Historic Markers Across Georgia

Battle between Confederate Gunboats and Union Field Artillery

Marker ID: GHM 025-79
Location: Located on U.S. 17 at the former Savannah Sugar Refining Co. near Port Wentworth
County: Chatham
Coordinates: N 32° 08.552    W 081° 09.428
  32.142533    -81.15713
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMW90
Battle between Confederate Gunboats and Union Field Artillery Marker  


In December, 1864, was fought on the Savannah River near here one of the few battles in which Confederate gunboats and Union field artillery were engaged against each other.

Colerain Plantation, as these lands were then known, had been occupied on December 10, 1864, by units of Sherman´s army. Anticipating an attempt by a Confederate naval flotilla, which had been engaged in protecting a railroad bridge further upstream, to return to Savannah, Captain C. E. Winegar´s battery was posted on a bluff about one mile East of this marker.

Early on the morning of December 12, 1864, the CSS Sampson and Macon and their tender, the Resolute, attempted to run past the Federal battery. There a "terrific fire" from both sides, according to John Thomas Scharf, a midshipman on the Sampson who later became a well-known historian of the Confederate States Navy. The gunboats were struck several times.

Unable to get past the battery, the vessels turned about. In doing so the Resolute collided with the gunboats and drifted helplessly upon Argyle Island where she was captured by troops of the 3rd Wisconsin Regiment. With the aid of barrels of bacon thrown in their furnaces, the two gunboats were able to steam out of range. They escaped to Augusta.