Battle of Honey Hill
Description: Leaving Hilton Head on November 28, a Union expeditionary force under Maj.
Gen. John P. Hatch steamed up the Broad River in transports to cut the Charleston & Savannah Railroad near Pocotaligo. Hatch disembarked at Boyd’s Landing and marched inland. On November 30, Hatch encountered a Confederate force of regulars and militia under Col. Charles J. Colcock at Honey Hill. Determined attacks by U.S. Colored Troops (including the 54th Massachusetts) failed to capture the Confederate entrenchments or cut the railroad. Hatch retired after dark, withdrawing to his transports at Boyd’s Neck.
The Battle of Honey Hill was the third battle of Sherman's March to the Sea, fought November 30, 1864, during the American Civil War. It did not involve Major General William T. Sherman's main force, marching from Atlanta, Georgia, to Savannah, but was a failed Union Army expedition under Maj. Gen. John P. Hatch that attempted to cut off the Charleston and Savannah Railroad in support of Sherman's projected arrival in Savannah.
Hatch's expeditionary force left Hilton Head, South Carolina, for Boyd’s Neck (above Beaufort) on November 28. It consisted of 5,00 men—two brigades of the Coast Division of the Department of the South, one naval brigade, and portions of three batteries of light artillery. They steamed up the Broad River in transports to cut the Charleston and Savannah Railroad near Pocotaligo. Due to a heavy fog the troops were not disembarked from the transports until late the following afternoon, and Hatch immediately started forward to cut the railroad near Grahamville.
The expedition maps and guides proved worthless, however, and Hatch was unable to proceed on the right road until the morning of November 30. At Honey Hill, a few miles from Grahamville, he encountered a Confederate force of regulars and militia, under Col. Charles J. Colcock, with a battery of seven guns across the road. Determined attacks were launched by U.S. Colored Troops (including the 54th Massachusetts), but the position of the Federal force was such that only one section of artillery could be used at a time, and the Confederates were too well entrenched to be dislodged. Fighting kept up until dark when Hatch, realizing the impossibility of successfully attacking or turning the flank of the enemy, withdrew to his transports at Boyd’s Neck, having lost 89 men killed, 629 wounded, and 28 missing. The Confederate casualties amounted to 8 killed and 39 wounded. 1st Lt. O.W. Bennett awarded Medal of Honor