February 28, 1865: Logan delayed, and a skirmish

John A. Logan
“Black Jack” Logan

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Logan is trying to cross Lynch’s Creek, but high water is causing him problems. In the process some of his men had a battle with rebel cavalry, with indecisive results.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Tiller’s Bridge, S. C., February 28, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

Logan is not year across Lynch’s Creek, but the crossing at Kelly’s is almost ready, where he has two divisions. After the brigades of infantry were thrown over the water rose so fast that it could not be bridged. It is now subsiding rapidly.

Captain Duncan met two brigades of rebel cavalry near Mount Elon Post-Office, had a severe skirmish, and returned without being able to strike the railroad. Hampton’s headquarters are reported at Darlington; Hardee at Cheraw, where a captured letter says a fight is expected some time next week. What force Hardee has I am unable to determine.

Respectfully,
O. O. HOWARD,
Major-General.

P. S. -Blair is entirely across Lynch’s Creek.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Tiller’s Bridge, S. C., February 28, 1865.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE:

SIR: I have the honor herewith to report that in compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 51, I assumed command of all the available mounted forces at these headquarters, and marched south on the west side of Lynch’s Creek, crossing the same at Dubose’s Bridge, and proceeded in the direction of Simonsville, on the Florence and Charleston Railroad, for the purpose of destroying the railroad bridges near that place.

Lieutenant John A. McQueen, commanding scouts, being in advance, struck the enemy’s pickets, eight in number, two miles from Dubose’s Bridge, charged and drove them within one mile and a half of Mount Elon, where I learned the enemy, 700 strong, was encamped; I also learned that Butler’s division of cavalry was encamped near Wide Swamp. My information was received from negroes and citizens.

Colonel Aiken, in command of the Fifth [Sixth] South Carolina Cavalry, coming from the direction of Mount Elon, being advised by the citizens of the strength and direction of our party, followed us, coming up with us at dark at the cross-roads three miles south of Mount Elon, engaged us and was repulsed after a brisk engagement, which was mostly a hand to hand conflict on account of the darkness, we being unable to distinguish friend from foe.

List of casualties: Lieutenant John A. McQueen, Company K, Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, commanding scouts, shot through the abdomen; Henry Irish, private, Company K, Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, shot through the abdomen; Henry Irish, private, Company K, Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, shot through the abdomen; William G. Evans, private, Fourth Independent Company Ohio Cavalry, shot through the leg. Missing: Albert White, Fourth Independent Company Ohio Cavalry; Joseph Bedoll, scout; -Dawson, scout.

The enemy’s loss was much greater than ours; among the number Colonel Aiken and Lieutenant Smith were wounded. We captured 1 prisoner, a first sergeant, who stated that their force was 125 or 150 strong. We proceeded south, and deeming it unsafe to remain on the east side of Lynch’s Creek, recrossed at Fields’ Bridge and encamped at Bishopville, and returned to camp by the Lynch’s Creek road. The conduct of the officers and men who accompanied me was unimpeachable.

WM. DUNCAN,
Captain, Commanding Company K, Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry.

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TILLER’S BRIDGE, S. C., February 28, 1865-5 a.m.
Major General F. B. BLAIR,
Commanding Seventeenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: The water has gone down very slowly. Corse thinks he will be able to commence crossing his train to-night. I do not wish you to push forward beyond Big Black Creek unsupported, as I am uncertain what force Hardee has. Do you hear anything from the Twentieth Corps? Captain Duncan has returned without striking the railroad. He had quite a skirmish near Mount Elon Post-Office. Lieutenant Mcqueen was badly wounded. Hampton’s headquarters are said to be at Darlington. Do you find any supplies?

Very respectfully,
O. O. HOWARD,
Major-General.

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