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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

January 05, 1865

Union Solder Wrote of Leaving Savannah for South Carolina

A Wisconsin soldier wrote of departing Georgia for South Carolina.

“We left our camp in Savannah on Monday morning and crossed the river on a steamer, the Planter. We landed in the rice fields. The first trip brought over three regiments, including mine. I was put in command, and our brigade commander went back. We had to repair, or rather rebuild, a bridge on the dike, and that took us until late in the afternoon; then we marched forward four miles, where our first brigade was camped. Here I found General Ward, who told me to camp there for the present. “Evening: I was interrupted this morning by an order to go out reconnoitering. Tuesday I sent out a party early and they had not been gone long before we heard quite heavy firing, so I concluded to go out and see what it was myself. Our horses had not then come across the river and I had to go on foot. I found that our party had met a rebel cavalry force, who had fallen back to an entrenchment commanding the road, on each side of which there was an impassable swamp. I sent parties to the right and left to try to get through the swamp, but they could not accomplish it and I finally found, on personal examination, it was just about impracticable. I was bound to get them out, so I took a few of my men and made a wide detour. We went over a rice field dike as far as we could and then worked our way inch by inch through a canebrake on very swampy bottom, and finally came out on a road which would lead me to their rear. Here I came upon a cavalry picket post, who gave the alarm, and they all ran off. To-day I went over the same road and met no enemy, but found immense quantities of rice and sent a scow load down the river. We moved forward about a mile and went into camp on good dry ground yesterday. To-day our wagon came up and brought us a few boards. I have a floor in my tent, but no chimney. There are no bricks here, the soil is all sandy. It is reported that a portion of the 17th Corps has embarked on board of transports, bound for some more northerly port. I hinted to a staff officer of the division that I wanted to resign, a few days ago; he thought I could not possibly get my resignation approved.” Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, 1864 in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home