Civil War Wiki
Battle of Honey Hill
Part of the American Civil War
Date November 30, 1864
Location Jasper County, South Carolina
Result Confederate victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
John P. Hatch Charles Colcock
5,000 1,400
Casualties and losses
746 (89 killed, 629 wounded, 28 captured) 47 (8 killed, 39 wounded)

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 5,000 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 [1].

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 a brigade led by Alfred S. Hartwell that included the 54th Massachusetts and 55th.[2] 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[3]. 1st Lt. O.W. Bennett awarded Medal of Honor

Union Order of Battle[]

Brigade Regiment and Batteries
1st Brigade

Brig. Gen. Edward E. Potter

  • 25th Ohio Infantry-Lt. Col. Nathaniel Haughton
  • 32nd US CT-Col. George W. Baird
  • 34th US CT
  • 35th US CT-Col. Beecher
  • 56th New York Infantry-Lt. Col. Tyler
  • 127th New York Infantry-Col. William Gurney
  • 144th New York Infantry-Col. Lewis
  • 157th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment-Lt. Col. Carmichael
2nd Brigade

Col. Alfred S. Hartwell of 54th Mass.

Naval Brigade

Commander George H. Preble[citation needed]

  • Sailor Battalion of Infantry-Lt. James O'Kane
  • USMC Battalion of Infantry-1st Lt.G.G. Stoddard
Artillery Brigade

Lt. Col. William Ames of 3rd RI Light Artillery

  • Co A 3rd Rhode Island Light Artillery-Capt W.H. Hammer: One section
  • Battery B 3rd New York Light Artillery-Capt. T.J. Meseareu: 4 12 pound guns
  • Co F 3rd New York Artillery-Lt E.H. Titus: 4 12 pound guns

Capt George Hurlbut

  • 2 squadrons, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry

Confederate Order of battle[]

General Gustavus W Smith[4][5]

  • 1st Brigade Georgia Militia
  • State Line Brigade of Georgia
  • 47th Georgia
  • Athens and Augusta Battalions
  • 3rd South Carolina Cavalry: detachments from 3-4 companies
  • Beufort Artillery: 2 guns[6]
  • DePass's Battery: 2 guns
  • LaFayette Artillery: 3 guns

Reinforced during battle by Gen Beverly H. Robertson

  • 32nd Georgia
  • a battery and company of artillery


In a report of Hatch December 1864 summarized the Union losses[7]:

  • 1st Brigade: casualties of 2 officers and 54 men killed;28 officers and 409 men wounded; 1 officer and 14 men missing.
  • 2nd Brigade: casualties of 3 officers and 28 men killed;10 officers and 160 men wounded; 1 officer and 8 men missing.
  • Naval Brigade: casualties of 1 man killed; 7 men wounded; 4 men missing
  • Artillery Brigade: casualties of 1 officer killed; 2 officers and 12 men wounded
  • Cavalry: casualties of 1 man wounded

The Confederate losses were reported by Lt Col C.C. Jones in his Siege of Savannah as 4 killed and 40 wounded. The Savannah Republican newspaper on Dec 1, 1864 reported "between eighty and one hundred killed and wounded"[8]


  1. McKee, James H. Back "in War Times": History of the 144th Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, 1903, p 184
  2. Jonathan Sutherland (2004). "Honey Hill, Battle of (November 30, 1864)". African Americans at war: an encyclopedia. 1. ABC-CLIO. pp. 217–219. ISBN 9781576077467. 
  3. Reminiscences of Charleston by Jacob N Cardozo, 1866, pg 118
  4. Robertson,pg 242
  5. Stone, pp 214-25; General Smith, of higher rank, relinquished command to Col Colcock, who was more knowledgable of the battlefield
  6. Stone, p.218 claims 5 guns from Beufort Artillery, 2 guns from Earle's Battery of Furman's Artillery and Kanapaux's Battery of LaFayette Artillery
  7. Official Records Series 1 Volume 44 Chap LVI .p. 425
  8. Robertson, pg 242


  • Emilio, Luis F (1894). History of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1863-65. Boston,MA: Boston Book Co. 
  • Roster of the Twenty Fifth Ohio Infantry Regiment
  • Stone, David H; Stone, David H Jr (2008). Vital Rails: The Charleston & Savannah Railroad and the Civil War in Coastal South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-570-03716-7. 
  • National Park Service battle description
  • Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, Simon & Schuster, 2001, ISBN 0-684-84944-5.
  • The Union Army; A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States, 1861–65 — Records of the Regiments in the Union Army — Cyclopedia of Battles — Memoirs of Commanders and Soldiers, Federal Publishing Company (Madison, Wisconsin), 1908 (reprinted by Broadfoot Publishing, 1997).

External links[]

Coordinates: 32°28′24″N 80°57′42″W / 32.47324°N 80.9617°W / 32.47324; -80.9617

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