Diary of Orrin Brown, outside Springfield, Georgia
We left the picket line at 6 AM and the regt. had left camp when we got in but we overtook them about a mile out and we marched about 1/2 mile farther and came to a creek and swamp, the creek was bridged but the swamp was about 20 rods wide and a little over knee deep and you can immagine how we felt when the Adjutant came back and told us we would have to wade the swamp for we were all shivering with the cold and there was ice to be seen all along the edge of the swamp. You can be sure it was a cold bath but we got through safe. We marched about 7 miles and went into camp for the night, at about noon. Our Company forraged some fresh pork and Beef yesterday and some more beef and some mutton today. We had a very cold night and there is a cold west wind blowing today but the sky was clear. I read 5 Chapt. in the Testament today which finished the reading the Testament through since I have been in the service.
Winter rains had conspired to keep the Left Wing of Gen. Sherman’s army mired down by mud and flood. Sherman had intended to depart the coast by 15 January 1865, and Gen. Howard had brought most of his Right Wing to Beaufort, South Carolina, by then. Mother Nature had other plans for Pvt. Brown and the Army of Georgia (Left Wing) under Gen. Slocum. The causeway the Confederates had used to flee in December had been fixed up, but heavy rains in January brought the river to flood; the road was drowned under four feet of water. Slocum had established a supply depot at Sister’s Ferry (near Clyo, Georgia), up the Savannah River. However, the river there was also flooded about three miles wide, so a pontoon bridge could not be put into place until the first week of February. Until then, Pvt. Brown and his regimental companion sit and soak.
(Photo National Weather Service)