. Kilby Carroll was discharged at Causton’s Bluff on July 16, 1862 as “incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of chronic ulceration of the leg“; he later was sent to Ocmulgee Hospital, Macon, GA and worked in the Confederate States Laboratory, the center of Confederate States Ordnance testing and production. Patrick W. McKinnon, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, died of typhoid fever July 18, 1862. William J. McKinnon, Ocklochnee Light Infantry, went to a hospital at Whitesville, GA; he died August 28th, 1862. B.F. Fudge, Thomasville Guards, was at a convalescent camp; he was discharged in August for being over age. Thirty-six-year-old Jarrod Johnson, who joined at Darrien, GA, had been incapacitated by rheumatism every single day of his enlistment and was discharged on certificate of disability on July 19, 1862. On July 22, 1862 Dempsey Griffin, Thomas Volunteers, died of pneumonia at Causton’s Bluff. G. W. Martin, Thomasville Guards, caught Typhoid pneumonia and received a certificate of disability for discharge at Causton’s Bluff, July 23, 1862. That same day, July 23, Cpl. William T. Connally and Wilber W. Williams, Stephens Volunteers, and Duncan R. McIntosh, 17th Patriots, died of fever in Savannah. James C. Smith, corporal of the Ochlockonee Light Infantry got sick and was sent to Guyton Hospital at Whitesville, GA where he died of intermittent fever on July 25, 1862. Greenberry Holt, 17th Patriots, enlisted at Causton’s Bluff on May 16 and died of jaundice and fever on July 28, 1862. William Harper and James H. Lester, Thomasville Guards, got sick in July. Harper spent four months in the hospital but eventually returned to the regiment and served until the end of the war. Lester went home and on July 28, 1862 died of typhoid fever.

In August, 1862  Josiah Goode, Stephens Volunteers, went sick to the Savannah hospital and after several months of illness was furloughed home; he died September 14, 1863 of chronic diarrhea. In Stephens Volunteers, Sgt William J. Poole left camp in August and died of fever in Franklin County, GA on September 16, the same day Sgt Lowrey G. Patterson died of fever at Causton’s Bluff. S. R. Taylor was assigned to duty as a hospital steward; the following month he was discharged, overage.

By August, the 25th Georgia Regiment had joined the garrison at Causton’s Bluff. This was probably to the consternation of Lieutenant Perry although he apparently refrained from further commentary on the morals of the 25th.

On August 10, 1862 Edward “Ned” Holmes, a 2nd Lieutenant  in the 25th Regiment, wrote to his family from Causton’s Bluff:

Camp Costons Bluff,[Near Savannah] Aug. 10, 1862

Dear Mat and Viney,
I write you a few lines that leaves me about well except my mouth. I never was in such a fix with fever blisters before. I received a letter from you, Santanna just a few minutes ago. Alex Gamble is going to start home tonight. I will send this by him. I think my fever is broken entirely up. I have not had any since Friday morning so I feel as well as I did before I was taken. There is a deal good of sickness around —– but they are also not dying as fast as they were ten or fifteen days ago. There is a heap of heavy shooting going on today in the direction of Fort Pulaski. I don’t know what it means. they are fixing up a volunteer company right now to go to Wilmington Island, a place we have never scouted.
It’s beyond Whitemarsh and from where we are camped and on the way to Fort Pulaski. I don’t know what information they expect to obtain by going to Wilmington. It’s all under the General of the Fort and they never expect to hold it unless the fort is retaken which will never be done for there is nothing here to take it with. Morris is well. Miles is getting well. John Nobles is right sick. Washer Nobles came into our company this morning to stay. I may get off home when Sim gets back. I don’t know. Everbody has been here longer than I have. I will be there by the first of September anyway if I keep well. And I am not afraid of being sick anymore this summer.

Love, Ned

P.S. Tell Mike if there are any of Cook’s pills there to send me some. And I can manage my own cases.

The Chatham Artillery vacated Causton’s Bluff on August 13, 1862, moving to White Bluff.  The Berrien Minute Men, Company D, 29th Georgia Regiment would remain at Causton’s Bluff through the first week of October.

Related Posts

Muster Roll of Berrien Minute Men, Co. D, 29th GA Regiment

Berrien Minute Men, Company D, was the second of two companies of men raised in Berrien County, GA during the Civil War.  The campfires of the Berrien Minute Men were made with the 29th Georgia Regiment.

MUSTER ROLL OF
COMPANY D, 29th REGIMENT GEORGIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
(Became Co. K, at reorganization May 7, 1862.)
ARMY OF TENNESSEE C. S. A.
BERRIEN, CLINCH & LOWNDES COUNTIES, GEORGIA
BERRIEN MINUTE MEN

  1. Lamb, John C., Captain October 1, 1861. See Private, enlisted, Co. C.
  2. Staten, James W., 1st Lieutenant November 20, 1861. Retired May 7, 1862. Elected Captain of Staten’s Company, 11th Regiment GA State Guards Cavalry (6 months troops), August 4, 1863. Mustered out, expiration term of service, about February 1864. Appointed on Relief Committee and served in that capacity until close of war.
  3. Parrish, Joel J., 2d Lieutenant November 7, 1861. See 3d Sergeant, Co. C.
  4. Knight, Jonathan D., Jr. 2d Lieutenant November 7, 1861. See Private, enlisted , Co. C.
  5. Knight, William W., 2d Sergeant October 1,1861. Died of chronic diarrhoea at Milltown, GA December 27, 1863.
  6. Hagan, John W., 3d Sergeant October 1, 1861. Captured near Atlanta, GA July 22, 1864. Paroled at Camp Chase, OH and transferred to City Point, VA for exchange, March 4, 1865. Received at Boulware & Cox’s Wharves, James River, VA, March 10-12, 1865. No later record.
  7. Millican, Thomas J., 4th Sergeant October 1, 1861. Discharged by civil authority at Savannah, GA August 19, 1862.
  8. Money, John A., 1st Corporal October 1, 1861. Discharged at Causton’s Bluff, GA June 9, 1862. Enlisted as a Private, enlisted in CO. H, 4th Regiment GA Cavalry (Clinch’s), September 1, 1863. Roll for June 1864, last on file, shows him present. No later record.
  9. Parrish, Henry E., 2d Corporal November 4, 1861. Died of typhoid fever at Lauderdale Springs, MS September 8, 1863.
  10. Knight, Barzilla, 3d Corporal November 4, 1861. Elected Jr. 2d Lieutenant May 7, 1862; 1st Lieutenant May 13, 1862. Killed at Chickamauga, GA September 19, 1863.
  11. Lastinger, Peter C., 4th Corporal October 1, 1861. On special duty at Camp Young December 1862. Paroled at Thomasville, GA May 24, 1865. (Born in Lowndes County, GA in 1834.)
  12. Baldree, Harmon N., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. On detached duty, ferryman at Causton’s Bluff, GA, June 1862. Pension records show he was wounded at Chickamauga, GA September 19, 1863. (Born in Tattnall County, GA in 1840.)
  13. Baldree, James H., Private, enlisted December 21, 1861. Died of pneumonia at Florence, SC January 2, 1863.
  14. Barker, John T., Private, enlisted December 13, 1861. Captured at Nashville, TN December 14, 1864. Released at Camp Douglas, IL June 18, 1865.
  15. Boggs, Ezekiel L., Private, enlisted January 3, 1862. Wounded in right hip at Jonesboro, GA August 31, 1864. Admitted to Ocmulgee Hospital at Macon, GA September 8, 1864, and transferred November 18, 1864, place not given. Pension records show he was in Atlanta, GA hospital, wounded, close of war. (Born in Clarke County, GA in 1842.)
  16. Brown, James J., Private, enlisted December 25, 1861. Died of camp fever at Savannah, GA April 14, 1862.
  17. Browning, Pierre (or Perry), Private. Captured at Franklin, TN December 17, 1864. Forwarded to Camp Chase, OH January 14, 1865, and died there of pneumonia February 12, 1865. Grave #1206, Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery.
  18. Carroll, Wyley F., Private, enlisted September 3, 1862. Captured near Atlanta, GA July 22, 1864. Paroled at Camp Chase, OH and transferred to City Point, VA for exchange, March 4, 1865. Received at Boulware & Cox’s Wharves, James River, VA, March 10-12, 1865. (Born in Alabama in 1837.)
  19. Chapman, Elbert J., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. On furlough December 31, 1861. Absent without leave December 31, 1862. Delivered to headquarters of regiment as a deserter May 30, 1863.  Executed by firing squad.
  20. Clements, John C., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. On sick leave December 31, 1861. Wounded at Jonesboro, GA August 31, 1864. Paroled at Thomasville, GA May 25, 1865.
  21. Couey, Samuel, Private, enlisted 1862. Captured near Nashville, TN December 16, 1864. Released at Camp Douglas, IL June 18, 1865.
  22. Cowart, William, Private, enlisted November 21, 1861. Discharged at Causton’s Bluff, GA June 26, 1862.
  23. Cox, Thomas W., Private, enlisted March 18, 1862. On duty as teamster December 31, 1862. No later record.
  24. Davis, James M., Private, enlisted November 21, 1861. Pension records show he was captured near Atlanta, GA July 22, 1864, and was paroled at Camp Chase, OH March 4, 1865. Furloughed for 60 days at Richmond, VA March 1865. (Born in Greene County, GA November 4, 1845.)
  25. DeLoach, James, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Wounded through both thighs at Jonesboro, GA August 31, 1864. Admitted to Ocmulgee Hospital at Macon, GA September 6, 1864, and transferred September 7, 1864. No later record. (Born December 25, 1844.)
  26. Duren, Richard, Private, enlisted December 6, 1861. Wounded at Chickamauga, GA September 19, 1863. Admitted to Floyd House & Ocmulgee Hospitals at Macon, GA October 1, 1863, and furloughed for 30 days October 31, 1863. Pension records show he was at home on wounded furlough close of war. (Born in Lowndes County, GA in 1838.)
  27. Finley, Alfred B., Private, enlisted December 25, 1861. Contracted measles and erysipelas in service, which resulted in loss of left eye. Captured near Nashville, TN December 16, 1864. Released at Camp Chase, OH June 12, 1865. (Born in GA January 15, 1840. Died at Nicholls, GA October 18, 1921.)
  28. Funderburk, Isaac C., Pension records show he enlisted October 1863, and surrendered at Greensboro, NC April 26, 1865. (Born in Gwinnett County, GA January 30, 1823.)
  29. Garrett, Benjamin S., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861.
  30. Gaskins, Harrison, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Pension records show he was wounded in both feet at Jonesboro, GA August 31, 1864, and furloughed for 60 days. Unable to return to command. (Born in GA)
  31. Giddens, Hardeman, Private, enlisted November 4, 1861. On extra duty as mail carrier October 31, 1862. On special duty at Camp Young December 31, 1862. No later record.
  32. Giddens, Isbin B., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Roll for December 31, 1861, last on file, shows him present. No later record.
  33. Giddens, John, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Died at Savannah, GA September 19, 1862.
  34. Giddens, John W., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Died of camp fever at Savannah, GA April 2, 1862.
  35. Giddens, Thomas C., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Died of camp fever at Savannah, GA March 26, 1862. Buried in Cave Hill Cemetery at Louisville,KY
  36. Giddens, William H., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Died of pneumonia at Springfield, GA September 14, 1862.
  37. Griffin, John M., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Appointed Sergeant in 1861. Roll for December 31, 1861, last on file, shows him on sick leave. No later record.
  38. Harrell, Hiram F., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Died of measles at Darien, GA February 4, 1863.
  39. Henry, John, Private, enlisted March 1862. Captured at Nashville, TN December 16, 1864. Released at Camp Douglas, IL June 19, 1865. (Born in Georgia in 1842.)
  40. Herndon, John, Private, enlisted December 25, 1861. Killed at Chickamauga, GA September 19, 1863.
  41. Hodges, Jesse (or Hodge), Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. On expired sick furlough October 31, 1862. Pension records show he was captured at Nashville, TN December 16, 1864, and sent to Camp Chase, OH or to Camp Douglas, IL No later record. Died in Berrien County, GA December 7, 1893.
  42. Hodges, William (or Hodge), Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Captured at Nashville, TN December 16, 1864. Died of pneumonia at Camp Chase, OH January 26, 1865. Grave #901, Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery.
  43. James, John A., Private, enlisted November 4, 1861. Sick at Springfield, GA
    September 30, 1862. Admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital at LaGrange, GA June 19, 1864. Killed at Murfreesboro, TN December 7, 1864.
  44. Johnson, Jarred, Private, enlisted December 5, 1861. Discharged on account of chronic rheumatism at Causton’s Bluff, GA, July 19, 1862.
  45. Lastinger, Elias, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. At Camp Young on special duty December 31, 1862. Killed at Peachtree Creek, GA July 20, 1864.
  46. Lastinger, Lacy E., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Captured at Nashville, TN December 16, 1864. Released at Johnson’s Island, OH June 16, 1865. (Born in Ware County, GA August 3, 1843. Died December 4, 1936. Buried at Adel, GA)
  47. Lindsey, M. R., Pension records show he enlisted May 10, 1862, was wounded in right shoulder at Kennesaw Mountain, GA June 27, 1864; was furloughed for 60 days in 1864, and was unable to return. (Born in GA)
  48. Luke, Jasper M., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Received pay for services from October 1, 1861, to February 7, 1862, on May 2, 1862, and was discharged, disability, date not given.
  49. Luke, John B., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. On detail, nurse in hospital, December 30, 1862. No later record.
  50. Mainer, Lovett B., Private, enlisted December 5, 1861. Died of chronic diarrhoea in Lowndes County, GA December 5, 1863.
  51. Marks, Jacob, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Absent, sick, June 1862. Pension records show he was wounded and permanently disabled at Chickamauga, GA September 19, 1863.
  52. McCranie, Elijah, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Roll for December 31, 1861, last on file, shows him present. Pension records show he was wounded and permanently disabled near Atlanta, GA August 7, 1864, and was on Provost Guard duty close of war. (Born in Lowndes County, GA December 6, 1839.)
  53. McCranie, Neil, Private, enlisted November 4, 1861. Died of pneumonia at Yazoo City, MS June 7, 1863.
  54. McCranie, Waldo C., Private, enlisted November 4, 1861. Discharged on account of rheumatism, at Causton’s Bluff, GA May 28, 1862. Pension records show he reenlisted in 1863 and was in Columbus, MS hospital close of war. (Born in Lowndes County, GA July 16, 1840.)
  55. McCutcheon, John, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Paroled at Thomasville, GA May 20, 1865.
  56. McDermid, Angus, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. On furlough September 30, 1862. Killed at Murfreesboro, TN December 7, 1864.
  57. McNabb, Daniel R., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Wounded at Chickamauga, GA September 19, 1863. Died of wounds near Dalton, GA September 22, 1863.
  58. Morris, Edward, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Died of camp fever and measles at Savannah, GA March 5 or 15, 1862.
  59. Nickens, William W., Private, enlisted October 5, 1861. Died at Mont- gomery, ALA October 3, 1863.
  60. O’Neil, James L., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Absent, sick, December 31, 1862. In French’s Division Hospital at Lockhart, MS August 31, 1863. No later record.
  61. Parrish, John A., Private, enlisted November 1, 1861. Absent, sick, December 31, 1861. In Convalescent Camp August 31, 1862. Wounded at Pine Mountain, GA June 14, 1864. Never returned to command.
  62. Parrish, Redding B., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Died of measles at Darien, GA December 17, 1861.
  63. Patterson, John R., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Appointed Sergeant. Wounded near Atlanta, GA August 1864. Died in Ford (or Foard) Hospital at Forsyth, GA August 14, 1864.
  64. Peeples, Joseph H., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Died of chronic diarrhoea at Lauderdale Spring, MS September 10, 1863.
  65. Peeples, William H., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Paroled at Thomasville, GA May 25, 1865.
  66. Pounds, James D., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Appointed Sergeant. Captured near Atlanta, GA July 22, 1864. Paroled at Camp Chase, OH and transferred to City Point, VA for exchange, March 4, 1865. Received at Boulware & Cox’s Wharves, James River, VA, March 10-12, 1865. No later record.
  67. Richardson, Eli T., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. At Convalescent Camp August 31, 1862. Pension records show he was at home on furlough close of war. (Born in Thomas County, GA in 1841.)
  68. Richardson, M. J., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Roll for December 31, 1861, last on file, shows him present. No later record. (Born in Coweta County, GA in 1834.)
  69. Sirmans, William S., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Captured at Atlanta, GA July 22, 1864. Paroled at Camp Chase, OH and sent via New Orleans, LA for exchange, May 2, 1865.
  70. Smith, George Pinkney, Private, enlisted 1862. Received within Union lines as a Confederate deserter June 18, 1864. Took oath of allegiance to U. S. Government, at Louisville,KY June 18, 1864, and was sent to be released north of Ohio River. (Born in South Carolina.)
  71. Strickland, Elias, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. On extra duty as teamster September 1862. No later record. Pension records show he contracted pneumonia on march with General Hood into TN Died at home.
  72. Strickland, Joseph, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Discharged by civil authority at Camp Young November 26, 1861.
  73. Tomlinson, Jonas, Private, enlisted November 21, 1861. Elected Lieutenant. Captured at Decatur, GA July 22, 1864. Released at Johnson’s Island, OH June 15, 1865.
  74. Tomlinson, Leonard H., Private, enlisted November 21, 1861. Absent, sick, December 30, 1862. No later record.
  75. Tomlinson, Samuel, Private, enlisted November 21, 1861. Wounded in right eye, resulting in loss of sight, and captured at Nashville, TN December 16, 1864. Released at Camp Chase, OH June 12, 1865.
  76. Touchstone, Charles S., Private, enlisted December 25, 1861. Discharged by civil authority at Camp Young November 28, 1862. Enlisted as a Private, enlisted in Co. H, 4th Regiment GA Cavalry (Clinch’s), September 20, 1863. Appointed 2d Sergeant. Paroled at Thomasville, GA May 10, 1865.
  77. Touchstone, Richard, See Private, enlisted , Co. C.
  78. Truett, Jacob, Private, enlisted December 5, 1861. Wounded in left shoulder at Murfreesboro, TN December 7, 1864. Admitted to Way Hospital at Meridian, MS, on account of wounds, January 19, 1865. Pension records show he surrendered at Greensboro, NC April 26, 1865. (Born in South Carolina February 9, 1834.)
  79. Watkins, W. F., Enlisted as a Private, enlisted in Co. D, 2d Battalion. GA Cavalry December 3, 1861. Transferred to Co. D, 29th Regiment GA Infantry January 7, 1862.
  80. Wheeler, Evans, Private, enlisted November 4, 1861. Roll for December 31, 1861, last on file, shows him present. No later record.
  81. Wheeler, William W., Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Captured at Nashville, TN December 16, 1864. Paroled at Camp Chase, OH and sent via New Orleans, LA for exchange, May 2, 1865. Received at Vicksburg, MS May 12, 1865.
  82. Williams, Joshua, Private, enlisted October 1, 1861. Deserted at Camp Young, December 28, 1862.

Related Posts

 

Causton’s Bluff Part 3: War on Whitemarsh

Causton’s Bluff Part 3: War on Whitemarsh

During February and March 1862, Confederate Troops at Causton’s Bluff had been in frequent skirmishes on Whitemarsh Island with Federal troops scouting from Tybee Island.

  1. Causton’s Bluff Part 1: The Key to Savannah
  2. Causton’s Bluff Part 2: Challenge from Tybee
  3. Causton’s Bluff Part 3: War on Whitemarsh Island
  4. Causton’s Bluff Part 4: Arrival of the 29th Georgia Regiment
  5. Causton’s Bluff Part 5: Tidewater Time

The Berrien Minute Men watched from Lawton Battery and Camp Tattnall when Fort Pulaski fell on April 11, 1862. Even from the distance of seven miles, the furious onslaught of artillery was a terrible scene to behold.

Bombardment of Fort Pulaski. Currier & Ives.

Bombardment of Fort Pulaski. Currier & Ives.

About a week later  U.S. troops from Tybee and Cockspur Islands made a reconnaissance of Wilmington Island. Brigadier General Quincy A. Gillmore’s purpose for ordering the mission was to determine “if any preparations by the enemy for boat expeditions against the hulk [USS Montezuma] on Lazaretto Creek or on the left of my position [were] being made.” Pickets from Causton’s Bluff had made contact with the Montezuma about March 27, 1862.

On April 16, 1862, A Federal mission under the command of  Lt. James Harrison Wilson and escorted by seven companies of the 8th Michigan Infantry Regiment led by Col. William M. Fenton,  were transported aboard the steamer Honduras (later commissioned the USS Honduras) from Goat Point at the mouth of Lazaretto Creek to Wilmington and Whitemarsh islands.

Steamer Honduras (later commissioned USS Honduras). Image courtesy of Florida Keys Public Libraries.

Steamer Honduras (later commissioned USS Honduras). Image courtesy of Florida Keys Public Libraries.

Landing rear companies on Wilmington Island at Screven’s Plantation, the Federal mission proceeded to land a force at Gibson’s Plantation on Whitemarsh Island. A work party of Confederate soldiers from Causton’s Bluff detected the landing party and reinforcements were quickly called up. A skirmish ensued in which both sides took losses.

Col. Marcellus Douglass filed an official after-action report with the Confederate States Army. Lieutenant Wilson and Col. William M. Fenton filed official U.S. Army reports.  On both sides of the conflict the size of the commands were understated, while the size of opposing forces were exaggerated.

The report of Col. Douglass was filed from Causton’s Bluff:

Headquarters Carston’s Bluff,

April 21, 1862.

Captain: I take this the first opportunity to make my report of the engagement between a portion of my command and a regiment of the enemy on Whitemarsh Island on the evening of the 16th instant:

The island lies east of this place, and between is the island called Oatland. I have for some time kept pickets and small scouting parties on Whitemarsh, knowing that the enemy occasionally visited it. On that day I had sent, under command of Lieut. Thomas G. Medders, of Company H, a party of about 45 men for scouting and picket duty. In the evening I took with me Capt. J. T. Crawford, of Company G; Lieut. B. T. Bowie, of same company, and 37 of their men, with axes, across to Oatland to have the trees on the island cut down. I required the men to carry with them their guns and cartridge boxes.

Soon after getting there and about 3 p. m. one of my pickets came in from Whitemarsh and told me that the enemy were landing at Mr. Gibson’s place, on the point of Whitemarsh next to Wilmington River, and that a steamer with about a regiment of men on board was lying in the river some 400 or 500 yards from the landing, and that Lieutenant Medders, with his men, had fallen back across the island to a cross-road some 2 miles from where the enemy were seen. I immediately started Captain Crawford, with his company of 37 men, to the place where Lieutenant Medders had halted. I gave to Captain Crawford instructions to remain at that point until I could return to camp and get an additional force, and also directed him to send out pickets from the cross-roads in two directions, one leading to Gibson’s place and the other to Turner’s place, which is on the point of Whitemarsh next to Augustine Creek, and in view from which is Skidaway Island. I then hurried back to camp, being delayed in crossing Augustine Creek. Taking with me three companies (A, B, and C), commanded respectively by Lieut. E. L. Connally and Capts. James McCallay and John L. Moore, I started for the island, hurrying the steamer Leesburg, at my command for this purpose. In order to take two chances of getting assistance to Captain Crawford I had Captain McCallay to land from the boat on Oatland, just across from the battery at this place, and directed him to hurry over to the cross-road on Whitemarsh, with orders that he and Captain Crawford should remain with their companies at that place until I could reach them with the two others, and not to attack the enemy until I joined them, unless they should ascertain that there was only a small party of the enemy, instead of a regiment, as reported to me by the pickets. My reason for not taking the three companies directly over Oatland to Whitemarsh was that the only means of crossing the stream between the two islands was a small boat that would carry about 10 or 15 men at once, and too much time would be consumed in this manner. I therefore went on the steamer with Companies A and C around to a landing on Whitemarsh. Being delayed at the mouth of Whitemarsh Creek about one hour the boat ran aground, and by the time I could get my men all on land it was near 5.30 o’clock.

In the mean time the pickets posted by Captain Crawford discovered a party of the enemy, about 50 strong, who had advanced 1 1/2 miles across the island. The pickets fired on them and fell back to the crossroad, and reported the number of men seen to be about 50 or 75, whereupon Captains Crawford and McCallay, after distributing between their two companies the scouting party under Lieutenant Medders, determined to endeavor to surround the enemy and capture or kill them. Captain Crawford with his force went the road toward Gibson’s, and Captain McCallay with his force up the road toward Turner’s, to where another road turned off to the left and led to Gibson’s place. Both parties met small parties of the enemy and the firing commenced, the force on each side being nearly equal. The enemy were driven back for 1 1/2 miles across little fields and skirts of woods to the Gibson house, where they sheltered themselves behind a hedge of cedar, and brisk firing began.”

This was the first firing I heard, the other being scattering and the noise of the steamer preventing those of us on board from hearing anything else. As soon, however, as we had landed and the reports of the guns were heard I started my men at a double-quick, having then 2 or 2 1/2 miles to go. This distance we made as quickly as possible. On the way I met several of the wounded men and those who were without cartridges coming back. At the distance of about half a mile or less from the Gibson house I met Captain Crawford with his men retreating across a small field, and learned from him that he and Captain McCallay, who with their forces had divided near the cedar hedge, had been overpowered after having sustained heavy loss and exhausted their ammunition, and were compelled to retreat, and that the enemy—a full regiment—were in hot pursuit. Seeing that Captain Crawford and all his men were completely worn out I ordered them to the rear, and formed my men in single rank along and just in the edge of a skirt of woods, ordering them to lie down and wait for the command to fire. Soon the enemy came, shouting as they came, apparently confident of overtaking and capturing the small party who had so long held them in check. The imprudence and impatience of one man prevented me from getting the enemy completely by surprise, and I believe in our power. He, contrary to orders, fired too soon, and knowing that a scattering fire would begin, I gave the command to fire, and one volley checked their progress and turned them back. They discharged their guns at us, but without effect. I kept my men in their position, expecting another advance, but no Yankee showed himself again. Soon Captain McCallay, about whom I felt great uneasiness, came in from a direction to the right of us, some of his men wounded and the rest without cartridges and all completely exhausted.

Night had then come on us, and having only about 60 men with cartridges and physically able to fight, I deemed it imprudent to pursue the enemy to their boats, knowing their overwhelming force of 800 men and also fearing an ambuscade, as a skirt of woods through which they retreated was between us, and we could not then ascertain whether they were fleeing or awaiting our advance.

On the next day I found that they had remained on the island only long enough to gather up their dead and wounded, as they had left knapsacks, cartridge boxes, canteens, haversacks, overcoats, blankets, &c., and a number of guns, all of which we gathered up. I also saw the doors that they had taken from the houses there and on which they had borne off their killed and wounded. The doors were very bloody.

During the first part of the engagement, and while Captains Crawford and McCallay were driving the enemy before them, a Federal lieutenant was mortally wounded, and from him the fact was ascertained that their force numbered 800 or 860; it was the Eighth Michigan. Another prisoner, who was taken with the lieutenant, also stated that the men we were fighting were not foreigners. Several caps were found with the letters of the companies to which the wearers belonged on them, showing that there were different companies. I also learn from the officers and men that while the fighting was going on in the field in front of and from here, just beyond the Gibson house, the enemy formed in line of battle and their entire force took part in the fight. Some time during the engagement the enemy landed some artillery (the tracks of the wheels were found by us the next day), but it was not brought into action at all, and I judge was carried back on the boat as quickly as it had been landed.

The officers of my command engaged were: Capt. J. T. Crawford and Lieut. B. T. Bowie, of Company G; Capt. James McCallay and Lieuts. A. W. Pearce and J. T. Horsley, of Company B; Capt. John L. Moore and Lieuts. T. M. Breed aud J. B. Breed, of Company C, and Lieuts. E. L. Connally and J. C. Steger, of Company A. Lieut. Thomas G. Medders, of Company H, was lieutenant of the scouting party sent out in the morning.

The whole force engaged at any one time was not over 90, some having been detailed as pickets to prevent surprise from the rear and to guard the steamer.

Below is a list of the casualties: *

Officers …………………………………………………… 3 wounded
Non-commissioned Officers ………………..1 wounded
Enlisted Men……………………………4 killed, 12 wounded
Total………………………………………….4 killed,  15 wounded

The loss of the enemy could not be ascertained, except approximately, by going over the ground and finding the bloody places which marked where they fell. There were quite a number of these, some of them indicating that those shot had bled very freely. Bloody garments were found, some caps that had been shot through, and the bloody doors upon which they had borne off their men; guns and various other things with blood on them indicate that the enemy suffered severely.

I had forgotten also to mention that the lantern they had used in searching for their dead and wounded was found the next day. In their haversacks were found plates, knives, and forks, butter-crackers, meat, &c., as if they had come prepared to remain on the island a day or two. They had also some ground coffee that they drooped in their hurry. The guns used by them were muskets, some of them large-bore Springfield muskets rifled.

The loss on our side, particularly in the ranks of Captain Crawford’s company (G), and the length of time they were fighting, show with what bravery they maintained their ground against overwhelming numbers—eight or ten to one.

I cannot omit to state my high appreciation of the skill and courage of Captains Crawford and McCallay and the valor of officers and men under them. Captain Crawford had command of the party until I arrived, and in his judgment and valor I have entire confidence. Captain McCallay nobly seconded him in every movement, and a braver, truer man cannot be found.

Individual instances of heroism and narrow escapes were reported to me, among them that of Garland Upshaw, of Company B, who in assisting in bearing off a wounded comrade had four bullet-holes made through his coat. Upshaw is quite a youth, and yet is considered one of the best scouts in the regiment. Private Pilkinton, of Company A, was shot just as he had loaded his gun, and after falling handed it to Captain McCallay, requesting him to discharge it at the foe. Captain Crawford and his men were nearly surrounded, and though exposed to fire from three directions bravely fought until they had no cartridges to use. Captain McCallay had a ball shot through his coat.

I have made this report too long, and yet not long enough to do full justice to the men who, less than 100, in a fair fight kept back 800 well armed Yankees for nearly an hour, and retreated only because they had no more ammunition with which to fight.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. DOUGLASS, Colonel, Commanding Post.
Gapt. Malloby P. King, A. A. G., Second Brigade.

 

The report of Lt Wilson was published by the New York Times, which incorrectly identified the source as Lieut. W.L.M. Burger.  Burger was indeed on the mission, but Official Records of the Union Army confirm that the following is the report of Lt. Wilson.

As a Lieutenant, James Harrison Wilson led the April, 1862 federal excursion on Wilmington Island.

As a Lieutenant, James Harrison Wilson led the April, 1862 federal excursion on Wilmington Island.

DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH.; A Severe Skirmish on Wilmington Island. A Reconnoitering Party Attacked by the Rebels. THE ENEMY REPULSED WITH LOSS, Ten of Our Men Killed and Thirty-five Wounded. OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE AFFAIR.

A skirmish occurred on Wilmington Island, above Fort Pulaski, on the 16th inst., the official report of which I send, and also a list of the killed and wounded. There is a discrepancy in the numbers of killed and wounded reported, and the list given me. I cannot explain it.

ON BOARD STEAMER HONDURAS,
OFF WILMINGTON ISLAND, Ga.,
April 17, 1862.

Lieut. W.L.M. Burger, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General Headquarters United States forces, Tybee Island, Ga.:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following for the information of the General Commanding:

Escorted by seven companies of the Eighth Michigan Volunteers, commanded by Col. Fenton, and a small detachment of the Rhode Island Artillery, I embarked on the steamer Honduras at Goat’s Point about 8 o’clock yesterday morning, for the purpose of making a reconnaissance of Wilmington Island.

Proceeding through Lazaretto Creek, Tybee River and Wilmington Narrows, to Scriven’s [Screven’s] plantation, two companies, (G and B,) about 115 men, under the command of Capt. Pratt, were landed, with orders to march at once to the southwest end of the island, skirting Turner’s Creek on the right, so as to cover the boat party which was to follow that stream to Wilmington River. Ascending to the junction of Oatland and Turner’s Creeks, the balance of the command, in all about 300 men, was landed at Gibson’s plantation [on Whitemarsh Island].

The first company ashore was directed to move at once to the southwest end of Whitemarsh Island, skirting Turner’s Creek, and with instructions to leave a small picket at the intersection of the roads leading from Gibson’s and Oatlands to Turner’s, till another company should arrive at that point. A third company was to be thrown out on the road to the ferry at Canton’s Bluffs [Causton’s Bluff], to protect the boat party up Oatland Creek. The two remaining companies were to be held in reserve at Gibson’s plantation.

Lieut. Caldwell and sixteen men of the Rhode Island Volunteers, with one light 6-pounder, were left in charge of the steamer. The gun could not be landed on account of the inability of the boat to lie alongside of the landing.

Having proceeded through Turner’s Creek to Wilmington River, I returned by the same route, and landed at Gibson’s. Directly after arriving there, I was informed that our patrols had discovered the enemy in force at or near Fleetwood’s, and had seen traces of them all the way to Turner’s. Col. Fenton had already given order for the advance companies to fall back to Gibson’s, and and his dispositions for repelling an attack and covering our embarkation.

After an examination of the ground, at my suggestion, one company was thrown further forward to take shelter behind the hedge and fence surrounding one of the houses. The Colonel had already designated this position, and stationed another in the woods lining the marsh on the left, and the balance behind the houses and trees nearer the landing. After these dispositions were completed, and between 4 and 6 P.M. the rebels, subsequently ascertained to be the Thirteenth Georgia Volunteers, about 800 strong, armed with Enfield rifles, preceded by a heavy line of skirmishers, made an attack upon our position. After our advance line had delivered its fire from the hedge, the bugles sounded “the charge” for the main body; this was confounded with “the retreat,” the advanced line abandoned its cover, and fell back through an open space towards the reserve. While in this somewhat confused condition, the enemy advanced rapidly, pouring in upon us a steady and destructive fire. Our men replied with spirit, from such cover as could be obtained. Order was soon reestablished, and the rebels held in check for an hour or more. After the ineffectual efforts of Col Fenton and myself to form enough men to charge their line and drive them from the hedge, a portion of one company was carried to the right and under cover of the timber skirting that side, the left flank of the enemy was met and frustrated in an attempt to move in that direction; an advance on the left and along the whole line, dislodged the enemy and put him in full flight. He fell back rapidly, leaving several dead and wounded on the field, and was closely pressed for half or three-quarters of a mile. As it was now almost night, it was not deemed advisable to continue the pursuit further. Our skirmishers were gradually drawn in, strong advanced guards were posted well out on both roads, and two companies again posted on the line of the hedge, and the fence to the right. After having made, these admirable dispositions of his force to secure our position, Col. Fenton then directed the removal of our killed and wounded to the steamer; and after holding the ground for three hours, the entire form was quietly embarked without further accident — though it must be confessed had the enemy renewed his attack while we were embarking, we should have suffered great loss.

Our five small boats could not remove more than fifty men every thirty minutes, and the steamer lay in such a position that the six-pounder could not be brought to bear without jeopardizing the lives of our own people.

Our loss is ten killed and thirty-five wounded. Among the former is Lieut. and Adjt. Pratt, who fell while gallantly cheering on the men. Lieut. Badger, in command of the advanced guard, was dangerously, if not mortally wounded, and fell into the hands of the enemy; but in the hurry of their retreat he succeeded in effecting his escape.

The loss of the enemy cannot be ascertained; two of their dead were left in our hands. One, mortally wounded, died before we disembarked; the balance were carried off.

I am, Sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C.H. WILSON,

First Lieutenant T.E. and Chief T.E., Department of the South.

KILLED AT WILMINGTON POINT.

Co. A. — Minor Pratt, Adjutant; Levi Conden, left temple; Asa Atherton, through head.
Co. B. — George Sparbuck, right lung; Charles A. Balley, throat; A. Vandenstack, right lung and right arm; Dessa Kapple, back and heart.
Co. H. — James E. Barton, right cheek and head.
Co. I. — Edwin Ayers, left thigh.
Co. K. — Eli Myers, lungs and back; —– Pestye, left side.
Co. A . — Carlos Delong, left arm and hip; Henry W. Caldwell, right breast and back; Warren Cole, through both hips; Aylmer Jennings, left thigh; Fred. Shillinger, left thigh; Barney Collins, right hand.
Co. C — Lieut. Badger, wounded in body, (mortally;) Franklin Moore, left foot; Silas Lurner, through the body; Ezekiel Cramer, right hand; Constantine Schloppi, left leg; Amos C. Walker, right leg; Lyman A. Andrews, right hip; Lewis Piper, left thigh.
Co. D — P.H. Hankinson, left wrist: Walter D. Smith, Engineer corps, left arm and back: Nicholas Carlin, right thigh; Andrew J. Coborne, inferior maxillary; James Cooper, right thigh.
Co. I — Wm. B. Golf, right shoulder and bach 5 Walter S. Ryans, hypogastric region; John R. Bunting, left ankle; Thos. Plinstock, left hand.
Co. K — Second Lieut. George Jennings, left leg.

There being a want of suitable hospital accommodations at Tybee, the wounded, by direction of Brigade-Surgeon J.J. Craven, were brought down here this morning on the Honduras to the general hospital.

The fact that the enemy fled, leaving us the field, notwithstanding their superior force, is regarded as having given us the best of the affray.

The Atlantic is just in, with New-York dates of the 14th inst.

The Oriental goes North to-day, carrying the mails and rebel officers, and 150 rebel prisoners,

J.M.W.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Colonel William M. Fenton, 8th Michigan Infantry also filed a report from the Honduras.

Colonel William M. Fenton, 8th Michigan Infantry, led skirmishes against Confederate troops from Causton's Bluff.

Colonel William M. Fenton, 8th Michigan Infantry, led skirmishes against Confederate troops from Causton’s Bluff.

Report of Col. William M. Fenton, Eighth Michigan Infantry. Headquarters Michigan Volunteers,

On Board Steamer Honduras,

Off Wilmington Island, Ga., April 16,1862—11 p. m. 

Sir: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that, in compliance with Special Orders, No. 41, I embarked with seven companies of the Eighth Michigan Regiment as an escort to Lieut. J. H. Wilson,Topographical Engineers, on a reconnaissance of Wilmington Island. Two companies, under command of Captain Pratt, were landed at Screven’s plantation, with orders from Lieutenant Wilson to skirt Turner’s Creek; the other live companies were landed at Gibson’s plantation. Two of these companies were ordered to skirt Turner’s Creek; a third was to take the road to the right toward ferry at Carston’s Bluff to protect boat party up Oatland Creek, and the remainder to secure the landing. After one company of the five was landed Lieutenant Wilson proceeded in a boat up Turner’s Creek. Owing to the small number of boats and the distance from the steamer (which was grounded) some delay occurred in the disembarkation. I directed Lieutenant Colonel Graves to follow with the second company to skirt Turner’s Creek, but being misdirected he took the road to the right toward Carston’s Bluff, and on landing with the remaining companies I received information from him that the enemy were in force at Fleetwood’s plantation and to the left of the wood. This rendered the reconnaissance of Oatland Creek with boat unsafe, and I ordered the companies all in, and stationing the remaining companies to guard against an attack at our landing sent out strong pickets on both roads. I believe the advance of company to the right instead of along Turner’s Creek saved my command, as it sooner enabled me to post the men to advantage and take a position from which the enemy’s approach could be observed. The enemy proved to be the Thirteenth Georgia, about 800 strong, armed with Enfield rifles. As they approached (about 4 o’clock p. m.) with a strong body of skirmishers in the skirt of woods below the road the companies I had stationed to the right and left of the road, in accordance with my instructions, opened fire. I immediately sounded the charge for advance of companies in the rear of first line. The first line, mistaking the signal, fell back to the next cover. A constant and effective fire was kept up on both sides from cover of trees and bushes for an hour or more. Lieutenant Wilson, who had returned with boat party, here proved of great service to me. He took a party at my request to the left, and I ordered a company to the right to flank the enemy. Both operations were successful, and in a few moments the enemy retreated in confusion, leaving several dead on the field, followed by our men with loud cheers.

It being now about sunset I recalled our troops, and giving to Lieutenant Wilson the command of pickets stationed to guard against surprise, formed the companies in line as originally posted, sent the dead and wounded in boats to the ships, and gradually and very quietly under cover of night withdrawing the men sent them on board as fast as our limited transportation would allow. At the last trip of the boats I embarked, accompanied by Lieutenant Wilson, Lieutenant Colonel Graves, and the remainder of my command, at about 10 o’clock p. m., and immediately brought on board the two companies left at Screven’s plantation. After the enemy retreated we were unmolested. It is due to the officers and men of the command to say that generally they behaved with cool and intrepid courage. Adjutant Pratt fell dead near my side, gallantly fighting musket in hand and cheering on the men. Our loss, I regret to say, was comparatively heavy—10 killed and 35 wounded out of a command of 300 men. Among the wounded is Acting Lieutenant Badger, of Company C, who was in charge of the advanced picket, and exhibited undaunted courage. He with one of his men was made prisoner. Both escaped, and were brought in when the enemy retreated.

The captain of the Honduras is deserving of great credit for his kind attention to the wounded. Indeed he afforded us every facility for the comfort of officers and men in his power. I respectfully refer to Lieutenant Wilson’s report, which I have road, and contains some facts not embraced in this report, among others in relation to the men detailed in charge of the field piece on board ship, who were vigilant and attentive.

Herewith is transmitted a list of casualties.*

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. M. FENTON,
Colonel, Commanding.

Lieut. W. L. M. Burger,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Tybee Island.

Again, the engagement on Whitemash alerted all regiments manning the batteries around Savannah.  Private Isaiah Smith at Beaulieu Battery  was called out in the middle of the night.

Thursday April the 17th 1862
I got up at 4 Oclock in the morning. We was ordered to cook one days rashing to go to Whitmarsh Island as the enemy had made an attact on our men but we did [not] get to go. I went on Co Drill at 9 Oclock – Isaiah Smith

At Camp Tattnall, the 29th Georgia Regiment was dispatched to reinforce Causton’s Bluff.  Berrien Minute Men Company D, and the 29th Georgia Regiment would take up station at Causton’s Bluff  and do picket duty on Whitemarsh Island and at Caper’s Battery. At the same time, and unbeknownst to the Confederate command, the 8th Michigan Infantry embarked on the USS Ben Deford for transportation back to Beaufort, SC.

A soldier of the 29th Georgia Regiment, Lieutenant Thomas J. Perry, wrote  to the Rome Courier newspaper from Causton’s Bluff:

Our Savannah Correspondence.

Causton’s Bluff, near Savannah,
April 19, 1862.

Dear Courier: Our Regiment was sent down here Wednesday night [April 16], to reinforce the 13th Georgia Regiment who had a fight with the Federals the evening before, on Whitmarsh Island [Whitemarsh Island], an account of which you have doubtless seen in the city papers.

But as the Yankees left the Island we were put to work on the fortifications here, and our tents sent down, so we will have to remain. This is a beautiful place, but it is very, objectionable, on account of the sand flies and gnats, which are exceedingly troublesome. The bluff is on what is called St. Augustine Creek. It is about as wide as Coosa River at low tide, and is navigable for vessels drawing twelve feet water.

Thunderbolt Battery is just below us on the same creek, Oakland Island [Oatland] is just opposite us and Whitmarsh just back of it, a small creek dividing them; Wilmington Island is still lower down. The Federals are trying to get possession of Whitemarsh and Oakland Islands, to erect a battery in order to shell out the battery here, and then take our guns and shell out Fort Jackson, and the city would then of course fall into their hands.— This is believed to be their programme.

Our company came down here thro’ a mistake of Col. [William J.] Young’s. We were detailed to guard the Depot to prevent the six months troops from returning but as we are here we will probably remain. Some of the Boys are returning from Augusta, and report the others improving- W. H. Mitchell, J. C. Andrews and W. E. Payne have returned this morning. Sixty-six have re-enlisted for the war. It takes no Conscription bill to make them do their duty.

Related Posts:

Levi J. Knight, Jr on List of Incompetent Confederate Officers

In the organization and command of the Berrien Minute Men it is noted that Levi J. Knight, Jr. was a nephew of Major Levi J. Knight who originally organized the Berrien Minute Men at Nashville, GA. Levi J. Knight, Jr. also served as an officer in the outfit; In  1861, he was elected 2nd Lieutenant.

In May 1862, Levi J. Knight, Jr was elected Captain of Berrien Minute Men Company C (later Company G), 29th Georgia Regiment. His election followed the resignation of Captain Thomas. S. Wylly. Captain Wylly may have resigned under financial pressure. The Savannah Daily Morning News reported May 19, 1862 that the State of Georgia had filed suit against him for collection of back taxes.

Captain Knight, Jr was detailed to take Company C to Battery Lawton, where they joined the Brunswick Rifles manning artillery defenses of the city. The Berrien Minute Men and Brunswick Rifles had encamped together at Brunswick.  (Berrien Minute Men Company D was manning the battery at Causton’s Bluff and other posts around the city.)

Lawton Battery

Lawton Battery was part of the complex of Advance River Batteries supporting Fort Jackson on the Savannah River. The battery site had been selected by General Robert E. Lee while on an inspection trip with Col. Edward C. Anderson on December 8, 1861. Anderson noted foundations for a gun Battery were already being constructed with slave labor on a mud island above Fort Jackson. The other sites included Smith’s Island and Huchinsons Island, and “at both which points the General ordered batteries to be erected.” Smith’s Island became the site of Lawton Battery.

1864 map showing relative positions of Savannah, Battery Lawton, Fort Jackson, Fort Lee, Causton's Bluff, Oatland Island and Whitemarsh Island.

1864 map showing relative positions of Savannah, Battery Lawton, Fort Jackson, Fort Lee, and Causton’s Bluff.

Lawton Battery consisted of one 32-pounder rifle gun, one 42-pounder smooth bore, two 8-inch and two 10-inch columbiad guns. The battery was built on low-lying land of Smith’s Island (Barnwell Island, SC) on the Savannah River  opposite Battery Lee.

Col. Edward Clifford Anderson, Commanding

Lawton Battery, Fort Jackson and the other Advance River Batteries were under the command of Col. Edward C. Anderson. Anderson was educated at a Massachusetts prep school, a former mayor of Savannah and a former officer of the United States Navy. He had participated in numerous naval and amphibious operations in the Mexican-American War.    At the outbreak of the Civil War he was sent as an envoy to England and styled himself as the Confederate Secretary of War.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Anderson was sent to Richmond by Governor Joseph E. Brown, to purchase ordinance from the Tredegar Iron Works for the State of Georgia. Soon after, Anderson was personally summoned to Montgomery, AL by the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, who commissioned him a major in the Corps of Artillery. He was ordered at once to set sail for Europe, as a confidential agent to buy war material for the Confederacy, arranging for its transfer to the Confederate States, through the Union blockade by way of blockade runners. In England, he was stalked continually by spies hired by the United States Consul General, Charles Francis Adams. Anderson described his position as the Secretary of War in England. He and fellow Georgian James D. Bulloch negotiated with the British for the sale of warships and blockade runners to the South.

On a mission to purchase arms from Great Britain, Edward C. Anderson flew the Confederate national flag to celebrate the southern victory at the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas).

On a mission to purchase arms from Great Britain, Edward C. Anderson flew a Confederate national flag, the “Stars and Bars,” to celebrate the southern victory at the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas). The same flag would have flown over Fort Jackson, Battery Lawton, Fort Lee, Causton’s Bluff, and other advance river batteries from March 1861 through May 1863.

Upon learning of the Southern victory at the First Battle of Bull Run, Anderson raised a Confederate Flag upon the rooftop of a friend’s house in Liverpool. Their success in both exporting arms, and running the blockade prompted other British firms to begin blockade-running efforts. Returning home in November 1861, aboard the newly purchased Merchant Steamship Fingal with Bulloch, they delivered much needed arms and ammunition. Fingal was later converted to the iron-clad CSS Atlanta. Anderson was promoted, and served as “Commander of the River Batteries” as a part of General Robert E. Lee’s staff. At this time, Anderson was placed in command of Fort James Jackson (Old Fort Jackson), becoming the Confederate Headquarters for River Defenses, including the Confederate Navy. He was a member of the Confederate high command at Savannah until the end of the war.

Col. Anderson was somewhat of a stickler for military discipline. In the summer time the soldiers’ daily routine at Battery Lawton, Fort Jackson and other Savannah River batteries under Anderson’s command began at 4:30 am and ended after sunset, approximately 8:30 pm.

On the 1st of May 1862, a soldier of Battery Lawton staunchly defended the pride, commitment, professionalism and patriotism of the men stationed at the battery.

Savannah Daily Morning News
May 3, 1862

COMMUNICATED
Smith’s Island, May 1st, 1862.

Mr. Editor: Please make room in your valuable paper for the following. In the Republican of yesterday, is to be seen in one of its paragraphs, under the head of “Savannah Never to be Surrendered”

“One thing more remains to be done, and then we shall be ready to measure arms with the enemy. Let the commanders of our various batteries call together their respective garrisons and swear them never to abandon a gun so long as it sets on its carriage, and a soldier is left to man it.”

A soldier takes the liberty here to inform the editor of the Republican (if he is not aware of it, that we are volunteers from Georgia, absent from respectable and comfortable homes, and come without consulting Mr. Republic and, to defend our homes and country at large, and expect to do it to the last. We need no oaths to make us fight for all that is near and dear lo us. Prompted by a sense of duly and a spirit of patriotism, we expect to accomplish all that can be done by human hands. Any one who can’t fight without taking an oath, can’t fight with. No one need be sworn to fight except those who would have others sworn. But God help the country whose battles are to be fought by such men, or the prattling tongues of editors. We are ready and daily expecting the enemy, and have been for weeks, and it has just now transpired that there is one thing more to be done before “we are ready to measure arms with the enemy,” (not so much of the “we,”) and that as set forth in his paragraph. I confess that I am ashamed even to let our enemies know that we have men—or a man in our midst—that would either publicly or privately express such an idea. I confess, also, that I thought the people whose homes are but a few miles above our batteries, and which we are shortly to enter into a life and death struggle for, had more confidence in the soldiers whose lots are cast at batteries amid sand flies, mosquitoes, marsh mud, swamp fever, &c. Georgians never have disgraced themselves on the battle field or elsewhere, neither have they given any cause for any one to suppose they would. If the said Editor wishes to make a display of his patriotism, I would advise him to lay down his air-gun and take a musket. But that he will not do; he prefers remaining In his office amusing himself by abusing Gov. Brown, dictating for wiser men than himself and making himself conspicuous, as well as ridiculous, in various other ways. But the whole trouble with said Editor is this, if “we” are defeated below, the Republican office falls into the hands of the enemy; and I am constrained to believe that he would see it, with all Savannah, laid in ruins before he would for a moment expose his breast to the galling fire of the enemy, and, from his editorial, would conclude that he would have us (hundreds) sacrifice our lives to save his ‘‘little all.” I hope God will save his office, protect his person, and take a liking to his principles. I can’t do either, and more especially the latter. I have my hands full fighting for the Confederacy.

In the spring, men at Smith’s Island may have taken their station with pride, but in warmer weather the conditions at the river batteries were nearly intolerable. At Fort Pulaski, on April 6, Lt. Montfort wrote about the pests:

We are terribly annoyed with sand flies & soon will be musquitoes. Yet we have the consolation of knowing that “Afflictions though they seem severe, are often mercy sent.” While we are annoyed by them we are assured by those acquainted with the places occupies by Yankee Soldiers & Batteries on the River between here & Savannah, that they are a hundred times worse than here. The places now occupied by them between here & Savannah on the river, are the places on the river where heavy vessels heretofore have had to stop to unload & load & so annoying are the musquitoes & sand flies & the places so sickly that I am informed frequently they have been unable to employ men at one dollar an hour to go there to assist in unloading & loading. And while we have abandoned all idea of assistantance from the Government we put our trust in God, ourselves, the musquitoes & sand flies. If these fail us we are gone.

Captain George A Mercer, after visiting Smith’s Island and Fort Jackson on Sunday, June 22, 1862, wrote of the miserable experience.

“Sunday was intensely hot, and I could not but feel how much our brave soldiers were enduring in their present position. Fort Jackson, and the adjacent batteries, are located in low swampy fields, where the insects are terrible the air close and fetid and full of miasma and death. Capt. Blain’s men, on Smith’s Island, are particularly uncomfortable; their tents are pitched on the muddy ground, beneath the blazing sky; not a dry spot of earth, not a shade tree is near; the tide frequently rises above the platforms of their tents, soaks their bedding and washes away all they have; they have positively been obliged to anchor their cooking utensils to prevent their being carried away. And yet these brave fellows must stay — and do stay cheerfully in this dreadful spot, where every comfort is denied them, and sickness and death must add their horrors to the scene. I spent a miserable night last night; I lay down at the Fort but not to sleep; hundreds of fleas ran over me stinging me into a fever; I did not secure one moment’s sleep, but lay tossing in misery, counting the weary hours till morning; had I left the bed and gone outside the net the mosquitoes would have been as bad as the fleas. Indeed a sad necessity is imposed upon our troops; they must garrison spots where a white man can hardly live.

Berrien County Minute Men garrisoned at the Savannah River batteries during the Civil War would have taken quinine as long as supplies were available.

Berrien County Minute Men garrisoned at the Savannah River batteries during the Civil War would have taken quinine as long as supplies were available.

Captain Mercer noted that in August and September 1862, “The River Batteries [were] guarded only by small detachments of ten or twelve men each; the deadly miasma in the vicinity has rendered them uninhabitable.”  The “miasma” was actually mosquito-born transmission of diseases like yellow fever or malaria. Even on January 31, 1862, Lieutenant William Dixon, of the Republican Blues, had noted at Fort Jackson, “This has been a very warm day. The mosquitoes have been bad and troublesome.” – Fort Jackson interpretive materials

“Several times during the war, the river batteries were left almost empty because most of the soldiers stationed here were in the hospital in Savannah – many with malaria. In 1862, Private Vaughn of the 22nd Georgia Heavy Artillery wrote home: “There is no use of my trying to get a furlough…for a dead man can’t get one hardly in this department and besides our company is all sick but ten… and we can’t hardly get a Corporal’s guard.” Over half the garrison were in the Savannah hospitals. Quinine was known to be effective in the treatment of fevers, and Col. Anderson required his troops to take daily doses of quinine in “tonic water” for as long as supplies held out. But after the Union blockade of Savannah was established, imports of quinine were cut off.  It was also believed that camphor smeared over the upper lip at night could fend off the “miasma”; The treatment was somewhat effective, as camphor is a natural mosquito repellent.  – Fort Jackson interpretive materials

For those soldiers who did get sick, the care provided in hospitals was as likely to make them worse off as it was to effect a recovery.

The hospitals in Savannah were feared by the soldiers as death houses. In order to address this fear Lt. Col. Anderson set up a separate hospital at Deptford. The less critically ill could be sent there, watched by their comrades and not have all their personal belongings stolen – which would happen when they were sent into Savannah.

Regimental returns show Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr was at Camp Debtford in July; Camp Debtford was on the Debtford plantation adjacent to Causton’s Bluff.  In August,  Knight was sent to Camp Anderson.  Other men of the 29th Regiment detailed to Camp Anderson included First Lieutenant Willis Clary, 2nd Lt Henry Clary and Pvt Hines H. Grey of the Georgia Foresters; Stephen D. Chitwood, Fountain Nally, Thomas Mills and John F. C. Mills of the Stephens Volunteers; Elijah W. Bryant, Thomasville Guards; John H. Elkins, John R. Griffin, Jonas Johnson, Peter Madden, George C. Maddox and Hines Holt Grey, 17th Patriots; Isiah Goff, Allen D. Smith, William D. Warren  and R. M. Simpson, Thomas Volunteers.

Camp Anderson was where Major Robert Houston Anderson was forming a “select battalion of sharpshooters” from highly qualified volunteers and select officers and men from the existing regiments around Savannah.  “By Special Order No. 259, District of Georgia, dated July 30, 1862, men were chosen from the regiments manning the defenses of the city to fill up the other companies of the new battalion.” Company D of the new sharpshooter battalion was composed of men selected from the 29th, 30th, 47th, and 13th Georgia Regiments and the 8th Georgia Battalion.  According to Russel K. Brown, “Camp Anderson was situated on Wildhorn Plantation, 12 miles below Savannah on the west bank of the Groves or Little Ogeechee River and near the line of the Savannah, Albany and Gulf Railroad. William Moody described the camp to his wife thus, ‘We are camped about 1 1/2 miles from Number 1 station and in 1/4 mile from the little Ogechee River on a very high pleasant place tho I exspect it is a sickly place. The sand files is very bad.'” 

Circumstances at Camp Anderson may have been better than at Lawton Battery, but only marginally. As at other Savannah garrisons, health conditions were problematic from the first encampment at Camp Anderson. Men died of typhoid, typhoid fever and typhoid pneumonia, bowel disorders, chronic diarrhea, congestion. Many more went on sick rolls. Desertion became a problem; by the end of the year 29 men would desert from Camp Anderson.  At least one deserter killed himself rather than be captured and returned to Camp Anderson. Another, after firing a shot at Major Anderson, was court-martialed and executed by firing squad. Three more deserters were sentenced to death but were released and returned to duty under a general amnesty and pardon issued by Jefferson Davis.

Levi J. Knight, Jr was not at Camp Anderson for long; After August 29, 1862, he was reported on regimental returns as absent sick in a Savannah hospital.  Willis Clary, suffering with a lung impaired by pneumonia and a congenital short leg, resigned at Camp Anderson on August 22.   Henry Clary was sick in a Savannah hospital; he died September 4, 1862.

 

Regimental return for September 1862 showing Levi J. Knight, Jr. absent from post at Camp Anderson.

Regimental return for September 1862 showing Levi J. Knight, Jr. absent from post at Camp Anderson.

In mid August, 1861 the Confederate Quartermaster General, A.C. Myers, raised questions of payroll fraud by Levi J. Knight.  The matter was referred down the chain of command from Brigadier General Hugh Wheedon Mercer, to Captain George A. Mercer, to Col. Edward C. Anderson. Anderson’s investigation found that the alleged double pay drawn by Knight was the result of the Quartermasters confusion of Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr with his uncle, Major Levi J. Knight, and the matter was terminated without prejudice.

Three months after L. J. Knight’s separation from the Confederate States Army, questions arose about pay he had received while serving as Captain of  Company A, 29th Georgia Regiment.    The  , reported the matter on August 12, 1862.

In October Captain Knight returned to Battery Lawton on Smith’s Island. Also detailed to Battery Lawton was Lt. William Pendarvis, of the Georgia Foresters, Company A, 29th Regiment. In October Pendarvis was “in arrest.” Pendarvis tendered his resignation November 20, 1862 which was endorsed by Col. Anderson. The Colonel had previously busted Pendarvis from rank for “disreputable conduct,” and Pendarvis had been subsequently elected lieutenant while Anderson was away from the post. Anderson pronounced him totally incompetent, and he would have been court-martialed had he not resigned. About the only men of the 29th Georgia Regiment for which Col. Anderson had any respect were its blacksmiths; Anderson complained to his superiors about the reassignment of blacksmith Richard Ault.

It appears that an animosity also developed between Captain Knight and Col. Anderson.  Knight, a big man, was six feet tall with dark hair and eyes, and dark complexion. Col. Anderson, who described Knight as an irresponsible, demoralizing “evil example,” undoubtedly saw him as a dark and brooding figure.

The situation culminated on November 28, 1862, when Knight’s insolent behavior drove the Colonel to place the captain “in arrest” and to make charges against Knight in a letter to Captain George A. Mercer, Assistant Adjutant General;

Letter page 1 of 2 of Col. Edward C. Anderson, Nov 28, 1862 censoring Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr.,

Letter of Col. Edward C. Anderson, Nov 28, 1862 censoring Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr.

Letter page 2 of 2 of Col. Edward C. Anderson, Nov 28, 1862 censoring Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr.

Letter of Col. Edward C. Anderson, Nov 28, 1862 censoring Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr.

Savannah River Batteries
28th Novb 1862

Capt Geo A Mercer
AAG

Captain
I regret to have to bring to the notice of the Brig Genl Comdg. the total inefficiency of Captain Levi J. Knight, Co G 29th Regt Ga Vols. This officer commands one of the finest companies in the service in point of materiel. Yet from inattention and want of care they have lapsed into a condition o negligence not just to so fine a body of men & very far from creditable to the officers whose duty it was to have encouraged and instructed them. There is a familiarity between the captain & the private soldiers that is hurtful to the service. The men have free access to his tent even to taking possession of his bed and loafing there. As evidence of the detrimental tendency of this system of free intercourse I have to inform you that on the occasion of my exercising the companies today at the great guns Captain Knight’s men failed to come forward at the long roll & only appeared after repeated calls & by my sending up the commanding officer of the port to enforce the order. Captain Knight had been duly notified of my intention to drill the men. He did not accompany his detachments, but after the lapse of half an hour came strolling leisurely down by the longest & most circuitous route & being informed that I had ordered him under arrest for his conduct, excused himself upon the plea of not feeling well. Upon another occasion when reported to me for failing to attend the School of Instruction ordered by you & for leaving the Island without notice to his commanding officers, the same excuse was made & thus it has been again & again. I have been unwilling to suppose that an officer would lightly avail himself of the plea of indisposition to evade his duty & hence have refrained from bringing the matter to your notice heretofore. Candor compels one today that Captain Knight is not fitted for the responsible trust confided to him & that – in the event of any mishap to the officers in command of the Battery – I do not regard him as qualified to fill his place. I should regret to lose his company. Under a different Captain they could be made a credit to the service, but under existing auspices the forces of evil example will demoralize & cripple them.

I am Captain Very Respectfully
Your Obbt

Ed. C. Anderson

Coming to the attention of Brigadier General Hugh Wheedon Mercer, the matter was forwarded for further action:

Head Qrs. Dist. Ga.
Savannah, Nov 30th 1862.
Respy. forwarded to the Genl. Comdg. The Department with the request that a Board of Examiners may be convened to examine the conduct of the officer.

H. W. Mercer
Brig Genl Comdg

By December 1862, Levi J. Knight, Jr was relieved of his command.  Regimental records show Captain Levi J. Knight, Jr was “in suspension,” for insubordinate behavior. On December 4, 1862 he was brought before an Officers Examining Board and he was “suspended from rank and commission by order of General Beauregard. His rank was reduced to private.  On May 28, 1863 his name was on a published “list of officers of different grades who have been dropped from the rolls of the army, in accordance with the provisions of the act for ‘ridding the army of ignorant, disabled and incompetent officers,’ by orders from Adjutant and Inspector General’s office.”

After being stripped of his rank, Knight continued to serve with the Berrien Minute Men. In 1863 he was elected by the company to the rank of Jr 2nd Lieutenant, but the election was set aside by Col. Anderson.

A year later, Knight’s new commanding officer, Captain Edwin B. Carroll,  again put him up for an officers position. In the midst of the defense of Atlanta against the approaching, overwhelming army of U.S. General William T. Sherman, Captain Carroll paused to write a letter recommending Sgt. Levi J. Knight be accepted as an officer of the company.

Camp 29th Ga. Regt
July 14th 1864

Capt J. W. Turner
Comdg 29th Ga Regt

Captain
I respectfully make the following statement in the case of private Levi J . Knight Co G 29th Ga Vols. He was elected Jr 2nd Lieut. in Co G on the 28th day of September 1863 but the election return was disapproved by Col. E. C. Anderson — Comdg on the grounds that Knight had been dropped from the rolls and could in consequence hold no position. Knight was detailed by Col. Anderson and sent to Charleston with another company and another election was ordered. While in Charleston he made a fresh statement of his case to Genl Beauregard and thereupon was ordered before the Board of Examiners that he might prove whether or not he should be put on duty as an officer. The decision of the Board is that he is competent for discharge the duties that may devolve upon him. I think he is entitled to the position and hope that he will be ordered on duty as an officer in the Company

Very Respectfully
Your Obt Svt
E. B. Carroll
Capt Comdg Co G
29th Regt

*************************************

Head Qrs Stevens Brigade
July 15, 1864

The enclosed paper is reply returned with the following statement. Co. G. 29 Regt has been on detached duty in Savannah until very recently. Some of the records are accessible in this case now. The facts are that L. J. Knight was Captain of Co G was brought before a Board of Examiners for incompetency. On their recommendation his name was dropped from the rolls by the War department and he became a private in the same company. Upon the occasion of a vacancy he was elected 2 Lt but on some cause his election was set aside by then Comdg Officer Col E. C. Anderson and a new election ordered at Smith [Island]. J. L. Hall was elected, examined and announced in orders and has filled the position ever since. Upon a transfer to duty in some other command Knight appears to have appeared before a Board of Examiners, the findings of which are herewith enclosed – I would Resply ask what action should be taken in the case.
Resply
H. S. Stevens
Brig Genl

 

Confederate States of America
War Department
Adjutant and Inspector Genls Office
Richmond, Va., April 28th, 1864

Genl
I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you that the proceedings and findings of the Examining Boards in the following case, have been confirmed by the War Department.

Sergt. Levi J. Knight, Co. “G”, 29th Ga. Vols.
Decision- “The Board pronounce him qualified for promotion.”

You will please issue the necessary orders.

Very Respectfully, General
Your Obedient Servt

Saml M. Melton
Maj.

Days after requesting the promotion of Levi J. Knight, Jr., Captain Carroll was captured in the Battle of Atlanta, July 22, 1864.

Orders came directly from General John Bell Hood that Knight was not to be reinstated as an officer.

Hd. Qrs Dept Tenn
In the field
July 27, 1864

Respy recd but the fact of the officer having been dropped debar him from again becoming an officer.

By order of
Genl Hood

Regardless, Levi J. Knight  fought with the Berrien Minute Men and may have acted in the role of 2nd Lieutenant. It is certain that casualties left a shortage of officers for the Berrien Minute Men.  When Knight was captured near Nashville, TN on December 16, 1864 he gave his rank as 2nd Lieutenant.  Officer’s rank meat he would be sent to the Federal prison for officers on Johnson’s Island, OH rather that the prison for enlisted men at Camp Chase, OH.  Johnson’s Island was where his commanding office, Edwin B. Carroll, and other officers of the 29th Georgia Regiment were held as prisoners of war. Knight was held as a POW until June 16, 1865 when he was released after swearing an Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.

 

Related Posts:

 

Causton’s Bluff Part 2:  Challenge from Tybee

Causton’s Bluff Part 2:  Challenge from Tybee

In the spring and summer of 1862, the Berrien Minute Men, Company D (Company K after reorganization), 29th Georgia Infantry were garrisoned at stations defending Savannah, GA.  Since mustering into service a year earlier, the Campfires of the Berrien Minute Men  had been made along the Georgia coast, with the 13th Regiment at Brunswick,  then at Sapelo Island, and Darien, GA.  By early 1862 The Berrien Minute Men,  having gotten “regulated” into the 29th Georgia Infantry Regiment  were sent to the Savannah, GA area to garrison Camp Wilson and Camp Tattnall.

On February 21, 1862 Berrien Minute Men, Company C, were detached to serve on the Savannah River Batteries. In early April 1862 Federal incursions on Whitemarsh Island below Causton’s Bluff would precipitate the transfer of Berrien Minute Men, Company D and other companies of the  29th Georgia Regiment from Camp Tattnall to the bluff to reinforce the Confederate position there.  (Company A, Captain Billopp’s Georgia Foresters, were sent to Hutchinson’s Island. The Alapaha Guards (Company E) and 17th Patriots (Company K) were on picket duty at Screven’s Ferry, SC on the Savannah River just opposite Fort Jackson. On May 14th they captured seven federal soldiers who were released to federal authorities a few days later according to communications in the Savannah Daily Morning News, May 19, 1862.)

  1. Causton’s Bluff Part 1: The Key to Savannah
  2. Causton’s Bluff Part 2: Challenge from Tybee
  3. Causton’s Bluff Part 3: War on Whitemarsh Island
  4. Causton’s Bluff Part 4: Arrival of the 29th Georgia Regiment

Prior to the arrival of the Berrien Minute Men at Causton’s Bluff, the position was garrisoned by the 13th Georgia Regiment which experienced frequent night-time alerts.  Some of these were false alarms, but many were in response to Federal incursions on the creeks and islands below the bluff.

Commanding officers of the 46th NY Regiment garrisoned on Tybee Island east of Savannah were well aware that Confederate gun batteries were being placed around the city.

Officers of the 46th New York Infantry Regiment

Officers of the 46th New York Infantry Regiment.  The 46th NY garrisoned Tybee Island, GA in 1862. Image Source: New York State Military Museum

The 46th New York volunteers made the Tybee Light Station their Headquarters and it was “the base of operations for the seige of Fort Pulaski… Temporary barracks were built on the lighthouse grounds and defensive positions were taken up around the Martello Tower, which was refortified with earthwork batteries.” – Tybee Island: The Long Branch of the South.

The Federals on Tybee Island also welcomed escaped enslaved people who managed to find their way to the Island.

Following the capture of Port Royal, SC [and Tybee Island, GA] by Union Naval forces in November of 1861… escaping enslaved people began seeking asylum from naval vessels that were conducting reconnaissance along the coastal islands in March and April of 1862. Not having quarters for those who flocked to the boats, the US Navy established “contraband” camps at Otter Island, South Carolina and at the Naval post for Tybee Island in Georgia. – International African American Museum

1862 enumeration of escaped enslaved peoples living in "contraband" camp on Tybee Island, GA

1862 enumeration of escaped enslaved peoples living in “contraband” camp on Tybee Island, GA

The inventory records of the Union Provost Marshal give the names, age, height, former “occupation,” names, residence and “character” of former masters, date of arrival and present employment of those settled at the contraband camp.  The former slaves were employed as “officers servant,” laborers, boatmen, and oarsmen. These records have been transcribed at the International African American Museum

Tybee Island Light Station circa 1862

Tybee Island Light Station circa 1862

By February, 1862 the 46th NY Regiment was joined on Tybee by seven companies of the 7th Connecticut Regiment, a detachment of New York engineers and two companies of Rhode Island artillery.

Soldiers of the 1st New York Engineers

Soldiers of the 1st New York Engineers

Company F, 1st New York Engineers participated in the bombardment of Fort Pulaski

Company F, 1st New York Engineers participated in the bombardment of Fort Pulaski

Federal soldiers at the Martello Tower, Tybee Island, GA

Federal soldiers at the Martello Tower, Tybee Island, GA. Image source: Boston Athenaeum

The landing of [Federal] troops on Tybee Island greatly excited the Georgians. In a printed address sent out to the people of the State, signed by Howell Cobb, Robert Toombs, Thomass R. R. Cobb and M. J. Crawford, we find the following language:

“The foot of the oppressor is on the soil of Georgia. He comes with lust in his eye, poverty in his purse, and hell in his heart. He comes a robber and a murderer. How shall you meet him? With the sword at the threshold! With death for him and yourself! But more than this – let every woman have a torch, every child a fire-brand – let the loved homes of youth be made ashes, and the fields of our heritage be made desolate. Let blackness and ruin mark your departing steps if depart you must, and let a desert more terrible the Sahara welcome the vandals. Let every city be leveled by the flames and every village be lost in ashes. Let your faithful slaves share your fortune and your crust. Trust wife and children to the sure refuge and protection of God – preferring even for these loved ones the charrnel-house as a home that loathsome vassalage to a nation already sunk below the contempt of the civilized world. This may be your terrible choice, and determine at once and without dissent, as honor and patriotism and duty to God require.

For the Berrien Minute Men, the strengthening Federal positions on Tybee Island would mean re-deployment from their present positions. Captain Thomas S. Wylly’s company of Berrien Minute Men (Company C) on the night of February 21, 1862  were ordered from Camp Wilson to Fort Jackson to relieve the Savannah Republican Blues, and were soon ordered to Lawton Battery on Smith’s Island in the Savannah River.  Berrien Minute Men Company D, under command of Captain Lamb, remained at Camp Tattnall with Major Levi J. Knight, Sr. and the rest of the 29th Georgia Regiment until April of 1862.

On Tybee Island, the Federals prepared gun emplacements to bombard Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island, and simultaneously they worked to cut off all supplies to the fort. The last remaining supply route to the fort was by way of Lazaretto Creek, which the Federals blockaded with the USS Montezuma.   The US Navy purchased Montezuma, a former whaling ship, at New London, CT on  November 29, 1861 originally intending to sink her as part of the second “stone fleet” of harbor obstructions on the Confederate coast.  Instead the Navy placed her in Lazaretto Creek, Georgia, in February 1862.

The fleet anchored the old wreck, Montezuma, at a point of three miles south of the fort [Pulaski] in the Lazaretto Creek. The Montezuma had been intended as a barrier to keep out steam ships. But when the traffic continued with small boats, Captain Anton Hinckel received orders to occupy the wreck with three guns and two companies of the 46th New York Infantry. The Montezuma was loaded with stones and had originally been intended to be sunk in the river along with 25 other worn-out ships to block the way to Savannah. Captain Hinckel and his troops spent the next eight weeks on the Montezuma. Regular patrols with row boats guarded the entrances and many of the nightly smugglers were caught. One of them was a slave who showed the Federal soldiers many secret connections to the fort, and thus it was possible to catch three more Rebels on the island of Wilmington. Ernst Mettendorf,  Zwischen Triumph und Desaster : Ein deutshes Regiment im amerikanischen Burgerkrieg.

A Federal map created December 31, 1861 showing the relative positions of the USS Montezuma (labeled "Hulk Scow" on Lazaretto Creek, Wilmington Island, Federal batteries on Tybee Island, and Fort Pulaski. To the west of Wilmington Islands are Whitemarsh Island, Oatland Island and Causton's Bluff [not shown].

An 1862 Federal map showing the relative positions of the USS Montezuma (labeled “Hulk Scow”) on Lazaretto Creek, Wilmington Island, Federal batteries on Tybee Island, and Fort Pulaski. To the west of Wilmington Islands are Whitemarsh Island, Oatland Island and Causton’s Bluff [not shown].

On February 17, 1862 Robert E. Lee wrote to Col. Olmestead at Fort Pulaski with recommendations on repositioning the cannon placements and strengthening defenses against cannonfire from Tybee Island. General Lee also advised, “For the present your communication with the city will have to be by light boats over the marsh and through Wilmington Narrows to Causton’s Bluff…”  The obstruction of Lazaretto Creek by the hulk USS Montezuma on February 22, 1862 cut off the last possible resupply route to the Confederate garrison at  Fort Pulaski.  Perhaps as a signal, the Federals also demonstrated against the fort. At Fort Pulaski, Lt. Theodorick W. Montfort, Oglethorpe Light Infantry, wrote the following day,

“On yesterday Morning, [February 22, 1862] the Yankees opened fire on our Garrison & fired several shots, none of which done any harm. On yesterday evening on Dress Parade while our men were formed in the yard they fired a rifle shell, which passed near us. There was considerable merriment at the expense of those who ran or dodged. I did not do either, yet I assure you to hear a large shell or ball whistling through the air which you can hear for three miles is not a very pleasant sound. Yet I find that men will soon become accustomed to danger as they will to any & evry thing else. Yet to us it is all excitement & amusement. It is good we have something to excite & amuse us.”

Coincidentally,  February 22, 1862 was the date that the Constitution of the Confederate States of America went into effect, assuring to white southern citizens the “right of property in negro slaves.”

For a while, couriers on foot were still able to sneak mail in and out of Fort Pulaski, although many were captured by Federal patrols.  “Several of our men & mails have been captured either in getting to or returning from Savannah. They have to select some dark night & walk some five miles through a marsh from one to three feet deep in mud before they pass the Yankees that are spread over the Marsh day & night to watch & capture our men.” On the night of February 25, Federal boats patrolled around Cockspur Island and fired on Confederate pickets causing a general alarm. The garrison was again aroused and under arms on the night of the 26th, when anxious Pulaski pickets mistakenly shot a horse.

Fort Pulaski was expected to hold out for quite some time against a Federal siege, but the Confederates were immediately prompted  to further strengthen the remaining Savannah defenses. The battery at Causton’s Bluff was manned as critical link in the inner chain of Savannah defensive works immediately around the city.

Supervision of the construction of Confederate batteries at Causton’s Bluff and placement of obstructions on St. Augustine Creek  was assigned by General Robert E. Lee to Captain Josiah Tattnall, senior flag officer of the Navy of Georgia.  At the bluff, the gun battery was in a position to protect the back of Fort Lee which was across the marsh on the south bank of the Savannah River. Captain Miller Bond Grant, of the Engineer Corps, had immediate charge of the construction at Causton’s Bluff and also of a considerable portion of the defensive works around Savannah.

Work on construction of fortifications at Causton’s Bluff Battery began in earnest that same month, along with construction of breastworks and batteries near Fort Jackson. At the behest of General Robert E. Lee, the Savannah City Council furnished “from two to three hundred negro laborers ‘for the purpose of throwing up breastworks.'”  The Confederates were already using slave labor to construct and support defenses. At Fort Pulaski, slaves were used to clear out the moat and put the fort in fighting order. There, wrote Charles Olmstead, “[In the summer of 1861] our cooks were all Negroes and it goes without saying that strong measures had to be used to keep them up to the mark. If a kitchen did not meet the requirements of Authority of the Cook was promptly laid over a brass drum and a good paddling administered with a shingle while his associates stood grinning around. The efficaciousness of this plan is shown by the fact that it had to be resorted to only twice that I can remember; it broke no bones but ensured clean kitchens. I recommend the method to housekeepers with inefficient or careless servants.” On December 2, 1861, Edward Clifford Anderson, supervisor of armaments for the river batteries, wrote in his diary, “Four of my negroes from the plantation were drafted by the Engineering Dept and sent to work on Skidaway Island” and on January 3, 1862 Confederate engineer Dr. Cheves was on a small mud island in the Savannah River above Fort Jackson, “with a gang of negroes was at work establishing a foundation, preliminary to throwing up breastworks – This point was known as the “Naval Battery.

Captain Miller Bond Grant received a letter from his cousin Hugh Fraser Grant, rice planter of Elizafield Plantation on the Altamaha River, that Elizafield could provide slaves to work on the Savannah fortifications (Elizafield Plantation Record).

Dear Miller,
Fraser [Grant, Jr] informs me the Govmt is desirous of twenty hands to work on the fortifications about Savh &ct. That they offer $45 per month for each man & to furnish them with food tools & medical attend to & the only expense I am to bear is the clothing. That you are to have them especially under your superintendence & for your care and attention you are to receive $5 per month for each man. All of which I am satisfied with & can furnish 15 or 16 men upon their terms – At present 2 or 3 of the men are hired out by the month & soon as the time is out can be sent on to you.
When Dr. [Daniel H. B.] Troup & my hands were then some time since under the charge of Mr [Landsell?], they were very badly fed . This Mr. [Landsell?] assured me was the case. If my Negroes go on now I wish them to be fed agreeable to the contract. Do you wish a driver for the gang and do you they allow extra for him. Hope I may hear from you this evening whether they require women as I can send a few of them & what price for the women. I should suppose they will require one woman to at least to cook & wash your mess. Does the Govmt furnish transportation both ways?

Carpenter

Grant enslaved some 124 African American people on his Elizafield Plantation. His son-in-law, Daniel H. B. Troup, was a signer of the Georgia Ordinance of Secession, along with John Carroll Lamb, Captain of the Berrien Minute Men.

Over the summer of 1862, military leaders would call for thousands more slaves to build defensive works around Savannah.

The Confederate States Army ran want ads for slaves to build defensive works around Savannah. Slave owners were assured they would be compensated for the work of their slaves and that the slaves would be well cared for.

The Confederate States Army ran want ads for slaves to build defensive works around Savannah. Slave owners were assured they would be compensated for the work of their slaves and that the slaves would be well cared for.

Savannah Republican
July 3, 1862

Negroes Wanted

C. S. Engineer’s Office
Savannah, June 24, 1862

      One Thousand Negroes are wanted for the completion of important works in the neighborhood of Savannah.
      By order of Brigadier General Mercer, commanding, the undersigned appeals to the Planters of Georgia to furnish this force without delay.
      The value of each negro entrusted to this Department will be appraised immediately and recorded. A receipt will be given for the negro, containing his value, certified by the appraisers. Should he in any way fall into the hands of the enemy, his value so appraised will be refunded to the owner or owners.
      The following terms are offered:
      Field Hand – $11.00 per month, with food, quarters, and medical attendance.
      Carpenters – $17.00 per month, with food, quarters, and medical attendance.
      Plantation Drivers – $20.00 per month, with food, quarters and medical attendance.
      Transportation, by railroad, also furnished.
      N. B – Dr. Thomas A. Parsons, of Burke county, Ga., is appointed Agent of this office, to procure laborers, according to the above advertisement.
By order Brig, Gen. Mercer.
                                      JNO. McCRADY
                                     Capt. C.S.P. Engineers, in charge.
***Macon, Augusta, Milledgeville, Thomasville, and Sandersville papers will publish weekly for one month and send bills to this office.

By order of Brigadier General Hugh Weedon Mercer each county was to contribute 20 percent of its slave labor force to build the defenses of Savannah. Only 10 percent of the slaves could be women. For every lot of 100 slaves, the counties could provide their own overseer, to be paid by the Army. The Army would resort to forcible seizure in any county where planters failed to contribute their quota of slaves.

The War in America: Negroes at Work on the Fortifications at Savannah.--From a Sketch by Our Special Artist.; Illustrated London News. vol.42, no.1199, p. 433. April 18, 1863

The War in America: Negroes at Work on the Fortifications at Savannah.–From a Sketch by Our Special Artist.; Illustrated London News. vol.42, no.1199, p. 433. April 18, 1863

“But some close, narrow-minded planters,” wrote Captain Mercer,  “evinced great opposition to this necessary order, denouncing it as tyrannical &c, they would rather subject our white Georgians to hard work in this terrible weather than spare a few of their slaves.”  Mercer, a native of Savannah, was a son of General Hugh Weedon Mercer and great grandson of Cyrus Griffin, who in 1788 was President of the Continental Congress.  Lt. Mercer was educated at Russell Military Academy, New Haven, CT;  took preparatory study under Dr. William T. Feay, a professor of Chemistry and Pharmacy at Oglethorpe Medical College; received a Master of Arts from Princeton College; and studied law at the University of Virginia.  Mercer’s  diary of Civil War experiences also relates his  disgust with profiteering by Confederate civilians: “A greedy desire to get rich seems to pervade all. One of the most agravated cases I have heard of consist in the charge of $3.50 per day for the use of an old Flat not worth $300; this Flat is used by the picket at Causton’s Bluff as a means of crossing the river, and belongs to Dickerson.”

The headquarters at the bluff was in a house that had served as the home of the overseer  of Habersham family’s rice plantation at Causton’s Bluff.  At the time the overseer’s home was built, about 1852, Robert Habersham owned at least 89 slaves who worked the plantation. “The overseer had objected to living all year at the plantation, because the miasma made the summer months unhealthful on rice plantations; so a new house was built for the overseer on the southern extremity of the plantation, some distance from the rice fields under cultivation.”

On February 28, 1862 units of 13th Georgia Regiment from Causton’s Bluff  encountered sentries from the Montezuma  who were patrolling the creeks around Wilmington Island in a small boat.

 A wild shootout followed in which one of the Rebels was killed along with two Union soldiers Johann Müller and Louis Herweg. Corporal Anton Mayer and his entire crew of 18 men were taken prisoner by the Rebels. Some of them had been wounded and Franz Etzold, a soldier, died a week later from his injuries. 

A second Federal patrol boat went undetected by the Confederates.

First Lieutenant Alphons Servière was with the second boat. He and his entire crew had to conceal themselves in the thick underbrush of the island. After two days they managed to return to the Montezuma – Ernst Mettendorf,  Zwischen Triumph und Desaster : Ein deutshes Regiment im amerikanischen Burgerkrieg.

 

Another night alert occurred on Tuesday, March 11, 1862 when the Confederate pickets on Whitemarch Island made contact with Federal Scouts. At Battery Beaulieu (pronounced “Bewly”) twelve miles below Savannah on the sea-island cotton plantation of John Schley,  “...at 1 Oclock in the knight we was ordered out on the perade ground and we loded our guns to go to Whitmarsh Island [where] the Yanks made an attack on our men,” wrote Isaiah Smith, a private of Company K, 31st Georgia Regiment, “but we did not get to go before the fight was over so we went to bed again.

Two weeks later, on Tuesday, March 25, 1862 a Federal detail from the Montezuma made another raid on Wilmington Island, taking one civilian prisoner and returning to their base without making any contact with Confederate forces. The captured Georgian was Jacob Dannenfelser who, like the soldiers of the 46th NY Regiment, was a German immigrant.

Dannenfelser told Captain Hinckel of a force of Germans stationed at Fort Pulaski. He noted later that it was a full company of the 1st Georgia Regiment under the command of Captain John H. Stegin. “At that time we were very interested to learn something about the situation over there at the fort,” recalled Captain Horace Porter. “One of our men suggested that the regimental band should play German music. When the Germans at Fort Pulaski hear this, they may want to come over to us. The proposal was quickly accepted. And indeed, on a particularly dark night, the first one came rowing across on a tree trunk. We received a lot of very important information from him.” Colonel Rosa reported this incident to General Sherman. In his letter to the general he wrote, “The defector from Fort Pulaski was named John Hirth. He immediately became a member of the 46th New York Regiment.” – Ernst Mettendorf,  Zwischen Triumph und Desaster : Ein deutshes Regiment im amerikanischen Burgerkrieg.

Regimental Band of the 48th NY Infantry

Regimental Band of the 48th NY Infantry

At Fort Pulaski Lt. Theodorick W. Montfort, of the Oglthorpe Light Infantry, wrote, “I think & fear that our heretofore limited means of communication is now effectually cut off. Two men (Germans) from this for Fort deserted …and have doubtless posted the enemy with our ways, means & time of getting a mail.”

The Confederate troops at Causton’s Bluff had their regimental bands as well, although their music was by no means an enticement to deserters from the enemy. Colonel Marcellus Douglass was advertising for “musicians for the Brass Band of Thirteenth Regiment Georgia Volunteers C. S. A., now stationed at Causton’s Bluff, near Savannah, Georgia. The Instruments vacant are one Bb Bass Tuba, one Bb Trombone, one Bb Tenor, two Bb Altos, and two Eb Altos.”  Later, Lacey E. Lastinger, of the Berrien Minute Men, would serve as a drummer and musician for the 29th Georgia Regiment at Causton’s Bluff.

About March 27, Confederate pickets from Causton’s Bluff while patrolling Whitemarsh Island encountered the USS Montezuma anchored in Lazaretto Creek  and fired on Captain Hinckel’s men, forcing them to briefly abandon the guns. But the Federals quickly rallied their forces and in the face of superior numbers, the Confederate pickets backed away and withdrew across Whitemarsh Island. The Federals pursued in an armed barge, but were unable to catch up with the Confederate soldiers.

Colonel Rudolph Rosa, post commander at Tybee Island, was ordered to take a detachment from Tybee to the Montezuma reconnoiter the situation on Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands. His purpose was to assess the threat of a Confederate approach to the gun batteries being constructed for the reduction of Fort Pulaski.  Rosa had also learned from the Confederate German Jacob Dannenfelser and a captured African-American that a reward of $12,000 was offered to effect the evacuation of the Confederate soldiers from Fort Pulaski. He speculated, “perhaps an organized great patrol of row-boats lays in Turner’s Creek” for that purpose. Turners Creek divided Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands.

Rosa wrote, “On Sunday I made a reconnaissance on Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands, pushing in both cases out to Thunderbolt and Saint Augustine Creeks, opposite to Thunderbolt and Carston Bluff batteries. Nothing remarkable occurred, excepting that the small stern-wheel steamer did show herself near to our boats left at Gibson’s in the Oatland Creek, which is not spiked, and turned back after receiving three of our musket shots from a point of land.

While Col. Rosa was on this reconnaissance, the Confederate German Jacob Dannenfelser appealed to the lieutenant in command of the Montezuma to allow him to check on his family back on Wilmington Island. In what Rosa called an “unaccountable hallucination” but perhaps seeking Dannenfelser’s collaboration, the Union lieutenant consented; on Sunday morning, March 30, 1862, two Union soldiers were detailed to escort Dannenfelser by boat to visit his home.  But a patrol of Confederate scouts from Causton’s Bluff discovered the Federal party upon the return trip and effected a capture.

The affair was recorded in the official report of Colonel Rudolph Rosa:

MARCH 30-31, 1862.—Affairs on Wilmington and Whitemarsh Islands, Ga.

Report of Col. Rudolph Rosa, Forty-sixth New York Infantry.

Tybee Island, Ga., April 3, 1862.
General: In accordance with your orders I arrived at the swimming battery, Montezuma, near Decent Island, on the evening of March 29, 1862, with a detachment of two commissioned officers and thirty men of the Forty-sixth New York. Shortly after my arrival Lieutenant Serviere, having effected the relief of the men in the guard boat near Hunter’s farm, reported that he had been shot at repeatedly by about thirty rebels near Gibson’s farm, without the shot taking effect. On the following day [Sunday, March 30, 1862], with four commissioned officers and seventy-five men, I made a reconnaissance on Whitemarsh Island, landing at Gibson’s and marching thence on land to Turner’s farm. From there we were recalled by shots, and found that the small stern wheel steamer [probably CSS Ida] had shown herself near to our boats in Oatland Creek, and had returned after being fired at by the boat’s guard. I then went again across the island to MacDonald’s farm, and returned without meeting the enemy. The topographical results will be embodied in a little sketch.

In returning I heard that by the lieutenant left in command of the Montezuma, leave had been given to Dannenfelser and two men to go with a boat to Wilmington Island, that they had been last seen going into Turner’s Creek, and were now missing. The guard boat was left at the usual place opposite Hunter’s farm over night.

At dawn on the 31st the guard were revised and partly relieved by Captain Hinckel, who then made a patrol to Dannenfelser’s house, and was told that Dannenfelser and the two men had been there for half an hour the previous day, and then had departed. Captain Hinckel also captured a negro in the act of entertaining communication between the fort and Savannah. The guard was instructed to keep a sharp lookout along the shore for our missing men. At noon Lieutenant Serviere was sent to relieve the guard, and with the instruction to search at the same time Gibson’s and Screven’s farms for the missing and for interlopers, but not to proceed farther. At 4 o’clock Captain Hinckel went with the captured negro for verifying his description at the cuts used for smuggling. He came back at 8 o’clock and reported that no trace of the guard and relief boats was to be found….

 

On the Confederate side, Lieutenant George Anderson Mercer, Assistant Adjutant General, 1st Georgia Infantry, was impressed with the action.

George Anderson Mercer, son of Hugh W. Mercer, journaled about the 1861-62 time period when the Berrien Minute Men were stationed at coastal defenses near Savannah.  Image source: <a href="https://archive.org/details/universitiesthei04cham/page/105" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Universities and Their Sons, Vol. 4</a>.

George Anderson Mercer, son of Hugh W. Mercer, journaled about the 1861-62 time period when the Berrien Minute Men were stationed at coastal defenses near Savannah.  Image source: Universities and Their Sons, Vol. 4.

 

Pickets from the 13th Regt captured two German soldiers who were carrying off a German Gardener from his place on Wilmington Island. The Yankees were in a boat 700 yards distant; our men fired seven shots with enfield rifles; three passed through the boat and two struck the unfortunate man the enemy were taking off. This was good shooting. – George A Mercer

Excerpt from the Civil War diary of George Anderson Mercer describing actions of 13th GA Infantry Regiment stationed at Causton's Bluff near Savannah, GA

Excerpt from the Civil War diary of George Anderson Mercer describing actions of 13th GA Infantry Regiment stationed at Causton’s Bluff near Savannah, GA

The return of the victorious scouts to Causton’s Bluff with their prisoners and the liberated Dannenfelser in tow was also noted by Private Jenkins  in his diary,

…17 scouts under Adutant [Adjutant] Hill Sent to Whitemarsh Island, who have returned 3, oclock  with two captured prisners yankees and a dutchman citizan of Wilmington Island, who had previously been taken by the yanks, Companies B. C. & G. ordered to prepare immediately under command of Capt Crawford of Co G. -Pvt Cyrus Jenkins

Word of the capture quickly reached Savannah, and the following day a report of events to this point was published in The Savannah Republican of March 31, 1862:

Capture of Yankees.
         Two Yankees, belonging to the Forty-sixth New York Regiment were captured by our pickets yesterday [Sunday, March 30, 1862] under the following circumstances:
        Tuesday last [March 25, 1862] Jacob Dannenfelser, a German, residing on Wilmington Island was at work in his garden, when some thirty Yankees suddenly leaped the fence. He hailed them and asked who they were and what they were about. They replied that they were friends. They had with them a negro man named Sam, the property of Mr. Pinder, whom they released and then laid violent hands on Dannenfelser. They took him to an old hulk lying near Decent Island and there kept him until yesterday. The hulk is armed with a long rifle gun, which the Yankees call their “Field Snake.”
        Yesterday morning Dannenfelser prevailed on his captors to allow him to visit his family with a guard, for the purpose of seeing them and procuring some clothing. He was despatched to Wilmington in a boat with two men. Having procured his clothing, the boat was returning to to the hulk when our pickets on Whitmarsh opened a heavy fire upon the party. The Yankees were unhurt, though their prisoner did not come off so well. He was shot in three places, through the hand, one through the arm above the elbow, and a third across the bridge of the nose, the last mentioned being a very slight one.
         The Yankees, finding the fire rather warm, gave up and rowed to the island in the direction of our pickets, who took them in charge and forwarded them, together with Dannenfelser, to our camp at Causton Bluff. The latter was immediately brought to town to receive medical attention. The prisoners will be brought to town this morning.
        Dannenfelser said that whilst he was on the hulk, a party of Federals were fired upon by our pickets, when they retired and in a short time brought a force of some one hundred men in a barge with a heavy gun in the bow, to attack the pickets. The party were under command of Colonel Rose [Rudolph Rosa], of the 46th New York Regiment. No engagement occurred. The Pickets had retired from Whitmarsh. Being disappointed and not a little aggravated by the annoyance of our pickets, they threatened to burn the houses on Colonel Gibson’s plantation, but retired without executing the threat.

Being alarmed of the presence of Federal patrols on Whitemarsh Island, on that same Sunday afternoon, March 30, 1862, three companies of men were dispatched from Causton’s Bluff; Private Jenkins was among them.

We left the camp about dark, crossed Augustine creek upon oakland Island [Oatland Island], at Caustin Bluff battery. While passing a cross this Island along a narrow path enclosed by thick underwood, all at once all were silent & still as death.! a moment more & the gunlocks began to rattle like fire in a cainbrake! Two seconds & all was again still! A human form was seen! The Capt demanded his countersign. There were two who proved to be pickets for a squad of the 13th left by Adutant Hill [John Dawson Hill] in the evening.

We passed along to the old bridge 2 1/2 miles from Caustins Bluff & crossed the creek on Whitemarsh Island. While here waiting for the other two companies that we had left crossing Augustine creek, A noise was heard in the marsh, mistaken for the tread of human footsteps. All was again hushed. The Capt ordered us to divide on either side of the path that led through the marsh to the high land, & He with two others advanced to the wood. All were now in suspense. I did not like our position. I went to the wood, but before I got there I was releaved by the hissing, & familiar noise of an Alligator.

We now became tired waiting for the rear party & determined to wait no longer. After leaving a picket at our little boat, we proceeded a mile to an old house, but found nothing here. Then from thence to the Gibson place 1 1/2 miles farther with like success, & from thence to the Turner place 2 miles farther. On nearing this place. (It being now 2, oc [o’clock] at night) we perceived that a brillant light in one of the cabins.

The advance guard (of which I was one) had surrounded the house before the party came up. The men on seeing the light smelt a mice, or a yank and began backing scattering out, & cocking their guns. I could not imagine for a time the cause. I first thought they had seen some one in the diriction they were going then I saw their faces & guns all turn to the cabins. I then knew they expected danger from there, I now felt rather in a critical position, for I was near the house & in their full view. I knew I was no yankee but did they know it. I was afraid to speak or move for fear of being fired upon, for a yankee. I stood for a moment & stept cautiously behind the house.

The occupants of the house were negroes left upon the Island. We found no boats here to pass across to Wilmington, & returned to the Gibson Place.

As we neared the place, low depressed coughing was heard. We expected our rear scout, but crept up noiselessly within full view, when Capt demanded who comes there.  A reply came, Friend with the counter sign (all else was perfect silence).  Capt: Advance and give the countersign. All again still for a moment, then rapid cocking of firelocks was heard in every direction, in two seconds more all again silent. Capt again in his usual firm calm voice demanded the countersign. Then a trembling voice: Capt McCallay [James McCauley]. I know your voice, Lieut [William R] Redding Co E [13] th.

We here lay in ambush around the landing untill day (It being now 3, oc [o’clock] ). An hour by sun we, with exception of a small scout party under Adutant  [John Dawson] Hill. went to the Turner place to take our boats for Wilmington, (they were to meet us there).  Just as the boats came Hill sent a messenger for us to go to his assistance, They are coming. We now quicked it back but found when we got there they had turned back.

17 were left under command of Lieut [Bolling H.] Robinson to guard this & the remainder of us went over up on Wilmington. We then started out into two parties, Capt McCallay with, co B, were to go to the Hunter place & from there to the Scriven place & attack the yanks first, while the other party were to go to the Scriven place & there lay in at ambush untill the commencement & then come up in thier rear. But before we had got to the Scriven place we heard sharp firing in the direction. We went double quick (a mile) untill we came in sight, when we saw co G. quickening towards us. Capt [Joel T.] Crawford with his co G. were ordered by Hill back to our fleet of skiffs to prevent being cut off.

He now told Capt McCallay that Hill had ordered him McCalley back. The firing we heard was upon Whitemarsh, between our pickets there & the yanks. After a warm contest wounding one of our m[en] of Co G. they put to water & oarred toward Wilmington near the Scriven place. Company B now doubled quickening back to the boats. We soon after this heard sharp shooting at Scriven place. A few moments more & another volley & all was over. The enemy surrendered 16 in number. One killed three wounded with but two scattering shots from them.

An eight oared barge boat with a six pound field Piece upon its bow, together with their small arms, the prisners were sent on immediately. But some of us were here delayed untill about ten OC  at night when we started for Thunderbolt and after very heavy oaring against the tide we arrived at 3 oc in the morning of Tuesday. (some of the boats however reached Thunderbolt several hours in advance of us).  Here we remained untill morning where I lay upon the ground & Slept untill sun rise, when we again put out for camps and reached them at 9 oc in the morning

The Union account of the engagement was continued in Col. Rosa’s report of the actions of the 46th NY Regiment:

On the evening of the 1st of April we received promptly a re-enforcement of two officers and thirty men of the Forty-sixth New York, and one 6 pounder at the Montezuma. At 10 o’clock in the same night Lieutenants Serviere and Rettig and fifteen men in the relief boat returned and reported as follows: When the relief boat met the guard boat at Hunter’s farm they both proceeded to Gibson’s house, the relief boat in advance, the guard boat (with the small old iron 6-pounder, private property of the subscriber) bringing up the rear. At Gibson’s they saw two men; then Lieutenant Serviere with fifteen men landed and found himself soon engaged in a skirmishing fight with about thirty rebels, whom he successfully drove out of the houses and the farm, killing at least one of them. When the guard boat neared the landing Lieutenant Rettig also jumped ashore, but the helmsman, a canal boatman promoted to a sergeant’s position since two days, suddenly lost his self-possession entirely, backed the boat off, and dropped back with the tide. Lieutenant Serviere then took to the relief boat, which during the time had filled with water, and had to be bailed out, and set afloat again under cover of a chain of skirmishers. They left without any loss, though fired at repeatedly, and then saw in the distance that the guard boat had drifted on the flats between Screven’s and Hunter’s Place; that a fire was opened against it at about fifty paces distance, by, at the least estimation, about sixty men; that the men laid themselves flat on the bottom of the boat and waved their caps as sign of surrender. The relief boat then took to the small creek and swamps between Oatland Creek and Wilmington Narrows, was fast aground over night, and succeeded in coming back late the next evening by way of the narrows and the stockade. The total loss, therefore, consists of eighteen enlisted men, the man Dannenfelser, and about twelve rounds of ammunition. Two boats and one small iron 6-pounder were also lost, being prizes of the Forty-sixth Regiment New York State Volunteers, and not belonging to the United States. There seems to be a determination to keep up at all events the communication to the fort by way of Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands and the very numerous creeks running through McQueen’s marshes. I most respectfully propose to keep a small armed steam-boat there.
Your most obedient servant,
RUDOLPH ROSA,
Colonel, Comdg. Forty-sixth Regiment New York State Vols.
General Q. A. Gillmore, Commanding.

 

Again, Lt. Mercer was impressed with the work of the Georgian’s at Causton’s Bluff.

These Georgians of the 13th are rough fellows, but full of fight and reckless of life; after the taking of the fifteen Yankees volunteers were called for for Picket duty; the whole regiment volunteered. There is no disposition to avoid a fight among our troops; they covet one only too anxiously — sick and all turn out for it. – George A Mercer

Steven Thomas Beasley, Assistant Surgeon, 13th Georgia Regiment, was one of the men scouting Whitemarsh and Wilmington Island.

Shot by his own men.
Steven Thomas Beasley, Assistant Surgeon, 13th Georgia Regiment, was one of the men scouting Whitemarsh and Wilmington Island. Image source: Billie Nichols Bennett

Report of Brigadier General Alexander R. Lawton, Confederate States Army
Headquarters Department, District of Georgia
Savannah, Ga. April 5, 1862

Capt. J. R. Waddy
Assistant Adjutant-General

Captain: I have the honor to report that on two successive nights, March 30 and 31, scouting parties were sent to Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands from the Thirteenth Georgia Regiment, Colonel Douglass, which were entirely successful, killing 1 and capturing 18 of the enemy, 2 of whom have since died. They also captured a barge with a 6-pounder. The scouting party was under the immediate command of Captain Crawford, Thirteenth Georgia Regiment, who conducted it with skill and gallantry, and all the officers and men under his command exhibited the most commendable courage and enterprise.
I regret further to report that on the occasion of a subsequent expedition to Wilmington Island, for the purpose of ascertaining the position of the enemy and attacking him if there, Assistant Surgeon Beasly was shot through the leg by a mistake of our own men and had both bones broken. There is reason to hope, however, that he will recover with as little injury as possible.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. R. Lawton
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

William B. Beasley, Henry Harrison Towns, Steven Thomas Beasley,

William B. Beasley, Henry Harrison Towns, Steven Thomas Beasley,

 

By March 31, 1862 the battery at Causton’s Bluff had been re-fortified.  “There was ferry dock on the river below the fort [Fort Bartow, Causton’s Bluff], since troops crossed the river at this point. This may have been the point where the Confederate ironclads Atlanta and Savannah, and the steamer Ida tied up when they came to Causton’s Bluff.”

The CSS Ida served Fort Pulaski, Fort Jackson, Causton's Bluff and the Savannah River batteries. The Ida made her last trip to Fort Pulaski on February 13, 1862. - <a href="https://www.gutenberg.org/files/47493/47493-h/47493-h.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fort Pulaski National Monument</a>

The CSS Ida served Fort Pulaski, Fort Jackson, Causton’s Bluff and the Savannah River batteries. The Ida made her last trip to Fort Pulaski on February 13, 1862. – Fort Pulaski National Monument

Also at the bluff was the steamer Leesburg, kept at the disposition of the commanding officer.

On April 5, 1862, Lieutenant William Dixon, of the Republican Blues stationed at Fort Jackson about a mile and a half north of Caustons Bluff, noted in his journal, “Misquitoes and sandflies in abundance…” On the 8th he recorded, “A large rifled gun bursted at Caustins Bluff this afternoon and severely injured 2 men. It is one of three guns made at Richmond all of which have bursted.”

On April 9, 1862 the federal troops on Tybee were further reinforced by the 8th Michigan Infantry, arriving from Port Royal, SC aboard the U.S.S. Benjamin Deford.

USS Benjamin Deford brought the 8th Michigan Infantry to Tybee Island, GA on April 9, 1862

USS Benjamin Deford brought the 8th Michigan Infantry to Tybee Island, GA on April 9, 1862

Finally, on April 10, 1862 the anticipated Federal bombardment of Fort Pulaski commenced.  At Lawton Battery and Camp Tattnall, the Berrien Minute Men were about seven or eight miles from Pulaski, more than close enough for a front row view of the artillery barrage.  Witnessing the thunderous, up close barrage, did the Berrien Minute Men hark back to their time the previous fall on Sapelo Island, when atmospheric conditions caused them to hear the cannons bombarding Port Royal from a distance of 60 miles?  From one tenth the distance, how hellish the shelling of Pulaski must have seemed in comparison.

Bombardment of Fort Pulaski. Currier & Ives.

Bombardment of Fort Pulaski. Currier & Ives.

Assistant Adjutant General  George A. Mercer observing the bombardment from Skidaway Island about six miles distant, reported the scene.

“The earth shakes with a tremendous cannonade. The bombardment of Fort Pulaski commenced early yesterday morning, and still continues with unabated fury. At half past nine oclock yesterday morning I roade over to Skidaway to witness the grand but terrible scene; I remained until after twelve; again in the afternoon I rode over and returned some time after dark. We were six miles off, but we could distinctly see the heavy columns of white smoke shooting up from the mortars on Tybee, and then see the immense shells bursting over the Fort. The enemy fired four and five times every minute, while the Fort replied slowly and coolly. The flag staff was shot away about noon. At the night the sight was grand. The tongue of flame was seen to leap from the mortars and then the flash of the bursting shell appeared just above the Fort.

During the bombardment all lines of direct communication were cut off with the Confederate garrison stationed at Pulaski.  But after dark the Federals ceased the shelling, continuing with just one shot every five minutes to disrupt the Confederates.  In the night on April 10, 1862, Corporal Charles T. Law escorted a signal man to the fort. Law was stationed at Thunderbolt Battery with the Phoenix Riflemen, 63rd Georgia Regiment, and had made the dangerous trip in and out of the besieged Fort Pulaski several times.  Colonel Charles H. Olmstead, commanding at Fort Pulaski, said Law “was a perfect duck in the water.”  Fort Pulaski was within line of sight of Causton’s Bluff and on the morning of Friday, April 11, Olmstead’s new signal man, “attempted to signalize to Causton’s Bluff…but such was the fire that no human being could stand on the ramparts for even a moment. Nearly a thousand shell, of the largest size, were thrown into the fort from the Federal batteries.” -Savannah Republican, April 12, 1862

After 30 hours of bombardment the walls of the fort were breached and Olmstead lowered the flag at Fort Pulaski at 2:00 p.m. on April 11, 1862 signalling capitulation.  With the cessation of the bombardment Corporal Law made an exit from the fort and carried the news to Savannah.

 At the close of the fight all the parapet guns were dismounted except three, two 10-inch columbiads, known as ‘Beauregard’ and ‘Jeff Davis’ (but one of which bore on the island), and a rifle cannon. Every casemate gun in the southeast section of the fort, from No. 7 to No. 13, including all that could be brought to bear upon the enemy’s batteries except one, was dismounted, and the casemate walls breached in almost every instance to the top of the arch, say between five and six feet in width. The moat outside was so filled with brick and mortar that one could have passed over dry shod. The officers’ quarters were torn to pieces, the bomb-proof timbers scattered in every [90] direction over the yard, and the gates to the entrance knocked off. The parapet walls on the Tybee side were all gone, in many places down to the level of the earth on the casemates. The protection to the magazine in the northwest angle of the fort had all been shot away; the entire corner of the magazine next to the passageway was shot off, and the powder exposed, while three shots had actually penetrated the chamber. Such was the condition of affairs when Colonel Olmstead called a council of officers in a casemate; and without a dissenting voice they acquiesced in the necessity of a capitulation, in order to save the garrison from utter destruction by an explosion, which was momentarily threatened. Accordingly, at 2 o’clock p. m. the men were called from the guns and the flag was lowered.

The loss of Fort Pulaski in the spring of that year was so disheartening that Governor Brown issued a proclamation setting apart a certain day for “fasting, humiliation and prayer.”…In Atlanta and in other cities, and towns throughout the state, the citizens assembled in the churches to hear sermons suited to the occasion. All business was suspended and the day was solemnly observed. – The Jackson Argus, December 2, 1898

On April 13, 1862, a portion of the Confederates surrendered at Fort Pulaski were loaded on the USS Ben Deford as prisoners of war for transportation to Fort Columbus, in New York Harbor.  Others of the Confederate garrison, including Colonel Olmstead, the commander of the fort,  were taken away as POWs by the steamship Oriental.

Steamship Oriental transported Colonel Olmstead and other POWs to a federal prison after the capture of Fort Pulaski

Steamship Oriental transported Colonel Olmstead and other POWs to a federal prison after the capture of Fort Pulaski

After the fall of Fort Pulaski, Savannah became even more vulnerable to an approach to across Whitemarsh Island and St. Augustine Creek, and an assault on Causton’s Bluff.  In a letter to his father , Lt. Charles C. Jones Jr. [Chatham Artillery at Isle of Hope,] expressed the thoughts on everyone’s mind that April when the news of Fort Pulaski’s fall reached Savannah: “If the heavy masonry walls of Pulaski were of no avail against the concentrated fire of those Parrott guns posted at a distance of more than a mile, what shall we expect from our sand batteries along the river?” – Robert S. Durham

Historian Craig Swain observed“St. Augustine Creek, which connects the Wilmington and Savannah Rivers… also lead back east to the waters behind Tybee Island, in close proximity to Fort Pulaski.” 

Soon the 29th Georgia Regiment would be sent to reinforce the 13th Regiment at Causton’s Bluff.

Related Posts:

« Older entries