Sherman and His Campaigns a Military Biography

By S. M. Bowman; R. B. Irwin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI.
THE LOST ARMY.

DURING this march the commander-in-chief made his headquarters with the Twentieth Corps.

On the 24th of November, the right wing marched from Gordon in two columns, Osterhaus' fifteenth corps by way of Irwinton to Ball's Ferry, and Blair's seventeenth corps along the railway, with instructions to cross the Oconee at Jackson's Ferry, two and a half miles north of the railway bridge. General Giles A. Smith, who had preceded his column with the First Alabama Cavalry, drove quite a force of the enemy from two stockades and across the bridge, and found that Jackson's Ferry was an old abandoned route through the swamp, completely impracticable. General Howard therefore directed Blair's corps to move to Ball's Ferry, where the two heads of column arrived about the same time on the 25th inst. A detachment of the First Alabama had the day before reconnoitred the ferry, finding a small force of the enemy, made a raft, crossed the river, and drove the enemy back, but were, subsequently, themselves forced to recross the river with some loss. On arriving at the river the enemy was found intrenched behind barricades, with an extended line of skirmishers. Osterhaus and Blair confronted them with a line which extended beyond the enemy's flanks both up and down the river; the former placed artillery in position and made a demonstration on the front, along the road, while the latter sent a detachment some two miles up the river to cross in boats, but the current being too swift for rowing, the boats were finally swung over, after the fashion of a flying ferry.

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