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Second Battle of Fort McAllister

Beginning on 1864/12/13 and ending 1864/12/13


In April of 1862 Capt. Joseph L. McAllister founded the Hardwicke Mounted Rifles which later served in Virginia. Capt. McAllister also agreed to allow the construction of Confederate gun defenses with earthwork fortifications for four guns at Genesis Point on his land.[1] This fort was to guard the southern flank of the Savannah defenses as well as the entrance to the Ogeechee River, the important railroad trestle of the Atlantic and Gulf railroad, The King´s Road that carried the harvests of southwestern Georgia to Savannah and then to the Army of Northern Virginia as well as the rich cotton and rice plantations that lay upstream. [2]


Fort McAllister was attacked from the sea seven times, the first attack occured on July 1, 1862. The fiercest battle occurring on March 3, 1863 when Admiral Dupont ordered the ironclads Montauk, Passaic, Nahant and the Patapsco to attack Fort McAllister. The four Monitors exchanged fire with the fort for nearly 8 hours before the ironclads withdrew. The damage to the fort was quickly repaired the next day. The fort was finally captured from the land side by General Sherman on December 13, 1864. [3]


 

 

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Start Date
12/13/1864
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12/13/1864

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Civil War in GA - Historic Markers Across Georgia

Second Battle of Fort McAllister



Second Battle of Fort McAllister
The final obstacle along General Sherman's march to the Sea

Synopsis
Date: December 13, 1864 (1864-12-13)
Location: Ogeechee River, Bryan County, Georgia
Result: Union victory
Belligerents
Flag of Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders
William B. Hazen
George A. Anderson
Forces Engaged
2nd Division, XV Corps, Army of the Tennessee
Fort McAllister Garrison
Strength
4,000
250
Casualties and losses
24 killed, 110 wounded
14 killed, 21 wounded

 

 

The specifications for the fort where done by Capt. John McCrady [CS]. Company A of the 1st Georgia Infantry ("DeKalb Rifles"), under the command of Lt. Alfred Hartridge, who was detached and ordered to build the fort July 7, 1861. The fort was built using available materials, primary sand and mud.[4] The main armament was one rifled 32-pounder and one 8 inch columbiad.[5] After the capture of Hilton Head, S.C. in 1861 and a visit by Robert E. Lee to the site to review its defenses, the fortifications of the area were strengthened and the obstructions were placed in the Ogeechee River. In 1862 Union forces occupied Tybee Island, blockaded the port of Savannah and captured Ft. Pulaski in April of that year.



 

 




 
In his official operational report, General Sherman describes the events of the day:

 
NO. 21.
Report of Brig. Gen. William D. Hazen, U.S. Army, commanding Second Division
 
 
Hdqrs. Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps,
Savannah, Ga. January 9, 1865

[...omitted...]


On December 1 the march was resumed in the direction of Statesborough, along the right bank of the Ogeechee River. The remainder of the march was impeded by low, broad marshes, which it was invariably found necessary to corduroy. From Summerville to the Cannouchee River, which was reached the 7th, the Third Division, General John E. Smith, with my own, formed a separate column under my command, and was somewhat exposed to annoyances from the enemy endeavoring to reach Savannah from the west before us. On the 3d the Fifty-third Ohio lost by capture a foraging party of 1 officer and 11 men. On the 4th, near Statesborough, the foragers met a brigade of the enemy cavalry endeavoring to join Wheeler; were attacked by them and driven to the main column, losing by capture 27 and by wounds 8. The enemy lost 2 killed and 2 captured. The enemy defended the crossing of the Cannouchee with infantry and two pieces artillery, having burned the bridge. During the night of time 8th the enemy retired; and the bridge being repaired, at 11 a. m. the 9th the brigades were crossed -- one pushed to Kings Bridge, the other to a point on the Gulf railroad, about six miles from Kings Bridge, which was reached and much of the road destroyed toward the river by night, including the bridge. On the 10th the division recrossed the Cannonchee, moving to and crossing the Ogeechee at Dillon’s Ferry, and proceeding to near the Anderson plantation, nine miles from Savannah. On the 12th the division moved back to Kings Bridge, it having received orders to cross the Ogeechee there and move down its right bank to Fort McAllister and capture it. At daybreak the 13th the troops were put in motion, reaching the vicinity of McAllister at about 11 a.m. About one mile from the fort a picket was captured, revealing the whereabouts of a line of torpedoes across the road. Some time was lost in safely removing them, when leaving eight regiments at that point, nine were carried forward to about 600 yards from the fort and deployed, with a line of skirmishers thrown sufficiently near the fort to keep the gunners from working their guns with any effect – those firing to the rear being in barbette. The grounds to the right of the fort being marshy, cut through by deep streams, rendered the deployment of that part of the line slow and difficult, and was not completely effected till 4.45 p. m., at which time, every officer and man of the nine regiments being instructed what to do, the bugle sounded the forward, and at precisely 5 o’clock the fort was carried. The troops were deployed in one line as thin as possible. The result being that no man in the assault was struck till they came to close quarters. Here the fighting became desperate and deadly. Just outside the works a line of torpedoes had been place, many of which were exploded by the tread of the troops, blowing many men to atoms, but the line moved on without checking, over, under, and through abates, ditches, palisading, and fighting the garrison through the fort to their bomb-proofs, from which they still fought, and only succumbed as each man was individually over- powered.


Our losses were 24 officers and men killed, and 110 officers and men wounded.


Capt. John H. Groce, Thirtieth Ohio, an officer of many rare and valuable qualities, and who led the first assault on Vicksburg, was killed, and Col. Wells S. Jones, Fifty-third Ohio, commanding brigade, severely wounded.


The regiments most conspicuous in their gallantry were the Seventieth, Forty-seventh, and Thirtieth Ohio; all the rest performed their duty equally well.


After the proper commander of the second Brigade fell, Col. James S. Martin, One hundred and eleventh Illinois, assumed command of it, led it in the assault, rendering distinguished service. Col. A. C. Parry, Forty-seventh Ohio, and Lieutenant-Colonel Philips, Seventieth Ohio, were also conspicuous in their performance of duty.


Maj. Thomas T. Taylor, Forty-seventh Ohio, acting judge-advocate of this division, preferring to serve with his regiment on the campaign, was severely wounded while fighting in the fort.


The captures were as follows: The garrison, including killed, 250 men and officers, 24 pieces of ordnance, with their equipment, 40 tons ammunition, a mouths supply of food for the garrison, the small-arms of the command, all the animals and equipments of a light battery, the horses of the officers, and a large amount of private stores placed in the fort for safety.


To my entire staff especial praise is due for their faithful and efficient conduct during the campaign.


After the frill of McAllister the division was directed to destroy the Gulf railroad for a distance of twenty miles west of the Ogeechee, which it proceeded to do in the most thorough manner, completing the work December 21.


I would respectfully call attention to accompanying reports of brigade commanders; also, to drawings of Fort McAllister,** and a map of the country passed over.


The supply train of this division on leaving Atlanta consisted of eighty-three six-mule wagons. I transferred to other commands after reaching the vicinity of this place 22,000 rations.


I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant
 
W. B. HAZEN,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers
ASST. Adjt. GEN., FIFTEENTH ARMY Corps


 
Addenda


Special Hdqrs. Mil. Div. of the Miss.,
Field Order In the Field, near Savannah, Ga.
No. 131December 13, 1864

The general-in-chief announces with pleasure that to-day at 4.30 p.m. the Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, assaulted Fort McAlister and carried the place, capturing its entire garrison and armament, giving him full communication with the fleet and the army of Major-General Foster.


By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON,
Aide-de-Camp

 

Abatis (land side of fort) HospitalBarracks





Drawings of Fort McAllister
Source: OR Series 1 - Volume 44; page 112
Chapter: LVI - Operations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. November 14-December 31, 1864.

 



More Information:

 


References

  1. Fort McAllister State Historic Park  [Online]
    http://www.gastateparks.org/core/item/page.aspx?s=120698.120698.1.5
  2. Evans, Clement A. (editor) Confederate Military History. 18 vols. Extended Edition. Wilmington: Broadfoot ©1987. (reprint of 1899 edition) pg 201
  3. Our Georgia History - Our GA History - Fort McAllister  [Online]
    http://ourgeorgiahistory.com/wars/Civil_War/ftmcallister.html
  4. Our Georgia History - Our GA History - Fort McAllister  [Online]
    http://ourgeorgiahistory.com/wars/Civil_War/ftmcallister.html
  5. Evans, Clement A. (editor) Confederate Military History. 18 vols. Extended Edition. Wilmington: Broadfoot ©1987. (reprint of 1899 edition) pg 201
  6.  



     

     

    Links to Civil War Historic Markers Across Georgia.

     

    Capt. Nicholas Clinch
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    Fort McAllister - 1864 - Not Standing
    Fort McAllister The Assault From The Rear
    Fort McAllister-10 mi.
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