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The War in South Carolina
On our outside today we print full details of a recent battle
near Pocotaligo, South Carolina, in which several Pennsylvania
regiments participated and behaved with the utmost gallantry.
Among these was the 55th, commanded by Col. White of this county.
Company A of this regiment is composed of Cambria county men, one
of whom was killed and seven wounded in the fight. A letter on this
page also gives a graphic description of the fight
The War on South Carolina
The Attack on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad
A Bloody and Obstinate Battle
Full Particulars of the Engagement
By a recent arrival at New York from Port Royal we have the details
of the late attack of the Union forces on the line of the Charleston
and Savannah Railroad. Several Pennsylvania regiments were engaged in
the fight and behaved most nobly. The details may be found in the
subjoined correspondence from the New York HERALD:
Mackay's Point, Broad River, S. C.
October 23, 1862
I have to write you of another hard fought battle. The brigades of
Generals Brannan and Terry encountered the enemy yesterday at a point
about four miles from Pocotaligo on the Charleston and Savannah
Railroad. They routed the rebels from their position, drove them back,
pushed them across the Pocotaligo river, the enemy destroying the
bridge as he retired, thus preventing further chase. The contest
resulted in a victory for our troops, purchased, however, at a fearful
The expedition whose history I am attempting to record had this for
its object: First, a complete reconnaissance of Broad river, together
with its tributaries, the Coosawatchie, the Tulifinny and the
Pocotaligo; second, to test practically the rapidity and safety with
which a landing could be effected; third, to learn the strength of the
enemy on the main land guarding the railroad between Charleston and
Savannah; fourth, to accomplish as much of the destruction of the
railroad as could be done in a single day.
The land and naval forces participating in the movement sailed from
Hilton Head at about 11 o'clock on the night of the 21st. The
following is a list of the vessels and troops comprising the
1 - Gunboat Paul Jones, Captain Steedman.
2 - Transport Ben Derford, Captain Hallet with 600 men of the Forty-
seventh Pennsylvania Vols. under Col. Good and 400 of the Fifty-fifth
Pennsylvania under Col. White.
3 - Gunboat Conemaugh, Commander Reed Worden with 350 of the Fourth
New Hampshire Vols. under Col. Bell
4 - Gunboat Wissahickoa with 250 of the Fourth New Hampshire Vols.
5 - Transport Boston, Capt. Johnston with 500 of the Seventh
Connecticut regiment under Col. Hawley, and 380 of the Third New
Hampshire under Col. Jackson.
6 - Gunboat Patroon, Acting Master Urann with 50 of the Third N. H.
7 - Gunboat Uncas with 50 of the Third New Hampshire.
8 - Transport Darlington with 300 of the Sixth Connecticut under Col.
9 - Transport Relief with 200 of the Sixth Connecticut.
10 - Gunboat Marblehead with 230 of the Third Rhode Island.
11 - Gunboat Vixen with 70 of the Third Rhode Island.
12 - Transport Flora with 300 of the Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania under
13 - Gunboat Water Witch with 150 of the Seventy-sixth Penna.
14. Armed transport, George Washington, with 250 of Serrill's
Engineers under Lieut. Col. Hall.
15 - Armed steamer, Planter, with 450 of the Forty-eighth New York
under Col. Barton and a battery of the Third Rhode Island under Captain
In addition to the above, a section of Light Company E, Third United
States artillery and another of battery M, First United States
artillery, the former in command of Lieut. Gittings and the latter
under Lieut. Henry were towed from Hilton Head in lighters constructed
for the purpose.
Mackay's Point which we reached shortly before daylight is at the
confluence of the Broad and Pocotaligo rivers and has been for several
months occupied by a strong picket of the enemy. Its distance from
Hilton Head is twenty-four miles while the village of Pocotaligo lies
about eleven miles to the northwest. From the point to the village the
road leads through fertile cotton lands and cool shady groves, past a
few fine plantation mansions and neat negro quarters; yet the lands
were neglected, the dwellings deserted and only the tramp of the
enemy's videttes, it seemed, had prevented the obliteration of the
Over this road at an early hour the brigade of Gen. Brannon took up
its march, the artillery of Lieut. Henry in the advance, supported by
the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania and followed by the Fifty-fifth
Pennsylvania, the Sixth Connecticut and the Fourth New Hampshire.
Close behind followed Gen. Terry's command, comprising the Seventy-
sixth Pennsylvania, the Seventh Connecticut, the Third New Hampshire
and the New York Volunteer Engineers, preceded by a section of
Hamilton's battery under Lieut. Gittings.
From the fact that an attempt on the part of Captain Gray of the
Seventh Connecticut to bag the picket at Mackay's during the night had
resulted merely in surprising them, it was inferred that the enemy had
timely notice of our approach and would be prepared for us in strong
force. We met him at noon about seven miles out. The rebels had
stationed field artillery on either side of the road at the summit of a
slight ascent, to reach which we were compelled to cross an open field
and a narrow causeway. Here as the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania came up,
the enemy poured into us a fearful fire of grape and shrapnel, which
was promptly answered by our musketry. Lieut. Henry's artillery also
pressed forward at great speed and got so close to the rebels as to
play upon them with grape and canister. As the ball opened and the
echoes of artillery grew more frequent, our boys pressed on with cheers
that were caught up by the entire column, and in ten minutes the rebels
had been forced from their position. They fell back, fighting as they
went, our troops crowding them a distance of a mile and a half.
The rebel fire was from the first well directed and well maintained.
It was hot and terrible beyond anything I ever saw before, excepting
perhaps that at James Island. A single shell exploding in the midst of
Lieut. Henry's guns, killed one man and wounded four others. Still his
pieces were served most faithfully, his gallant artillerists standing
in their work till only three were left to man his right piece. The
battery of Lieut. Gittings of the Third regular artillery was also
badly cut up.
The brigade of General Terry was at once thrown forward and in a few
moments from the opening of the battle were actively engaged in
assisting General Brannan's troops. The Third New Hampshire and
Serrill's engineers were held in reserve and though through the day
these troops were under severe fire, they escaped almost entirely
without injury. The Forty-seventh Pennsylvania and Fourth New
Hampshire which supported Henry's guns in the advance were terribly
shattered. The former lost one hundred and forty and the latter about
fifty in killed and wounded.
After the rebels had assumed a second position, our ammunition had
become partially exhausted and our fire was in a measure moderated, but
as the enemy invariably redoubled his efforts as we slacked ours,
another advance was made. The rebels resisted stubbornly but were
again forced back and took up a third position at the iron bridge
across the Pocotaligo, half a mile this side of the village. Here they
made another desperate stand. In artillery they were much the
stronger, having not less than twelve pieces playing upon us, while our
own artillery consisted of but four Parrott guns and three boat
howitzers from the Wabash brought up by the Paul Jones. These pieces
were under the command of Lieut. Phoenix of the flagship and were most
beautifully served. The conduct of the brave tars who manned them
filled our soldiers with admiration.
The Fourth New Hampshire here made its mark. By a dashing charge in
which they were supported by the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania, they again
routed the rebels, driving them across the bridge. The enemy at once
destroyed this structure, tearing up the planking and pulling down the
trestle work, thus placing it beyond the possibility of immediate
The fight had lasted from noon until nearly six o'clock. Slowly but
steadily the rebels had been forced back until it was now beyond our
power to pursue them further. The whistling of locomotives and the
clattering of trains, bringing to the station close at hand fresh
troops from Charleston were distinctly heard. Night was hastening on.
Although preparations were made by the engineers to provide a crossing,
it was determined to leave the field.
To General Terry was given the conduct of the retreat. It was made
in most admirable order, each regiment preserving its line and covering
itself with honor as it retired, no less than in the trying ordeal of
Generals Brannan and Terry express themselves delighted with the
conduct of the troops. "They were steady, true and brave. I know the
troops are satisfied with their generals and I have yet to hear the
first word prejudicial to the conduct of any officers upon the field."
If heavy losses may indicate gallantry, the palm may be given to
Colonel Good's noble regiment, the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania
volunteers. Upon this command the brunt of battle fell. Out of 600 who
went into action, nearly 150 were killed or wounded. All the Keystone
troops did splendidly as did the Connecticut Volunteers under Chatfield
When the fight commenced, Dr. Baily of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania
was placed in charge of the hospital. When the wounded men were brought
in, I could not but notice the kind attention he bestowed upon them. In
the care of the sufferers he was ably assisted by Dr. Schall of the
Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania, Dr. Merritt of the Fifty-fifth and Drs.
Porter and M'Clellan of the Connecticut volunteers.
This morning the wounded are being taken to Hilton Head. They cannot
number less than four hundred. The Boston has nearly one hundred on
board and will leave at ten o'clock.
The force of Col. Barton comprising four hundred and fifty men of the
Forty-eighth New York Volunteers and one company of the Third Rhode
Island artillery under Captain Gould had also an important duty to
perform. As the force moved toward Pocotaligo, the steamer, Planter,
with the above force was dispatched up the Coosawatchie. The Planter
together with the gunboats Vixen and Patroon penetrated nearly to the
village and landed a portion of their troops. The latter were just in
time to intercept a train of three platform and two passenger cars
laden with troops which had been telegraphed for from Pocotaligo and
were on their way to that point. Col. Barton opened upon this train
with small arms and with grape from a boat howitzer and killed and
wounded from twenty-five to forty of the forces - among them the
engineer. The Planter and the Patroon shelled the town, while a party
of the Forty-eighth went ashore and destroyed the railroad and
telegraph, tearing up the track and ties and bringing off about a
quarter of a mile of the wire. They also captured one prisoner from
The arrival of heavy artillery compelled Col. Barton to fall back to
the Planter; but by the destruction of bridges as he retired, he
prevented pursuit. A few of the enemy's infantry followed him,
skulking along the woody shore and maintaining a ceaseless racket of
musketry. They were driven out by the Patroon, which fired no less
than 122 balls among them.
As I have said, we have gained a victory but at a fearful cost. The
expedition did not result in the material success that was hoped for
it; but of our troops who crowded on shipboard, were deprived of their
rest; who marched the next day ten miles and fought the enemy six
hours; who returned hungry, thirsty, worn and weary and who, today, are
busily re-embarking, I think too much cannot be said in praise. They
had answered the most ardent expectations of their commanders.
Another expedition was on the tapis in which troops now at Mackay's
Point were to participate. Whether the fatigues of yesterday will
delay another and more important movement remains for Gen. Mitchell to
Hilton Head, S. C.
The official list of the killed and wounded in the late fight shows
our loss to be less heavy than I supposed on yesterday, when I
forwarded from Mackay's Point a hurried estimate of our casualties. My
account of the battle was necessarily hastened, from the fact that the
Circassian was under sailing orders, but she has been detained and I am
able to send you today a full record of the engagement which I omitted
from my dispatch of yesterday:
The contest, rightly named, might be called the battle of Frampton
and Pocotaligo Bridge, for at the former point the enemy made their
strongest stand while at the latter, we accomplished the work of
driving them across the stream.
When the enemy were driven from their first stand point, they left
behind them two caissons filled with ammunition. It was sent back to
them from the boat howitzers of the Wabash and proved to be our
salvation at Frampton's. Had we been unable to avail ourselves of this
most opportune bequest of the rebels, we would undoubtedly been
compelled to retire inasmuch as the ammunition of Lieutenants Henry
and Gittings had become exhausted, and we were fighting some eight or
nine miles distant from supplies.
We captured seven prisoners, four of whom were taken by a party from
the Paul Jones under Acting Master Ormond before daylight. Their horses
were also bagged. They knew of our approach and were prepared for our
advent before we met them.
The Union forces were under command of Brigadier General J. M.
Brannan, Gen. Terry being second in command. The rebels were commanded
by Col. Walker until our arrival at Pocotaligo bridge when Gen.
Beauregard, who had just arrived from Charleston, commanded the rebels
The navy, which was represented in the fight by Lieut. Phoenix and
Ensigns Wallace, Adams and Pierson, with their admirably drilled
gunners was under the command of Captain Steedman and rendered valuable
assistance, not only in transporting troops but in protecting their
landing and departure.
General Terry remained on shore at Mackay's Point until the last man
had re-embarked when the buildings which had been occupied by the rebel
pickets were fired and destroyed.
The following comprises the list of casualties in the Fifty-Fifth
Pennsylvania Volunteers, Col. White:
Killed: Sergt. Samuel Hester
Wounded: Orderly Sergt. Abraham Alstead
Sergt. Patrick Hodge
Sergt. Harry Marlett
John H. Wagoner
Wounded: Corporal Franklin Kearn
John K. Micklos
Wounded: Samuel Kennedy
Killed: Capt. Horace Bennett
Wounded: Orderly Sergt. Winfield Benseman
Sergt. George Parry
Corporal John Magee
Wounded: Corporal William Boone
Killed: Orderly Sergt. William Martin
Wounded: Sergeant George E. Meech
Keywords/Tags: Captain Steedman, Captain Hallet, Commander Reed Worden, Colonel Bell, Captain Johnston, Colonel Hawley, Colonel Jackson, Colonel Good, Colonel White, Master Urann, Colonel Chatfield, Colonel Strawbridge, Lieutenant Colonel Hall, Colonel Barton, Captain Gould, Lieutenant Gittings, Lieutenant Henry, Master Ormond, General J. M. Brannan, General Terry, Colonel Walker, General Beauregard, Lieutenant Phoenix, Ensign Wallace, Ensign Adams, Ensign Pierson, Sergeant Samuel Hester, Orderly Sergeant Abraham Alstead, Sergeant Patrick Hodge, Sergeant Harry Marlett, James Litzinger, John H. Wagoner, William Gallagher, Hugh McAtaminy, Corporal Franklin Kearn, Benjamin Birchtel, Daniel Rich, John K. Micklos, Cyrus Bonner, Samuel Kennedy, Samuel Diehl, Henry Smith, Captain Horace Bennett, Orderly Sergeant Winfield Benseman, Sergeant George Parry, Corporal John Magee, Thomas Magee, Corporal William Boone, Orderly Sergeant William Martin, William Leech, Sergeant George E. Meech, John Miller, John Coffey, John Fraser, Gunboat Paul Jones, Gunboat Conemaugh, Gunboat Wissahickoa, Gunboat Patroon, Gunboat Uncas, Gunboat Marblehead, Gunboat Vixen, Gunboat Water, Transport Ben Derford, Transport Boston, Transport Darlington, Transport Relief, Transport Flora, Armed transport George Washington, Armed steamer Planter, 47th Pennsylvania Volunterrs, 55th Pennsylvania Volunteers, 76th Pennsylvania, 4th New Hampshire, 3rd New Hampshire, 6th Connecticut, 7th Connecticut, 3rd Rhode Island, Serrill's Engineers, 48th New York, Light Company E, 3rd United States artillery, Battery M, 1st United States artillery, Company A, Company B, Company D, Company F, Company G, Company K, Hilton Head, Mackay's Point, Pocotaligo, Clearfield County, Civil War, Ebensburg Alleghanian