Report from Second Brigade at Goldsborough includes mentions of the Twenty-first Michigan.

 

Numbers 75. Report of Bvt. Brigadier General George P. Buell, Fifty-eighth Indiana Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations January 20-March 23.


HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, FIRST DIV., 14TH ARMY CORPS,
Goldsborough, N. C., March 25, 1865.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of this brigade during the last campaign from Savannah, Ga., to Goldsborough, N. C.:

January 20, marched from the city of Savannah, on the Louisville road, at 10 a.m., second in the division column; encamped six miles and three-quarters from the city at 4 p.m. ; the march was then suspended until the 25th, when it was again resumed. January 25, broke camp at 7 a.m., having the advance of the division; leaving the Louisville road, the march was by way of cross-road leading to Springfield; the troops bivouacked for the night at 4 p.m., having marched a distance of fourteen miles. January 26, marched at 8 a.m., brigade ordered to remain with supply train, to facilitate its movements; encamped at 9 p.m. one mile from Springfield, having made eight miles. January 27, marched into Springfield, following First Brigade; camp selected for the day. January 28, marched at 1 p.m. in advance of the division; crossed Ebenezer Creek, reaching camp at 6 p.m., having marched nine miles. January 29, marched at 8 a.m. in rear of the division, reaching Sister's Ferry, a distance of two miles; the march was again suspended to await the constructions of corduroy road through swamp on opposite side of Savannah River.

February 5, crossed Savannah River into South Carolina on pontoon bridge, following Third Brigade, and going into camp at upper landing, two miles from the ferry, at 12 m. February 6, marched at 10 a.m., following First Brigade; passing through Robertsville, marched to forks of Orangeburg and Augusta roads, a distance of ten miles, and encamped at 6 p.m. February 7, marched at 8 a.m. in advance of the division; roads obstructed by fallen timber; nine miles, going into camp at 5 p.m. near Lawtonville. February 8, remained in camp during the day. February 9, marched at 8 a.m. in rear of entire corps train; established camp at 7 p.m., making sixteen miles. February 10, marched at 7 a.m. in rear of First Brigade; passed Allendale Post Office; reached camp at 4. 30 p.m., marching eighteen miles. February 11, marched at 6 a.m. in advance of the division; passed through Barnwell and marched five miles on Williston road; crossed over to White Pond road; encamped at 6 p.m., having made thirteen miles. February 12, marched at 7 a.m., the brigade in rear of division train; struck the Charleston and Augusta Railroad four miles west of Williston; marched west along the railroad two miles and then destroyed two miles of the track; countermarched and went into camp at 5. 30 p.m. near the station, marching twelve miles. February 13, marched at 8 a.m. north of the Columbia road, following First Brigade; crossed the South Fork of Edisto River, reaching camp at 6 p.m., having made eleven miles. February 14, marched at 7 a.m. in advance of the division; crossed the North Fork of the Edisto River, and reached the cross-roads of the Augusta, Charleston, and Columbia roads at 6 p.m., making eighteen miles. February 15, marched at 8 a.m. in rear of the division, the advance brigade skirmishing with the enemy; moved on to Waters' Ferry road five miles; taking the Lexington road, moved forward within three miles of Lexington, and halted at 3 p.m., at 5 p.m. an advance upon the town was ordered; following the Third Brigade, the brigade entered Lexington at 10 p.m., without opposition, and encamped for the night, having marched eighteen miles.

February 16, marched from Lexington, in advance of the division, at 10 a.m., on the Columbia road; countermarched three miles, reaching the Saluda River eight miles above the city. I was ordered to take charge of the construction of the pontoon bridge at Hart's Ferry. The bridge was completed at 6 p.m. The brigade crossed and went into camp one mile from the River, making twelve miles. February 17, marched at 6. 30 a.m., following First Brigade, in a northeasterly direction thirteen miles and a half, entering camp at 3 p.m. February 18, remained in camp this day. February 19, marched t 9 a.m. in advance; crossed Broad River, advancing in direction of Monticello; encamped at 3 p.m., marching twelve miles. February 20, marched at 6. 30 a.m. on the Monticello road, in rear of the division; crossed Little River and entered camp

at 4 p.m., marching nine miles. February 21, marched at 6 a.m., on the Winnsborough road, following First Brigade; entered Winnsborough at 12 m. ; moved up the railroad and went into camp at 6 p.m., having marched fifteen miles and a half. February 22, marched at 6 a.m. in advance of the division; moved up the railroad eleven miles to Black Stocks and commenced tearing up the track; destroyed about two miles; countermarched three miles and encamped for the night at 6 p.m. ; marching eighteen miles. February 23, marched at 7 a.m. in rear of division; made about twelve miles, going into camp at 3 p.m. February 24, remained in camp; fare sent out to repair the road leading to the Catawba River. February 25, no advance to-day; trains crossing River slowly. February 26, a portion of the pontoon bridge being carried away early this morning advanced but two miles and again encamped. February 27, Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, commanding pontooners, ordered to report to me and the pontooners and pontoon bridge assigned to the brigade; pontoon bridge relaid below the rapids; troops and train began crossing at dark. February 28, brigade ordered to cross in rear of troops and train; Thirteenth and Twenty-First Michigan Volunteer Infantry crossed over at 4 p.m. The Sixty-ninth Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry was ordered to hold the hills commanding the crossing until the bridge had been taken up. Skirmishing was kept up with the enemy's cavalry until 11 p.m., when the regiment withdrew from its position in face of the enemy and crossed the River in boats without opposition.

March 1, marched at 6 a.m. in advance of the division; reached Hanging Rock at 5 p.m., a distance of fifteen miles. March 2, moved at 9 a.m. in rear of the division on the Cheraw road; marched twelve miles, going into camp at 8 p.m. March 3, marched at 7 a.m. in the advance; crossed Lynch's Creek, marching eighteen miles and encamping at 12 p.m. March 4, marched at 6 a.m. and crossed the State line into North Carolina, taking the Haile's Ferry road; made twenty miles, going into camp at 8 p.m. March 5, marched at 6 a.m. ; reached the Great Pedee River at 10 a.m. Reconnoitering parties from the Thirteenth and Twenty-First Michigan Volunteer Infantry were immediately crossed over in boats, and picket-line established to protect the crossing. March 6, remained in camp all day. March 7, the pontoon bridge being completed, Colonel Moore was ordered to report to General Morgan. The brigade crossed at 11 a.m. and moved forward on the Rockingham road eight miles; passing to the left, encamped at 8 p.m. three miles South of Rockingham, having marched fifteen miles. March 8, marched at 6 a.m. in advance of the division on the old Fayetteville road; crossed headquarters of the Little Pedee River, and making a rapid march of twenty-three miles went into camp at 4 p.m. March 9, marched at 6 a.m. in rear of division; made twelve miles, going into camp at 8 p.m. March 10, marched at 8 a.m. ; ordered to report to General Kilpatrick on the Chicken road; returned to Fayetteville road and encamped at 4 p.m., having marched twelve miles. March 11, marched at 7 a.m., following First Brigade; reached the city of Fayetteville, a distance of thirteen miles, at 2 p.m. and encamped on the South side of the city. March 12, remained in camp during this day. March 13, passed through Fayetteville, at 9 a.m., crossing the Cape River on pontoon bridge; encamped two miles from the city on the Raleigh road at 12 m. March 14, remained in camp for this day. March 15, marched at 10 a.m. in rear of the division; advanced eleven miles, going into camp at 6 p.m. March 16, marched at 9 a.m., following First Brigade; brisk skirmishing in front; ordered to move by Second Division train; took up position at 12 m. on right of road in rear of works from which the enemy had been driven; moved around to the left, and went into position on the right of the Third Brigade and in rear of Second Division; bivouacked for the night, having made eight miles.

March 17, marched at 10 a.m. in advance; reached Black River, over which I was ordered to construct a bridge. At 3 p.m., the bridge being completed, the brigade crossed and advanced four miles, going into camp at 5 p.m., having marched seven miles. March 18, marched at 6. 30 a.m. in rear of division; crossing Mingo Creek, moved on the Goldsborough road thirteen miles, going into camp at 5 p.m. March 19, marched at 7 a.m., second in the division. After marching, about four miles the advance brigade became engaged with the enemy, which was supposed to be nothing more than cavalry. While the First Brigade engaged them in front my brigade was ordered to move about one mile around the enemy's right and attack him on the flank and in rear, if possible. The movement was immediately commenced under cer, and so nearly executed that my skirmishers had already attracted the attention of the enemy on the north side of the large field, as shown in the within diagram. * Before we had developed our own strength, however, to the enemy orders reached us to return and take position on the left of General Hobart's brigade, with my left refused. This order was obeyed as quickly as possible and temporary barricades commenced. A heavy line of skirmishers, under Captain Rowe, of my staff, was also thrown well in front, and extending far to my left, crossing a road which led from the enemy's lines around my left and in my rear. A detachment of mounted foragers were also thrown out on this road, with orders to build a barricade at a point some half a mile in front, where this road made a right angle leading into the enemy's lines. My command has been in this last position but a few minutes when it was again ordered to re-attempt the same flank movement, but was soon again recalled and ordered to charge the enemy immediately on General Hobart's left. In attacking the enemy my command moved in two lines and in good order, with the front line firing and with orders for the rear line to charge through it in case it faltered. The front line (Twenty-First Michigan and Sixty-ninth Ohio) faltered within a few feet of the enemy's works. The rear line (Thirteenth Michigan) charged to the front line and likewise faltered immediately in front. About this time the enemy commenced firing into both flanks with musketry and with artillery from our right. Although every effort was made to hold the line it slowly gave back to the crest of a small ridge on the north side of a creek or swamp. About 300 yards in rear on the north side of this swamp, as shown in diagram, we commenced throwing up temporary shelter, for my men on the left of and a little in advance of General Hobart's left, which was drawn below the crest of the ridge. During all this time my line of skirmishers extended far into the woods on west side of the field on my left.

Soon after our attack was repulsed a report came to me that a heavy column was moving around my left and to my rear under cover of the timber. I immediately reported it, and also sent the Sixty-ninth Ohio (numbering less than 100 men) to support the two companies that were then engaged with the enemy far to my left. Before my works were more than half completed the enemy attacked. Both our brigades repulsed the first attack. During the second attack the line immediately on my right as far as I could see gave way, and the enemy passed over the works, so that my brigade, which still stood, was almost entirely cut off. In this condition, with both flanks turned and no reserve, I concluded that to remain there longer was to sacrifice my brigade. Hence I gave the order to fall back. My division commander was present, superintending the movements when we made the attack on the enemy, and also when the enemy attacked us, doing all any one man could do to encourage the men, not only with words, but by exposing his own person. At the time the enemy drove the troops on my immediate right General Carlin was just at the right of my line, but was evidently not aware of the condition of thins to his fight, for he was at that time looking intently to the front at the enemy as he faltered before the fire of my men. At first I waited for him to order, but seeing that too much delay would cause our certain capture, and there being no time for consultation, I ordered the retreat. Half a minute's delay, and General Carlin, myself, and most of my brigade would have been captured. My command fell back, with the enemy pressing both flanks, and rallied at the line in the rear thrown up by a portion of the Twentieth Corps. During the rest of the engagement my brigade was held in reserve.

During the engagement of this day I lost many valuable officers and men. In the attack on the enemy on of my best and most, gallant regimental commanders fell dead as he advanced to the enemy's works. It was Major Williard G. Eaton, Thirteenth Michigan Veteran Volunteer Infantry. His country and friends will long mourn his death, for he was brave, good man, loved by all who knew him.

Captain Prince, commanding Twenty-First Michigan, and Captain Rarick, commanding Sixty-ninth Ohio, behaved gallantly and with much credit to themselves. The officers and men of my command throughout have my thanks for their good conduct.

I am much indebted to my staff and orderlies for their efficient service and good conduct on the field-Captain T. G. Stevenson, acting assistant adjutant-general; G. M. Rowe, captain and provost-marshal; Lieutenant H. D. Ludden, acting inspector-general; Major John Avery, surgeon-in-chief; Captain A. E. Barr, acting commissary of subsistence; Lieutenant F. Louthan, acting quartermaster. Orderlies: Corps David L. McNutt, Corpl. George Hilliard, and Privates James M. Laboyteaux, William R. Mahood, Marmaduke Welphy, and Michael Ayers. Of the orderlies I would more particularly mention my bugler, William A. Worley, and my private orderly James M. Laboyteaux.

March 20, moved forward at 7 a.m., taking up position on the right of the Twentieth Corps and in rear of First Brigade. March 21, remained in the position of yesterday. March 22, the enemy having fallen back during the night the march was resumed on the Goldsborough road; made nine miles and encamped at 5 p.m. March 23, marched at 6 a.m. ; crossed the Neuse River on pontoon bridge and entered Goldsborough at 2 p.m. Passed through the city and went into camp two miles north 4 p.m., marching fourteen miles.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I am, captain, very respectfully,

GEO. P. BUEL,

Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Captain J. E. EDMONDS,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, First Div., Fourteenth Army Corps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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