Union Forces Commanded by: Maj. Gen. John P. Hatch
Confederate Forces Commanded by: Col. Charles Colcock
**Missing and Captured
Conclusion: Confederate Victory
By the last week in November, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's march on Savannah was well advanced. To prevent reinforcements from reaching Savannah from the Carolinas, cooperating Federals sought to sever the railroad between Charleston and Savannah. On the evening of the 28th, Maj. Gen. John G. Foster, head of the department of the South, left Hilton Head, South Carolina with 5,500 men and sailed down the Broad River towards Boyd's Neck, 35 miles northeast of Savannah. From there he planned to move 10 miles eastward to cut the rail line near Grahamville.
When the first contingent of his transport fleet landed at Boyd's Neck the following afternoon, Foster passed command of his expedition to the leader of his Coast Division, Brig. Gen. John P. Hatch. Before all the units could disembark, Hatch moved inland with 1 infantry brigade, a contingent of sailors, and an 8-gun battery worked by the sailors. Delays caused by errors in marching prevented his advance from reaching the Grahamville depot until after 9:00 A.M. on the 30th.
There, Hatch found that his errant track had given Confederates time to mass in his front. The confederates, however, seemed unprepossessing: fewer than 2,000 Georgia militia and state troops under Maj. Gen. Gustavus W. Smith, plus a few Confederate cavalry and artillery units. The force had started from Macon 8 days before and, though not bound to serve outside of Georgia, had marched to grahamville in response to a plea from the area commander, Lt. Gen. William J. hardee. having learned of Foster;s advance, Hardee wanted Smith to protect the station for a few hours, until supports came from the north.
Fighting began when Hatch advanced 4 of his regiments, supported by a second brigade that had just reached him. After driving some Confederates, he found others ensconced behind earthworks 3 miles below the depot, on a stream-bordered crest known as Honey Hill. Erected 2 years before to obstruct just such an attack, these defenses, as well as the difficult terrain, prevented a flank movement. Hatch therefore launched 3 different attacks, each of which failed emphatically. Confederate artillery proved deadly, and soon the attackers' ammunition ran low. When he learned of Smith's imminent reinforcement, Hatch pulled back, then retreated, having suffered 721 casualties to the militia's 50.