Debarking from the Sonoma in ship's boats, the Marines quickly deployed as skirmishers and proceeded towards Grahamville, with the battalion of naval infantry marching in column, and the naval gunners bringing up the rear with two four-gun batteries of naval howitzers. An Army contingent, unofficially designated as the "Coast Division" and amounting to about 5,500 men under BrigGen John P.Hatch, landed at the same place as the main body of the expedition. Meanwhile, the Fleet Bde advanced rapidly inland, but made several wrong turns due to inaccurate maps; they eventually joined forces with the Coast Div near the Bolan Church, at the junction of Honey Hill and River Roads, where they entrenched and bivouacked for the night.
The next morning a general advance on the Charleston & Savannah Railroad began. After marching no more than live or six miles the expedition collided with Confederate forces near Honey Hill. The Marines were initially held in reserve, but after about two hours' fighting they were ordered forward along with the 55th Massachusetts, to relieve the 144th New York on the right of the Union line. The Marines advanced slowly through nearly a mile of thick woods and swamp before going into line of battle on the double-quick. For the next three hours they engaged with Confederate infantry and artillery, while Jeremiah Cogley, the battalion acting quartermaster-sergeant, braved heavy enemy fire to keep his men supplied with ammunition from the rear. Around 2pm, Acting Ensign Woodward Carter, USN, who was serving as acting major of the battalion, took 20 Marines in an attempt to feel out the enemy left flank, but returned without success. It was apparent that
OPPOSITE Sgt Richard Binder, of the Marine Guard aboard the USS Ticonderoga, was awarded the Medal of Honor for serving his ship's guns "with skill and courage" during the two major assaults on Fort Fisher in December 1864 and January 1865. He is seen here as a private at the beginning of the war. (Marine Corps Historical Center)
the attempt to push through the entrenched Confederate positions to the railroad was failing, and the Federal force was ordered to withdraw that evening. Despite the length of the engagement, the day's fighting at Honey Hill saw only one Marine killed, seven wounded (one mortally), and one missing.
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