JOHNNY GREEN of the ORPHAN BRIGADE.. defending Savannah

Stiles/Akin

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JOHNNY GREEN of the ORPHAN BRIGADE..
defending Savannah

December 1864 Johnny Green wrote-"Finding this, our forces were hurried to the Ogeechee River to impeded their march.

6 December 1864 Johnny Green wrote-"We beat them to this little river and were there on the morning of Dec.6th to oppose their crossing. They tried three different places to cross this day and we drove them back every time.

7 December 1864 Johnny Green wrote-"Dec.7th, the same experience was had, we had three different skirmishes with them but that night the crossed at a different point and were making their way toward Ebenezer, a place near the Savannah River where there were some provisions and some stores of ammunition.

8 December 1864 Johnny Green wrote-"We mounted our horses and nearly rode all night (7th) and confronted them at Ebenezer Creek on the morning of Dec.8th. We had a sharp little engagement with their cavalry here, where they seem to abandon the effort to burn the supplies and provisions here and sent marauding parties to burn the homes of the planters. We attacked them and after repeated skirmishes with them this day we drove them toward Eden. This put them between us and Savannah and at Eden they were to meet another column of their army, so it made it important for us to get in between them and Savannah. That night we made a detour so as to get between them and Savannah. It was a hard ride because we had to go a round-about way and our horses were suffering for feed.

9 December 1864 Johnny Green wrote-"On the morning of Dec.9th we were ready for them and they found us confronting them on exactly the opposite side from our position the day before. Their reinforcements, however, came up and attacked us and after a brisk skirmish, we fell back a few miles and formed a favorable position across the road. When their advanced guard came up, we opened fire on them. They attempted to drive us off but could do nothing with us until their artillery came up and opened up on us. The defenses and the obstructions which we had thrown up with rails could not withstand artillery, so we had to retreat, but we kept this up the whole day having frequent brushes with them until near Pooler (station).

Here we mined the road, placing some bomb shells in the road which just at this point was a plank road; a few planks were lifted, some percussion shells were placed under these planks and about a quarter mile away just at the other edge of the swamp we had our artillery ready, which until then was out of sight, wheeled into line and opened on their cavalry column which was in advance. They were thrown into great confusion and rout but only one of their horses was killed and but one dead man was left on the road. It was some time before they advanced again and only after shelling us for one hour; we however held them back until nightfall. But neither our men nor horses had anything to eat, so we left only a squad to picket this place while the rest of the command fell back to the outskirts of Savannah. Here we got some provisions for our men and also for our horses and sent some to the picket force left at Pooler station. It was here that poor Lt. Fielding Forman received a wound from which he died a few days later.

(**Fighting is now on the grounds of Savannah Christian School on Chatham Parkway**)

10 December 1864 Johnny Green wrote- “The enemy was on us early this morning but we had sent our horses to the rear and taken positions in the trenches around Savannah. When the Yankees came up and got a volley from our Enfield’s and found we had reached the defense around the town he withdrew for a time to let Sherman’s whole army come up."
"General Hardee is here in command. We have seen a great deal of service with him and the men all admire him. He has gotten together here about 7000 militia. Old men from 50 to 60 years old and boys 14-16 have rallied to the defense of our South land. The odds are greatly against us but our men have not lost heart. Sherman with his 60,000 men gives us work to do every day.

There is not a day we do not have heavy cannonading and sharp fighting. Sometimes only brisk skirmish fire and sometimes an assault but we drive them back and repulse every effort to break our line.”

One day, however, December 13th his fleet steamed up the mouth of the Ogeechee River and together with the land forces made a most fierce and determined assault and captured Fort McAllister. This constituted our extreme left.
We readjusted our lines and took position in the inner line of works and kept up our daily fighting. But the land and naval forces of the enemy had now formed a junction and they could take their time.

Daily skirmishing kept up until December 20th. Our horses had been sent across the Savannah River into South Carolina and we laid aside our spurs, taken our Enfield rifles into the trenches and caused many a Yankee to bite the dust.

But Hood had fought the battles of Altoona, Franklin and Nashville and had his army almost annihilated and was in rapid retreat towards Decatur Alabama with the main part of his force; and Cheatham was coming towards Augusta.

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