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Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete

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Charles R. Wood's division behind as a rear-guard-one brigade of
which was intrenched across the road, with some of Kilpatrick's
cavalry on the flanks. On the 22d of November General G. W. Smith,
with a division of troops, came out of Mason, attacked this brigade
(Walcutt's) in position, and was handsomely repulsed and driven
back into Mason. This brigade was in part armed with Spencer
repeating-rifles, and its fire was so rapid that General Smith
insists to this day that he encountered a whole division; but he is
mistaken; he was beaten by one brigade (Walcutt's), and made no
further effort to molest our operations from that direction.
General Walcutt was wounded in the leg, and had to ride the rest of
the distance to Savannah in a carriage.

Therefore, by the 23d, I was in Milledgeville with the left wing,
and was in full communication with the right wing at Gordon. The
people of Milledgeville remained at home, except the Governor
(Brown), the State officers, and Legislature, who had ignominiously
fled, in the utmost disorder and confusion; standing not on the
order of their going, but going at once--some by rail, some by
carriages, and many on foot. Some of the citizens who remained
behind described this flight of the "brave and patriotic" Governor
Brown. He had occupied a public building known as the "Governor's
Mansion," and had hastily stripped it of carpets, curtains, and
furniture of all sorts, which were removed to a train of freight-
cars, which carried away these things--even the cabbages and
vegetables from his kitchen and cellar--leaving behind muskets,
ammunition, and the public archives. On arrival at Milledgeville I
occupied the same public mansion, and was soon overwhelmed with
appeals for protection. General Slocum had previously arrived with
the Twentieth Corps, had taken up his quarters at the Milledgeville
Hotel, established a good provost-guard, and excellent order was
maintained. The most frantic appeals had been made by the Governor
and Legislature for help from every quarter, and the people of the
State had been called out en masse to resist and destroy the
invaders of their homes and firesides. Even the prisoners and
convicts of the penitentiary were released on condition of serving
as soldiers, and the cadets were taken from their military college
for the same purpose. These constituted a small battalion, under
General Harry Wayne, a former officer of the United States Army,
and son of the then Justice Wayne of the Supreme Court. But these
hastily retreated east across the Oconee River, leaving us a good
bridge, which we promptly secured.

At Milledgeville we found newspapers from all the South, and
learned the consternation which had filled the Southern mind at our
temerity; many charging that we were actually fleeing for our lives
and seeking safety at the hands of our fleet on the sea-coast. All
demanded that we should be assailed, "front, flank, and rear;" that
provisions should be destroyed in advance, so that we would starve;
that bridges should be burned, roads obstructed, and no mercy shown
us. Judging from the tone of the Southern press of that day, the
outside world must have supposed us ruined and lost. I give a few
of these appeals as samples, which to-day must sound strange to the
parties who made them:

Corinth, Mississippi, November 18, 1884.

To the People of Georgia:

Arise for the defense of your native soil! Rally around your
patriotic Governor and gallant soldiers! Obstruct and destroy all
the roads in Sherman's front, flank, and rear, and his army will
soon starve in your midst. Be confident. Be resolute. Trust in an
overruling Providence, and success will soon crown your efforts. I
hasten to join you in the defense of your homes and firesides.


RICHMOND, November 18, 1884.

To the People of Georgia:

You have now the best opportunity ever yet presented to destroy the
enemy. Put every thing at the disposal of our generals; remove all
provisions from the path of the, invader, and put all obstructions
in his path.

Every citizen with his gun, and every negro with his spade and axe,
can do the work of a soldier. You can destroy the enemy by
retarding his march.

Georgians, be firm! Act promptly, and fear not!

B. H. Hill, Senator.

I most cordially approve the above.
James A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.

Richmond, November 19,1864.

To the People of Georgia:

We have had a special conference with President Davis and the
Secretary of War, and are able to assure you that they have done
and are still doing all that can be done to meet the emergency that
presses upon you. Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes,
horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman's army, and burn what
you cannot carry. Burn all bridges, and block up the roads in his
route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and
by day. Let him have no rest.


Members of Congress.

Of course, we were rather amused than alarmed at these threats, and
made light of the feeble opposition offered to our progress. Some
of the officers (in the spirit of mischief) gathered together in
the vacant hall of Representatives, elected a Speaker, and
constituted themselves the Legislature of the State of Georgia! A
proposition was made to repeal the ordinance of secession, which
was well debated, and resulted in its repeal by a fair vote! I was
not present at these frolics, but heard of them at the time, and
enjoyed the joke.

Meantime orders were made for the total destruction of the arsenal
and its contents, and of such public buildings as could be easily
converted to hostile uses. But little or no damage was done to
private property, and General Slocum, with my approval, spared
several mills, and many thousands of bales of cotton, taking what
he knew to be worthless bonds, that the cotton should not be used
for the Confederacy. Meantime the right wing continued its
movement along the railroad toward Savannah, tearing up the track
and destroying its iron. At the Oconee was met a feeble resistance
from Harry Wayne's troops, but soon the pontoon-bridge was laid,
and that wing crossed over. Gilpatrick's cavalry was brought into
Milledgeville, and crossed the Oconee by the bridge near the town;
and on the 23d I made the general orders for the next stage of the
march as far as Millen. These were, substantially, for the right
wing to follow the Savannah Railroad, by roads on its south; the
left wing was to move to Sandersville, by Davisboro' and
Louisville, while the cavalry was ordered by a circuit to the
north, and to march rapidly for Millen, to rescue our prisoners of
war confined there. The distance was about a hundred miles.

General Wheeler, with his division of rebel cavalry, had succeeded
in getting ahead of us between Milledgeville and Augusta, and
General P. J. Hardee had been dispatched by General Beauregard from
Hood's army to oppose our progress directly in front. He had,
however, brought with him no troops, but relied on his influence
with the Georgians (of whose State he was a native) to arouse the
people, and with them to annihilate Sherman's army!

On the 24th we renewed the march, and I accompanied the Twentieth
Corps, which took the direct road to Sandersville, which we reached
simultaneously with the Fourteenth Corps, on the 26th. A brigade
of rebel cavalry was deployed before the town, and was driven in
and through it by our skirmishline. I myself saw the rebel cavalry
apply fire to stacks of fodder standing in the fields at
Sandersville, and gave orders to burn some unoccupied dwellings
close by. On entering the town, I told certain citizens (who would
be sure to spread the report) that, if the enemy attempted to carry
out their threat to burn their food, corn, and fodder, in our
route, I would most undoubtedly execute to the letter the general
orders of devastation made at the outset of the campaign. With
this exception, and one or two minor cases near Savannah, the
people did not destroy food, for they saw clearly that it would be
ruin to themselves.

At Sandersville I halted the left wing until I heard that the right
wing was abreast of us on the railroad. During the evening a negro
was brought to me, who had that day been to the station (Tenille),
about six miles south of the town. I inquired of him if there were
any Yankees there, and he answered, "Yes." He described in his own
way what he had seen.

"First, there come along some cavalry-men, and they burned the
depot; then come along some infantry-men, and they tore up the
track, and burned it;" and just before he left they had "sot fire
to the well."

The next morning, viz., the 27th, I rode down to the station, and
found General Corse's division (of the Fifteenth Corps) engaged in
destroying the railroad, and saw the well which my negro informant
had seen "burnt." It was a square pit about twenty-five feet deep,
boarded up, with wooden steps leading to the bottom, wherein was a
fine copper pump, to lift the water to a tank above. The soldiers
had broken up the pump, heaved in the steps and lining, and set
fire to the mass of lumber in the bottom of the well, which
corroborated the negro's description.

From this point Blair's corps, the Seventeenth, took up the work of
destroying the railroad, the Fifteenth Corps following another road
leading eastward, farther to the south of the railroad. While the
left wing was marching toward Louisville, north of the railroad,
General Kilpatrick had, with his cavalry division, moved rapidly
toward Waynesboro', on the branch railroad leading from Millen to
Augusta. He found Wheeler's division of rebel cavalry there, and
had considerable skirmishing with it; but, learning that our
prisoners had been removed two days before from Millen, he returned
to Louisville on the 29th, where he found the left wing. Here he
remained a couple of days to rest his horses, and, receiving orders
from me to engage Wheeler and give him all the fighting he wanted,
he procured from General Slocum the assistance of the infantry
division of General Baird, and moved back for Waynesboro' on the 2d
of December, the remainder of the left wing continuing its march on
toward Millers. Near Waynesboro' Wheeler was again encountered,
and driven through the town and beyond Brier Creek, toward Augusta,
thus keeping up the delusion that the main army was moving toward
Augusta. General Kilpatrick's fighting and movements about
Waynesboro' and Brier Creek were spirited, and produced a good
effect by relieving the infantry column and the wagon-trains of all
molestation during their march on Millen. Having thus covered that
flank, he turned south and followed the movement of the Fourteenth
Corps to Buckhead Church, north of Millen and near it.

On the 3d of December I entered Millen with the Seventeenth Corps
(General Frank P. Blair), and there paused one day, to communicate
with all parts of the army. General Howard was south of the
Ogeechee River, with the Fifteenth Corps, opposite Scarboro'.
General Slocum was at Buckhead Church, four miles north of Millen,
with the Twentieth Corps. The Fourteenth (General Davis) was at
Lumpkin's Station, on the Augusta road, about ten miles north of
Millen, and the cavalry division was within easy support of this
wing. Thus the whole army was in good position and in good
condition. We had largely subsisted on the country; our wagons
were full of forage and provisions; but, as we approached the
sea-coast, the country became more sandy and barren, and food
became more scarce; still, with little or no loss, we had traveled
two-thirds of our distance, and I concluded to push on for
Savannah. At Millen I learned that General Bragg was in Augusta,
and that General Wade Hampton had been ordered there from Richmond,
to organize a large cavalry force with which to resist our

General Hardee was ahead, between us and Savannah, with McLaw's
division, and other irregular troops, that could not, I felt
assured, exceed ten thousand men. I caused the fine depot at
Millen to be destroyed, and other damage done, and then resumed the
march directly on Savannah, by the four main roads. The Seventeenth
Corps (General Blair) followed substantially the railroad, and,
along with it, on the 5th of December, I reached Ogeechee
Church, about fifty miles from Savannah, and found there fresh
earthworks, which had been thrown up by McLaw's division; but he
must have seen that both his flanks were being turned, and
prudently retreated to Savannah without a fight. All the columns
then pursued leisurely their march toward Savannah, corn and forage
becoming more and more scarce, but rice-fields beginning to occur
along the Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers, which proved a good
substitute, both as food and forage. The weather was fine, the
roads good, and every thing seemed to favor us. Never do I recall
a more agreeable sensation than the sight of our camps by night,
lit up by the fires of fragrant pine-knots. The trains were all in
good order, and the men seemed to march their fifteen miles a day
as though it were nothing. No enemy opposed us, and we could only
occasionally hear the faint reverberation of a gun to our left
rear, where we knew that General Kilpatrick was skirmishing with
Wheeler's cavalry, which persistently followed him. But the
infantry columns had met with no opposition whatsoever. McLaw's
division was falling back before us, and we occasionally picked up
a few of his men as prisoners, who insisted that we would meet with
strong opposition at Savannah.

On the 8th, as I rode along, I found the column turned out of the
main road, marching through the fields. Close by, in the corner of
a fence, was a group of men standing around a handsome young
officer, whose foot had been blown to pieces by a torpedo planted
in the road. He was waiting for a surgeon to amputate his leg, and
told me that he was riding along with the rest of his brigade-staff
of the Seventeenth Corps, when a torpedo trodden on by his horse
had exploded, killing the horse and literally blowing off all the
flesh from one of his legs. I saw the terrible wound, and made
full inquiry into the facts. There had been no resistance at that
point, nothing to give warning of danger, and the rebels had
planted eight-inch shells in the road, with friction-matches to
explode them by being trodden on. This was not war, but murder,
and it made me very angry. I immediately ordered a lot of rebel
prisoners to be brought from the provost-guard, armed with picks
and spades, and made them march in close order along the road, so
as to explode their own torpedoes, or to discover and dig them up.
They begged hard, but I reiterated the order, and could hardly help
laughing at their stepping so gingerly along the road, where it was
supposed sunken torpedoes might explode at each step, but they
found no other torpedoes till near Fort McAllister. That night we
reached Pooler's Station, eight miles from Savannah, and during the
next two days, December 9th and 10th, the several corps reached the
defenses of Savannah--the Fourteenth Corps on the left, touching
the river; the Twentieth Corps next; then the Seventeenth; and the
Fifteenth on the extreme right; thus completely investing the city.
Wishing to reconnoitre the place in person, I rode forward by the
Louisville road, into a dense wood of oak, pine, and cypress, left
the horses, and walked down to the railroad-track, at a place where
there was a side-track, and a cut about four feet deep. From that
point the railroad was straight, leading into Savannah, and about
eight hundred yards off were a rebel parapet and battery. I could
see the cannoneers preparing to fire, and cautioned the officers
near me to scatter, as we would likely attract a shot. Very soon I
saw the white puff of smoke, and, watching close, caught sight of
the ball as it rose in its flight, and, finding it coming pretty
straight, I stepped a short distance to one side, but noticed a
negro very near me in the act of crossing the track at right
angles. Some one called to him to look out; but, before the poor
fellow understood his danger, the ball (a thirty-two-pound round
shot) struck the ground, and rose in its first ricochet, caught the
negro under the right jaw, and literally carried away his head,
scattering blood and brains about. A soldier close by spread an
overcoat over the body, and we all concluded to get out of that
railroad-cut. Meantime, General Mower's division of the Seventeenth
Corps had crossed the canal to the right of the Louisville
road, and had found the line of parapet continuous; so at Savannah
we had again run up against the old familiar parapet, with its deep
ditches, canals, and bayous, full of water; and it looked as though
another siege was inevitable. I accordingly made a camp or bivouac
near the Louisville road, about five miles from Savannah, and
proceeded to invest the place closely, pushing forward
reconnoissances at every available point.

As soon as it was demonstrated that Savannah was well fortified,
with a good garrison, commanded by General William J. Hardee, a
competent soldier, I saw that the first step was to open
communication with our fleet, supposed to be waiting for us with
supplies and clothing in Ossabaw Sound.

General Howard had, some nights previously, sent one of his best
scouts, Captain Duncan, with two men, in a canoe, to drift past
Fort McAllister, and to convey to the fleet a knowledge of our
approach. General Kilpatrick's cavalry had also been transferred
to the south bank of the Ogeechee, with orders to open
communication with the fleet. Leaving orders with General Slocum
to press the siege, I instructed General Howard to send a division
with all his engineers to Grog's Bridge, fourteen and a half miles
southwest from Savannah, to rebuild it. On the evening of the 12th
I rode over myself, and spent the night at Mr. King's house, where
I found General Howard, with General Hazen's division of the
Fifteenth Corps. His engineers were hard at work on the bridge,
which they finished that night, and at sunrise Hazen's division
passed over. I gave General Hazen, in person, his orders to march
rapidly down the right bank of the Ogeechee, and without hesitation
to assault and carry Fort McAllister by storm. I knew it to be
strong in heavy artillery, as against an approach from the sea, but
believed it open and weak to the rear. I explained to General
Hazen, fully, that on his action depended the safety of the whole
army, and the success of the campaign. Kilpatrick had already felt
the fort, and had gone farther down the coast to Kilkenny Bluff, or
St. Catharine's Sound, where, on the same day, he had communication
with a vessel belonging to the blockading fleet; but, at the time,
I was not aware of this fact, and trusted entirely to General Hazen
and his division of infantry, the Second of the Fifteenth Corps,
the same old division which I had commanded at Shiloh and
Vicksburg, in which I felt a special pride and confidence.

Having seen General Hazen fairly off, accompanied by General
Howard, I rode with my staff down the left bank of the Ogeechee,
ten miles to the rice-plantation of a Mr. Cheevea, where General
Howard had established a signal-station to overlook the lower
river, and to watch for any vessel of the blockading squadron,
which the negroes reported to be expecting us, because they nightly
sent up rockets, and daily dispatched a steamboat up the Ogeechee
as near to Fort McAllister as it was safe.

On reaching the rice-mill at Cheevea's, I found a guard and a
couple of twenty-pound Parrott gone, of De Gres's battery, which
fired an occasional shot toward Fort McAllister, plainly seen over
the salt-marsh, about three miles distant. Fort McAllister had the
rebel flag flying, and occasionally sent a heavy shot back across
the marsh to where we were, but otherwise every thing about the
place looked as peaceable and quiet as on the Sabbath.

The signal-officer had built a platform on the ridge-pole of
the rice-mill. Leaving our horses behind the stacks of rice-straw,
we all got on the roof of a shed attached to the mill, wherefrom I
could communicate with the signal-officer above, and at the same
time look out toward Ossabaw Sound, and across the Ogeechee River
at Fort McAllister. About 2 p.m. we observed signs of commotion
in the fort, and noticed one or two guns fired inland, and some
musket-skirmishing in the woods close by.

This betokened the approach of Hazen's division, which had been
anxiously expected, and soon thereafter the signal-officer
discovered about three miles above the fort a signal-flag, with
which he conversed, and found it to belong to General Hazen, who
was preparing to assault the fort, and wanted to know if I were
there. On being assured of this fact, and that I expected the fort
to be carried before night, I received by signal the assurance of
General Hazen that he was making his preparations, and would soon
attempt the assault. The sun was rapidly declining, and I was
dreadfully impatient. At that very moment some one discovered a
faint cloud of smoke, and an object gliding, as it were, along the
horizon above the tops of the sedge toward the sea, which little by
little grew till it was pronounced to be the smoke-stack of a
steamer coming up the river. "It must be one of our squadron!"
Soon the flag of the United States was plainly visible, and our
attention was divided between this approaching steamer and the
expected assault. When the sun was about an hour high, another
signal-message came from General Hazen that he was all ready, and I
replied to go ahead, as a friendly steamer was approaching from
below. Soon we made out a group of officers on the deck of this
vessel, signaling with a flag, "Who are you!" The answer went back
promptly, "General Sherman." Then followed the question, "Is Fort
McAllister taken?" "Not yet, but it will be in a minute!" Almost
at that instant of time, we saw Hazen's troops come out of the dark
fringe of woods that encompassed the fort, the lines dressed as on
parade, with colors flying, and moving forward with a quick, steady
pace. Fort McAllister was then all alive, its big guns belching
forth dense clouds of smoke, which soon enveloped our assaulting
lines. One color went down, but was up in a moment. On the lines
advanced, faintly seen in the white, sulphurous smoke; there was a
pause, a cessation of fire; the smoke cleared away, and the
parapets were blue with our men, who fired their muskets in the
air, and shouted so that we actually heard them, or felt that we
did. Fort McAllister was taken, and the good news was instantly
sent by the signal-officer to our navy friends on the approaching
gunboat, for a point of timber had shut out Fort McAllister from
their view, and they had not seen the action at all, but must have
heard the cannonading.

During the progress of the assault, our little group on Cheeves's
mill hardly breathed; but no sooner did we see our flags on the
parapet than I exclaimed, in the language of the poor negro at
Cobb's plantation, "This nigger will have no sleep this night!"

I was resolved to communicate with our fleet that night, which
happened to be a beautiful moonlight one. At the wharf belonging
to Cheeves's mill was a small skiff, that had been used by our men
in fishing or in gathering oysters. I was there in a minute,
called for a volunteer crew, when several young officers, Nichols
and Merritt among the number; said they were good oarsmen, and
volunteered to pull the boat down to Fort McAllister. General
Howard asked to accompany me; so we took seats in the stern of the
boat, and our crew of officers pulled out with a will. The tide
was setting in strong, and they had a hard pull, for, though the
distance was but three miles in an air-line, the river was so
crooked that the actual distance was fully six miles. On the way
down we passed the wreck of a steamer which had been sunk some
years before, during a naval attack on Fort McAllister.

Night had fairly set in when we discovered a soldier on the beach.
I hailed him, and inquired if he knew where General Hazen was. He
answered that the general was at the house of the overseer of the
plantation (McAllister's), and that he could guide me to it. We
accordingly landed, tied our boat to a driftlog, and followed our
guide through bushes to a frame-house, standing in a grove of
live-oaks, near a row of negro quarters.

General Hazen was there with his staff, in the act of getting
supper; he invited us to join them, which we accepted promptly, for
we were really very hungry. Of course, I congratulated Hazen most
heartily on his brilliant success, and praised its execution very
highly, as it deserved, and he explained to me more in detail the
exact results. The fort was an inclosed work, and its land-front
was in the nature of a bastion and curtains, with good parapet,
ditch, fraise, and chevaux-de-frise, made out of the large branches
of live-oaks. Luckily, the rebels had left the larger and unwieldy
trunks on the ground, which served as a good cover for the
skirmish-line, which crept behind these logs, and from them kept
the artillerists from loading and firing their guns accurately.

The assault had been made by three parties in line, one from below,
one from above the fort, and the third directly in rear, along the
capital. All were simultaneous, and had to pass a good abatis and
line of torpedoes, which actually killed more of the assailants
than the heavy guns of the fort, which generally overshot the mark.
Hazen's entire loss was reported, killed and wounded, ninety-two.
Each party reached the parapet about the same time, and the
garrison inside, of about two hundred and fifty men (about fifty of
them killed or wounded), were in his power. The commanding
officer, Major Anderson, was at that moment a prisoner, and
General Hazen invited him in to take supper with us, which he did.

Up to this time General Hazen did not know that a gunboat was in
the river below the fort; for it was shut off from sight by a point
of timber, and I was determined to board her that night, at
whatever risk or cost, as I wanted some news of what was going on
in the outer world. Accordingly, after supper, we all walked down
to the fort, nearly a mile from the house where we had been,
entered Fort McAllister, held by a regiment of Hazen's troops, and
the sentinel cautioned us to be very careful, as the ground outside
the fort was full of torpedoes. Indeed, while we were there, a
torpedo exploded, tearing to pieces a poor fellow who was hunting
for a dead comrade. Inside the fort lay the dead as they had
fallen, and they could hardly be distinguished from their living
comrades, sleeping soundly side by side in the pale moonlight. In
the river, close by the fort, was a good yawl tied to a stake, but
the tide was high, and it required some time to get it in to the
bank; the commanding officer, whose name I cannot recall, manned
the boat with a good crew of his men, and, with General Howard, I
entered, and pulled down-stream, regardless of the warnings all
about the torpedoes.

The night was unusually bright, and we expected to find the gunboat
within a mile or so; but, after pulling down the river fully three
miles, and not seeing the gunboat, I began to think she had turned
and gone back to the sound; but we kept on, following the bends of
the river, and about six miles below McAllister we saw her light,
and soon were hailed by the vessel at anchor. Pulling alongside,
we announced ourselves, and were received with great warmth and
enthusiasm on deck by half a dozen naval officers, among them
Captain Williamson, United States Navy. She proved to be the
Dandelion, a tender of the regular gunboat Flag, posted at the
mouth of the Ogeechee. All sorts of questions were made and
answered, and we learned that Captain Duncan had safely reached the
squadron, had communicated the good news of our approach, and they
had been expecting us for some days. They explained that Admiral
Dahlgren commanded the South-Atlantic Squadron, which was then
engaged in blockading the coast from Charleston south, and was on
his flag-ship, the Harvest Moon, lying in Wassaw Sound; that
General J. G. Foster was in command of the Department of the South,
with his headquarters at Hilton Head; and that several ships loaded
with stores for the army were lying in Tybee Roads and in Port
Royal Sound. From these officers I also learned that General Grant
was still besieging Petersburg and Richmond, and that matters and
things generally remained pretty much the same as when we had left
Atlanta. All thoughts seemed to have been turned to us in Georgia,
cut off from all communication with our friends; and the rebel
papers had reported us to be harassed, defeated, starving, and
fleeing for safety to the coast. I then asked for pen and paper,
and wrote several hasty notes to General Foster, Admiral Dahlgren,
General Grant, and the Secretary of War, giving in general terms
the actual state of affairs, the fact of the capture of Fort
McAllister, and of my desire that means should be taken to
establish a line of supply from the vessels in port up the Ogeechee
to the rear of the army. As a sample, I give one of these notes,
addressed to the Secretary of War, intended for publication to
relieve the anxiety of our friends at the North generally:

ON BOARD DANDELION, OSSABAW SOUND, December 13, 1864--11.50 p.m.

To Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

To-day, at 6 p. m., General Hazen's division of the Fifteenth Corps
carried Fort McAllister by assault, capturing its entire garrison
and stores. This opened to us Ossabaw Sound, and I pushed down to
this gunboat to communicate with the fleet. Before opening
communication we had completely destroyed all the railroads leading
into Savannah, and invested the city. The left of the army is on
the Savannah River three miles above the city, and the right on the
Ogeechee, at King's Bridge. The army is in splendid order, and
equal to any thing. The weather has been fine, and supplies were
abundant. Our march was most agreeable, and we were not at all
molested by guerrillas.

We reached Savannah three days ago, but, owing to Fort McAllister,
could not communicate; but, now that we have McAllister, we can go

We have already captured two boats on the Savannah river and
prevented their gunboats from coming down.

I estimate the population of Savannah at twenty-five thousand, and
the garrison at fifteen thousand. General Hardee commands.

We have not lost a wagon on the trip; but have gathered a large
supply of negroes, mules, horses, etc., and our teams are in far
better condition than when we started.

My first duty will be to clear the army of surplus negroes, mules,
and horses. We have utterly destroyed over two hundred miles of
rails, and consumed stores and provisions that were essential to
Lee's and Hood's armies.

The quick work made with McAllister, the opening of communication
with our fleet, and our consequent independence as to supplies,
dissipate all their boasted threats to head us off and starve the

I regard Savannah as already gained.
Yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

By this time the night was well advanced, and the tide was running
ebb-strong; so I asked. Captain Williamson to tow us up as near
Fort McAllister as he would venture for the torpedoes, of which the
navy-officers had a wholesome dread. The Dandelion steamed up some
three or four miles, till the lights of Fort McAllister could be
seen, when she anchored, and we pulled to the fort in our own boat.
General Howard and I then walked up to the McAllister House, where
we found General Hazen and his officers asleep on the floor of one
of the rooms. Lying down on the floor, I was soon fast asleep, but
shortly became conscious that some one in the room was inquiring
for me among the sleepers. Calling out, I was told that an officer
of General Fosters staff had just arrived from a steamboat anchored
below McAllister; that the general was extremely anxious to see me
on important business, but that he was lame from an old Mexican-War
wound, and could not possibly come to me. I was extremely weary
from the incessant labor of the day and night before, but got up,
and again walked down the sandy road to McAllister, where I found a
boat awaiting us, which carried us some three miles down the river,
to the steamer W. W. Coit (I think), on board of which we found
General Foster. He had just come from Port Royal, expecting to
find Admiral Dahlgren in Ossabaw Sound, and, hearing of the capture
of Fort McAllister, he had come up to see me. He described fully
the condition of affairs with his own command in South Carolina.
He had made several serious efforts to effect a lodgment on the
railroad which connects Savannah with Charleston near Pocotaligo,
but had not succeeded in reaching the railroad itself, though he
had a full division of troops, strongly intrenched, near Broad
River, within cannon-range of the railroad. He explained,
moreover, that there were at Port Royal abundant supplies of bread
and provisions, as well as of clothing, designed for our use. We
still had in our wagons and in camp abundance of meat, but we
needed bread, sugar, and coffee, and it was all-important that a
route of supply should at once be opened, for which purpose the
assistance of the navy were indispensable. We accordingly
steamed down the Ogeechee River to Ossabaw Sound, in hopes to meet
Admiral Dahlgren, but he was not there, and we continued on by the
inland channel to Warsaw Sound, where we found the Harvest Moon,
and Admiral Dahlgren. I was not personally acquainted with him at
the time, but he was so extremely kind and courteous that I was at
once attracted to him. There was nothing in his power, he said,
which he would not do to assist us, to make our campaign absolutely
successful. He undertook at once to find vessels of light draught
to carry our supplies from Port Royal to Cheeves's Mill, or to
Grog's Bridge above, whence they could be hauled by wagons to our
several camps; he offered to return with me to Fort McAllister, to
superintend the removal of the torpedoes, and to relieve me of all
the details of this most difficult work. General Foster then
concluded to go on to Port Royal, to send back to us six hundred
thousand rations, and all the rifled guns of heavy calibre, and
ammunition on hand, with which I thought we could reach the city of
Savannah, from the positions already secured. Admiral Dahlgren
then returned with me in the Harvest Moon to Fort McAllister. This
consumed all of the 14th of December; and by the 15th I had again
reached Cheeves's Mill, where my horse awaited me, and rode on to
General Howard's headquarters at Anderson's plantation, on the
plank-road, about eight miles back of Savannah. I reached this
place about noon, and immediately sent orders to my own head-
quarters, on the Louisville road, to have them brought over to the
plank-road, as a place more central and convenient; gave written
notice to Generals Slocum and Howard of all the steps taken, and
ordered them to get ready to receive the siege-guns, to put them in
position to bombard Savannah, and to prepare for the general
assault. The country back of Savannah is very low, and intersected
with innumerable saltwater creeks, swamps, and rice-fields.
Fortunately the weather was good and the roads were passable, but,
should the winter rains set in, I knew that we would be much
embarrassed. Therefore, heavy details of men were at once put to
work to prepare a wharf and depot at Grog's Bridge, and the roads
leading thereto were corduroyed in advance. The Ogeechee Canal was
also cleared out for use; and boats, such as were common on the
river plantations, were collected, in which to float stores from
our proposed base on the Ogeechee to the points most convenient to
the several camps.

Slocum's wing extended from the Savannah River to the canal, and
Howard's wing from the canal to the extreme right, along down the
Little Ogeechee. The enemy occupied not only the city itself, with
its long line of outer works, but the many forts which had been
built to guard the approaches from the sea-such as at Beaulieu,
Rosedew, White Bluff, Bonaventura, Thunderbolt, Cansten's Bluff,
Forts Tatnall, Boggs, etc., etc. I knew that General Hardee could
not have a garrison strong enough for all these purposes, and I was
therefore anxious to break his lines before he could receive
reenforcements from Virginia or Augusta. General Slocum had
already captured a couple of steamboats trying to pass down the
Savannah River from Augusta, and had established some of his men on
Argyle and Hutchinson Islands above the city, and wanted to
transfer a whole corps to the South Carolina bank; but, as the
enemy had iron-clad gunboats in the river, I did not deem it
prudent, because the same result could be better accomplished from
General Fosters position at Broad River.

Fort McAllister was captured as described, late in the evening of
December 13th, and by the 16th many steamboats had passed up as
high as King's Bridge; among them one which General Grant had
dispatched with the mails for the army, which had accumulated since
our departure from Atlanta, under charge of Colonel A. H. Markland.
These mails were most welcome to all the officers and soldiers of
the army, which had been cut off from friends and the world for two
months, and this prompt receipt of letters from home had an
excellent effect, making us feel that home was near. By this
vessel also came Lieutenant Dune, aide-de-camp, with the following
letter of December 3d, from General Grant, and on the next day
Colonel Babcock , United States Engineers, arrived with the letter
of December 6th, both of which are in General Grant's own
handwriting, and are given entire:

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, December 3, 1864.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Armies near Savannah,

GENERAL: The little information gleaned from the Southern press
indicating no great obstacle to your progress, I have directed your
mails (which had been previously collected in Baltimore by Colonel
Markland, special-agent of the Post-Office Department) to be sent
as far as the blockading squadron off Savannah, to be forwarded to
you as soon as heard from on the coast.

Not liking to rejoice before the victory is assured, I abstain from
congratulating you and those under your command, until bottom has
been struck. I have never had a fear, however, for the result.

Since you left Atlanta no very great progress has been made here.
The enemy has been closely watched, though, and prevented from
detaching against you. I think not one man has gone from here,
except some twelve or fifteen hundred dismounted cavalry. Bragg
has gone from Wilmington. I am trying to take advantage of his
absence to get possession of that place. Owing to some
preparations Admiral Porter and General Butler are making to blow
up Fort Fisher (which, while hoping for the best, I do not believe
a particle in), there is a delay in getting this expedition off. I
hope they will be ready to start by the 7th, and that Bragg will
not have started back by that time.

In this letter I do not intend to give you any thing like
directions for future action, but will state a general idea I have,
and will get your views after you have established yourself on the
sea-coast. With your veteran army I hope to get control of the only
two through routes from east to west possessed by the enemy before
the fall of Atlanta. The condition will be filled by holding
Savannah and Augusta, or by holding any other port to the east of
Savannah and Branchville. If Wilmington falls, a force from there
can cooperate with you.

Thomas has got back into the defenses of Nashville, with Hood close
upon him. Decatur has been abandoned, and so have all the roads,
except the main one leading to Chattanooga. Part of this falling
back was undoubtedly necessary, and all of it may have been. It
did not look so, however, to me. In my opinion, Thomas far
outnumbers Hood in infantry. In cavalry Hood has the advantage in
morale and numbers. I hope yet that Hood will be badly crippled,
if not destroyed. The general news you will learn from the papers
better than I can give it.

After all becomes quiet, and roads become so bad up here that there
is likely to be a week or two when nothing can be done, I will run
down the coast to see you. If you desire it, I will ask Mrs.
Sherman to go with me.
Yours truly,

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, December 6, 1864.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Military Division of the

GENERAL: On reflection since sending my letter by the hands of
Lieutenant Dunn, I have concluded that the most important operation
toward closing out the rebellion will be to close out Lee and his

You have now destroyed the roads of the South so that it will
probably take them three months without interruption to reestablish
a through line from east to west. In that time I think the job here
will be effectually completed.

My idea now is that you establish a base on the sea-coast, fortify
and leave in it all your artillery and cavalry, and enough infantry
to protect them, and at the same time so threaten the interior that
the militia of the South will have to be kept at home. With the
balance of your command come here by water with all dispatch.
Select yourself the officer to leave in command, but you I want in
person. Unless you see objections to this plan which I cannot see,
use every vessel going to you for purposes of transportation.

Hood has Thomas close in Nashville. I have said all I can to force
him to attack, without giving the positive order until to-day.
To-day, however, I could stand it no longer, and gave the order
without any reserve. I think the battle will take place to-morrow.
The result will probably be known in New York before Colonel
Babcock (the bearer of this) will leave it. Colonel Babcock will
give you full information of all operations now in progress.
Very respectfully your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

The contents of these letters gave me great uneasiness, for I had
set my heart on the capture of Savannah, which I believed to be
practicable, and to be near; for me to embark for Virginia by sea
was so complete a change from what I had supposed would be the
course of events that I was very much concerned. I supposed, as a
matter of course, that a fleet of vessels would soon pour in, ready
to convey the army to Virginia, and as General Grant's orders
contemplated my leaving the cavalry, trains, and artillery, behind,
I judged Fort McAllister to be the best place for the purpose, and
sent my chief-engineer, Colonel Poe, to that fort, to reconnoitre
the ground, and to prepare it so as to make a fortified camp large
enough to accommodate the vast herd of mules and horses that would
thus be left behind. And as some time might be required to collect
the necessary shipping, which I estimated at little less than a
hundred steamers and sailing-vessels, I determined to push
operations, in hopes to secure the city of Savannah before the
necessary fleet could be available. All these ideas are given in
my answer to General Grant's letters (dated December 16, 1864)
herewith, which is a little more full than the one printed in the
report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, because in that
copy I omitted the matter concerning General Thomas, which now need
no longer be withheld:

IN THE FIELD, NEAR SAVANNAH, December 16, 1864.

Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, Commander-in-Chief, City Point,

GENERAL: I received, day before yesterday, at the hands of
Lieutenant Dunn, your letter of December 8d, and last night, at the
hands of Colonel Babcock, that of December 6th. I had previously
made you a hasty scrawl from the tugboat Dandelion, in Ogeechee
River, advising you that the army had reached the sea-coast,
destroying all the railroads across the State of Georgia, investing
closely the city of Savannah, and had made connection with the

Since writing that note, I have in person met and conferred with
General Foster and Admiral Dahlgren, and made all the arrangements
which were deemed essential for reducing the city of Savannah to
our possession. But, since the receipt of yours of the 6th, I have
initiated measures looking principally to coming to you with fifty
or Sixty thousand infantry, and incidentally to capture Savannah,
if time will allow.

At the time we carried Fort McAllister by assault so handsomely,
with its twenty-two guns and entire garrison, I was hardly aware
of its importance; but, since passing down the river with General
Foster and up with Admiral Dahlgren, I realize how admirably
adapted are Ossabaw Sound and Ogeechee River to supply an army
operating against Savannah. Seagoing vessels can easily come to
King's Bridge, a point on Ogeechee River, fourteen and a half miles
due west of Savannah, from which point we have roads leading to all
our camps. The country is low and sandy, and cut up with marshes,
which in wet weather will be very bad, but we have been so favored
with weather that they are all now comparatively good, and heavy
details are constantly employed in double-corduroying the marshes,
so that I have no fears even of bad weather. Fortunately, also, by
liberal and judicious foraging, we reached the sea-coast abundantly
supplied with forage and provisions, needing nothing on arrival
except bread. Of this we started from Atlanta, with from eight to
twenty days' supply per corps and some of the troops only had one
day's issue of bread during the trip of thirty days; yet they did
not want, for sweet-potatoes were very abundant, as well as
corn-meal, and our soldiers took to them naturally. We started
with about five thousand head of cattle, and arrived with over ten
thousand, of course consuming mostly turkeys, chickens, sheep,
hogs, and the cattle of the country. As to our mules and horses,
we left Atlanta with about twenty-five hundred wagons, many of
which were drawn by mules which had not recovered from the
Chattanooga starvation, all of which were replaced, the poor mules
shot, and our transportation is now in superb condition. I have no
doubt the State of Georgia has lost, by our operations, fifteen
thousand first-rate mules. As to horses, Kilpatrick collected all
his remounts, and it looks to me, in riding along our
columns, as though every officer had three or four led horses, and
each regiment seems to be followed by at least fifty negroes and
foot-sore soldiers, riding on horses and mules. The custom was for
each brigade to send out daily a foraging-party of about fifty men,
on foot, who invariably returned mounted, with several wagons
loaded with poultry, potatoes, etc., and as the army is composed of
about forty brigades, you can estimate approximately the number of
horses collected. Great numbers of these were shot by my order,
because of the disorganizing effect on our infantry of having too
many idlers mounted. General Euston is now engaged in collecting
statistics on this subject, but I know the Government will never
receive full accounts of our captures, although the result aimed at
was fully attained, viz., to deprive our enemy of them. All these
animals I will have sent to Port Royal, or collected behind Fort
McAllister, to be used by General Saxton in his farming operations,
or by the Quartermaster's Department, after they are systematically
accounted for. While General Easton is collecting transportation
for my troops to James River, I will throw to Port Royal Island all
our means of transportation I can, and collect the rest near Fort
McAllister, covered by the Ogeeehee River and intrenchments to be
erected, and for which Captain Poe, my chief-engineer, is now
reconnoitring the ground, but in the mean time will act as I have
begun, as though the city of Savannah were my objective: namely,
the troops will continue to invest Savannah closely, making attacks
and feints wherever we have fair ground to stand upon, and I will
place some thirty-pound Parrotts, which I have got from General
Foster, in position, near enough to reach the centre of the city,
and then will demand its surrender. If General Hardee is alarmed,
or fears starvation, he may surrender; otherwise I will bombard the
city, but not risk the lives of our men by assaults across the
narrow causeways, by which alone I can now reach it.

If I had time, Savannah, with all its dependent fortifications,
would surely fall into our possession, for we hold all its avenues
of supply.

The enemy has made two desperate efforts to get boats from above to
the city, in both of which he has been foiled-General Slocum (whose
left flank rests on the river) capturing and burning the first
boat, and in the second instance driving back two gunboats and
capturing the steamer Resolute, with seven naval officers and a
crew of twenty-five seamen. General Slocum occupies Argyle Island
and the upper end of Hutchinson Inland, and has a brigade on the
South Carolina shore opposite, and is very urgent to pass one of
his corps over to that shore. But, in view of the change of plan
made necessary by your order of the 6th, I will maintain things in
statu quo till I have got all my transportation to the rear and out
of the way, and until I have sea-transportation for the troops you
require at James River, which I will accompany and command in
person. Of course, I will leave Kilpatrick, with his cavalry (say
five thousand three hundred), and, it may be, a division of the
Fifteenth Corps; but, before determining on this, I must see
General Foster, and may arrange to shift his force (now over above
the Charleston Railroad, at the head of Broad River) to the
Ogeeohee, where, in cooperation with Kilpatrick's cavalry, he can
better threaten the State of Georgia than from the direction of
Port Royal. Besides, I would much prefer not to detach from my
regular corps any of its veteran divisions, and would even prefer
that other less valuable troops should be sent to reenforce Foster
from some other quarter. My four corps, full of experience and
full of ardor, coming to you en masse, equal to sixty thousand
fighting men, will be a reenforcement that Lee cannot disregard.
Indeed, with my present command, I had expected, after reducing
Savannah, instantly to march to Columbia, South Carolina; thence to
Raleigh, and thence to report to you. But this would consume, it
may be, six weeks' time after the fall of Savannah; whereas, by
sea, I can probably reach you with my men and arms before the
middle of January.

I myself am somewhat astonished at the attitude of things in
Tennessee. I purposely delayed at Kingston until General Thomas
assured me that he was all ready, and my last dispatch from him of
the 12th of November was full of confidence, in which he promised
me that he would ruin Hood if he dared to advance from Florence,
urging me to go ahead, and give myself no concern about Hood's army
in Tennessee.

Why he did not turn on him at Franklin, after checking and
discomfiting him, surpasses my understanding. Indeed, I do not
approve of his evacuating Decatur, but think he should have assumed
the offensive against Hood from Pulaski, in the direction of
I know full well that General Thomas is slow in mind and in action;
but he is judicious and brave and the troops feel great confidence
in him. I still hope he will out-manoeuvre and destroy Hood.

As to matters in the Southeast, I think Hardee, in Savannah, has
good artillerists, some five or six thousand good infantry, and,
it may be, a mongrel mass of eight to ten thousand militia. In all
our marching through Georgia, he has not forced us to use any thing
but a skirmish-line, though at several points he had erected
fortifications and tried to alarm us by bombastic threats. In
Savannah he has taken refuge in a line constructed behind swamps
and overflowed rice-fields, extending from a point on the Savannah
River about three miles above the city, around by a branch of the
Little Ogeechee, which stream is impassable from its salt-marshes
and boggy swamps, crossed only by narrow causeways or common

There must be twenty-five thousand citizens, men, women, and
children, in Savannah, that must also be fed, and how he is to feed
them beyond a few days I cannot imagine. I know that his
requisitions for corn on the interior counties were not filled, and
we are in possession of the rice-fields and mills, which could
alone be of service to him in this neighborhood. He can draw
nothing from South Carolina, save from a small corner down in the
southeast, and that by a disused wagon-road. I could easily get
possession of this, but hardly deem it worth the risk of making a
detachment, which would be in danger by its isolation from the main
army. Our whole army is in fine condition as to health, and the
weather is splendid. For that reason alone I feel a personal
dislike to turning northward. I will keep Lieutenant Dunn here
until I know the result of my demand for the surrender of Savannah,
but, whether successful or not, shall not delay my execution of
your order of the 6th, which will depend alone upon the time it
will require to obtain transportation by sea.

I am, with respect, etc., your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General United States Army.

Having concluded all needful preparations, I rode from my
headquarters, on the plank-road, over to General Slocum's
headquarters, on the Macon road, and thence dispatched (by flag of
truce) into Savannah, by the hands of Colonel Ewing,
inspector-general, a demand for the surrender of the place. The
following letters give the result. General Hardee refused to
surrender, and I then resolved to make the attempt to break his
line of defense at several places, trusting that some one would

IN THE FIELD, NEAR SAVANNAH, December 17, 1864.

General WILLIAM J. HARDEE, commanding Confederate Forces in

GENERAL: You have doubtless observed, from your station at Rosedew
that sea-going vessels now come through Ossabaw Sound and up the
Ogeechee to the rear of my army, giving me abundant supplies of all
kinds, and more especially heavy ordnance necessary for the
reduction of Savannah. I have already received guns that can cast
heavy and destructive shot as far as the heart of your city; also,
I have for some days held and controlled every avenue by which the
people and garrison of Savannah can be supplied, and I am therefore
justified in demanding the surrender of the city of Savannah, and
its dependent forts, and shall wait a reasonable time for your
answer, before opening with heavy ordnance. Should you entertain
the proposition, I am prepared to grant liberal terms to the
inhabitants and garrison; but should I be forced to resort to
assault, or the slower and surer process of starvation, I shall
then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and
shall make little effort to restrain my army--burning to avenge the
national wrong which they attach to Savannah and other large cities
which have been so prominent in dragging our country into civil
war. I inclose you a copy of General Hood's demand for the
surrender of the town of Resaoa, to be used by you for what it is
worth. I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, December 17, 1864

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Federal Forces near
Savannah, Georgia.

GENERAL: I have to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from
you of this date, in which you demand "the surrender of Savannah
and its dependent forts," on the ground that you "have received
guns that can cast heavy and destructive shot into the heart of the
city," and for the further reason that you "have, for some days,
held and controlled every avenue by which the people and garrison
can be supplied." You add that, should you be "forced to resort to
assault, or to the slower and surer process of starvation, you will
then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and will
make little effort to restrain your army," etc., etc. The position
of your forces (a half-mile beyond the outer line for the land-
defense of Savannah) is, at the nearest point, at least four miles
from the heart of the city. That and the interior line are both

Your statement that you have, for some days, held and controlled
every avenue by which the people and garrison can be supplied, is
incorrect. I am in free and constant communication with my

Your demand for the surrender of Savannah and its dependent forts
is refused.

With respect to the threats conveyed in the closing paragraphs of
your letter (of what may be expected in case your demand is not
complied with), I have to say that I have hitherto conducted the
military operations intrusted to my direction in strict accordance
with the rules of civilized warfare, and I should deeply regret the
adoption of any course by you that may force me to deviate from
them in future. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your
obedient servant,

W. J. HARDEE, Lieutenant-General.

IN THE FIELD, NEAR SAVANNAH, December 18, 1864 8 p.m.

Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, City Point, Virginia.

GENERAL: I wrote you at length (by Colonel Babcock) on the 16th
instant. As I therein explained my purpose, yesterday I made a
demand on General Hardee for the surrender of the city of Savannah,
and to-day received his answer--refusing; copies of both letters
are herewith inclosed. You will notice that I claim that my lines
are within easy cannon-range of the heart of Savannah; but General
Hardee asserts that we are four and a half miles distant. But I
myself have been to the intersection of the Charleston and Georgia
Central Railroads, and the three-mile post is but a few yards
beyond, within the line of our pickets. The enemy has no pickets
outside of his fortified line (which is a full quarter of a mile
within the three-mile post), and I have the evidence of Mr. R. R.
Cuyler, President of the Georgia Central Railroad (who was a
prisoner in our hands), that the mile-posts are measured from the
Exchange, which is but two squares back from the river. By
to-morrow morning I will have six thirty-pound Parrotts in
position, and General Hardee will learn whether I am right or not.
From the left of our line, which is on the Savannah River, the
spires can be plainly seen; but the country is so densely wooded
with pine and live-oak, and lies so flat, that we can see nothing
from any other portion of our lines. General Slocum feels
confident that he can make a successful assault at one or two
points in front of General Davis's (Fourteenth) corps. All of
General Howard's troops (the right wing) lie behind the Little
Ogeecbee, and I doubt if it can be passed by troops in the face of
an enemy. Still, we can make strong feints, and if I can get a
sufficient number of boats, I shall make a cooperative
demonstration up Vernon River or Wassaw Sound. I should like very
much indeed to take Savannah before coming to you; but, as I wrote
to you before, I will do nothing rash or hasty, and will embark for
the James River as soon as General Easton (who is gone to Port
Royal for that purpose) reports to me that he has an approximate
number of vessels for the transportation of the contemplated force.
I fear even this will cost more delay than you anticipate, for
already the movement of our transports and the gunboats has
required more time than I had expected. We have had dense fogs;
there are more mud-banks in the Ogeechee than were reported, and
there are no pilots whatever. Admiral Dahlgren promised to have
the channel buoyed and staked, but it is not done yet. We find
only six feet of water up to King's Bridge at low tide, about ten
feet up to the rice-mill, and sixteen to Fort McAllister. All
these points may be used by us, and we have a good, strong bridge
across Ogeechee at King's, by which our wagons can go to Fort
McAllister, to which point I am sending all wagons not absolutely
necessary for daily use, the negroes, prisoners of war, sick, etc.,
en route for Port Royal. In relation to Savannah, you will remark
that General Hardee refers to his still being in communication with
his department. This language he thought would deceive me; but I
am confirmed in the belief that the route to which he refers (the
Union Plank-road on the South Carolina shore) is inadequate to feed
his army and the people of Savannah, and General Foster assures me
that he has his force on that very road, near the head of Broad
River, so that cars no longer run between Charleston and Savannah.
We hold this end of the Charleston Railroad, and have destroyed it
from the three-mile post back to the bridge (about twelve miles).
In anticipation of leaving this country, I am continuing the
destruction of their railroads, and at this moment have two
divisions and the cavalry at work breaking up the Gulf Railroad
from the Ogeechee to the Altamaha; so that, even if I do not take
Savannah, I will leave it in a bad way. But I still hope that
events will give me time to take Savannah, even if I have to
assault with some loss. I am satisfied that, unless we take it,
the gunboats never will, for they can make no impression upon the
batteries which guard every approach from the sea. I have a faint
belief that, when Colonel Babcock reaches you, you will delay
operations long enough to enable me to succeed here. With Savannah
in our possession, at some future time if not now, we can punish
South Carolina as she deserves, and as thousands of the people in
Georgia hoped we would do. I do sincerely believe that the whole
United States, North and South, would rejoice to have this army
turned loose on South Carolina, to devastate that State in the
manner we have done in Georgia, and it would have a direst and
immediate bearing on your campaign in Virginia.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General United States Army.

As soon as the army had reached Savannah, and had opened
communication with the fleet, I endeavored to ascertain what had
transpired in Tennessee since our departure. We received our
letters and files of newspapers, which contained full accounts of
all the events there up to about the 1st of December. As before
described, General Hood had three full corps of infantry--S. D.
Lee's, A. P. Stewart's, and Cheatham's, at Florence, Alabama--with
Forrest's corps of cavalry, numbering in the aggregate about forty-
five thousand men. General Thomas was in Nashville, Tennessee,
quietly engaged in reorganizing his army out of the somewhat broken
forces at his disposal. He had posted his only two regular corps,
the Fourth and Twenty-third, under the general command of Major-
General J. M. Sohofield, at Pulaski, directly in front of
Florence, with the three brigades of cavalry (Hatch, Croxton, and
Capron), commanded by Major-General Wilson, watching closely for
Hood's initiative.

This force aggregated about thirty thousand men, was therefore
inferior to the enemy; and General Schofield was instructed, in
case the enemy made a general advance, to fall back slowly toward
Nashville, fighting, till he should be reenforced by General Thomas
in person. Hood's movement was probably hurried by reason of my
advance into Georgia; for on the 17th his infantry columns marched
from Florence in the direction of Waynesboro', turning, Schofield's
position at Pulaski. The latter at once sent his trains to the
rear, and on the 21st fell back to Columbia, Tennessee. General
Hood followed up this movement, skirmished lightly with Schofield
at Columbia, began the passage of Duck River, below the town, and
Cheatham's corps reached the vicinity of Spring Hill, whither
General Schofield had sent General Stanley, with two of his
divisions, to cover the movement of his trains. During the night
of November 29th General Schofield passed Spring Hill with his
trains and army, and took post at Franklin, on the south aide of
Harpeth River. General Hood now attaches serious blame to General
Cheatham for not attacking General Schofield in flank while in
motion at Spring Hill, for he was bivouacked within eight hundred
yards of the road at the time of the passage of our army. General
Schofield reached Franklin on the morning of November 30th, and
posted his army in front of the town, where some
rifle-intrenchments had been constructed in advance. He had the
two corps of Stanley and Cox (Fourth and Twenty-third), with
Wilson's cavalry on his flanks, and sent his trains behind the

General Hood closed upon him the same day, and assaulted his
position with vehemence, at one time breaking the line and wounding
General Stanley seriously; but our men were veterans, cool and
determined, and fought magnificently. The rebel officers led their
men in person to the several persistent assaults, continuing the
battle far into the night, when they drew off, beaten and

Their loss was very severe, especially in general officers; among
them Generals Cleburn and Adams, division commanders. Hood's loss
on that day was afterward ascertained to be (Thomas's report):
Buried on the field, seventeen hundred and fifty; left in hospital
at Franklin, thirty-eight hundred; and seven hundred and two
prisoners captured and held: aggregate, six thousand two hundred
and fifty-two. General Schofields lose, reported officially, was
one hundred and eighty-nine killed, one thousand and thirty-three
wounded, and eleven hundred and four prisoners or missing:
aggregate, twenty-three hundred and twenty-six. The next day
General Schofield crossed the Harpeth without trouble, and fell
back to the defenses of Nashville.

Meantime General Thomas had organized the employees of the
Quartermaster's Department into a corps, commanded by the chief-
quartermaster, General J. Z. Donaldson, and placed them in the
fortifications of Nashville, under the general direction of
Major-General Z. B. Tower, now of the United States Engineers. He
had also received the two veteran divisions of the Sixteenth Corps,
under General A. J. Smith, long absent and long expected; and he
had drawn from Chattanooga and Decatur (Alabama) the divisions of
Steedman and of R. S. Granger. These, with General Schofields army
and about ten thousand good cavalry, under General J. H. Wilson,
constituted a strong army, capable not only of defending Nashville,
but of beating Hood in the open field. Yet Thomas remained inside
of Nashville, seemingly passive, until General Hood had closed upon
him and had entrenched his position.

General Thomas had furthermore held fast to the railroad leading
from Nashville to Chattanooga, leaving strong guards at its
principal points, as at Murfreesboro', Deckerd, Stevenson,
Bridgeport, Whitesides, and Chattanooga. At Murfreesboro' the
division of Rousseau was reenforced and strengthened up to about
eight thousand men.

At that time the weather was cold and sleety, the ground was
covered with ice and snow, and both parties for a time rested on
the defensive. Those matters stood at Nashville, while we were
closing down on Savannah, in the early part of December, 1864; and
the country, as well as General Grant, was alarmed at the seeming
passive conduct of General Thomas; and General Grant at one time
considered the situation so dangerous that he thought of going to
Nashville in person, but General John A. Logan, happening to be at
City Point, was sent out to supersede General Thomas; luckily for
the latter, he acted in time, gained a magnificent victory, and
thus escaped so terrible a fate.

On the 18th of December, at my camp by the side of the plank-road,
eight miles back of Savannah, I received General Hardee's letter
declining to surrender, when nothing remained but to assault. The
ground was difficult, and, as all former assaults had proved so
bloody, I concluded to make one more effort to completely surround
Savannah on all aides, so as further to excite Hardee's fears, and,
in case of success, to capture the whole of his army. We had
already completely invested the place on the north, west, and
south, but there remained to the enemy, on the east, the use of the
old dike or plank-road leading into South Carolina, and I knew that
Hardee would have a pontoon-bridge across the river. On examining
my maps, I thought that the division of John P. Hatch, belonging to
General Fosters command, might be moved from its then position at
Broad River, by water, down to Bluffton, from which it could reach
this plank-road, fortify and hold it--at some risk, of course,
because Hardee could avail himself of his central position to fall
on this detachment with his whole army. I did not want to make a
mistake like "Ball's Bluff" at that period of the war; so, taking
one or two of my personal staff, I rode back to Grog's Bridge,
leaving with Generals Howard and Slocun: orders to make all
possible preparations, but not to attack, during my two or three
days' absence; and there I took a boat for Wassaw Sound, whence
Admiral Dahlgren conveyed me in his own boat (the Harvest Moon) to
Hilton Head, where I represented the matter to General Foster, and
he promptly agreed to give his personal attention to it. During
the night of the 20th we started back, the wind blowing strong,
Admiral Dahlgren ordered the pilot of the Harvest Moon to run into
Tybee, and to work his way through to Wassaw Sound and the Ogeechee
River by the Romney Marshes. We were caught by a low tide and
stuck in the mud. After laboring some time, the admiral ordered
out his barge; in it we pulled through this intricate and shallow
channel, and toward evening of December 21st we discovered, coming
toward us, a tug, called the Red Legs, belonging to the Quarter-
master's Department, with a staff-officer on board, bearing letters
from Colonel Dayton to myself and the admiral, reporting that the
city of Savannah had been found evacuated on the morning of
December 21st, and was then in our possession. General Hardee had
crossed the Savannah River by a pontoon-bridge, carrying off his
men and light artillery, blowing up his iron-clads and navy-yard,
but leaving for us all the heavy guns, stores, cotton, railway-
cars, steamboats, and an immense amount of public and private
property. Admiral Dahlgren concluded to go toward a vessel (the
Sonoma) of his blockading fleet, which lay at anchor near Beaulieu,
and I transferred to the Red Legs, and hastened up the Ogeechee
River to Grog's Bridge, whence I rode to my camp that same night.
I there learned that, early on the morning of December 21st, the
skirmishers had detected the absence of the enemy, and had occupied
his lines simultaneously along their whole extent; but the left
flank (Slocum), especially Geary's division of the Twentieth Corps,
claimed to have been the first to reach the heart of the city.

Generals Slocum and Howard moved their headquarters at once into
the city, leaving the bulk of their troops in camps outside. On
the morning of December 22d I followed with my own headquarters,
and rode down Bull Street to the custom-house, from the roof of
which we had an extensive view over the city, the river, and the
vast extent of marsh and rice-fields on the South Carolina side.
The navy-yard, and the wreck of the iron-clad ram Savannah, were
still smouldering, but all else looked quiet enough. Turning back,
we rode to the Pulaski Hotel, which I had known in years long gone,
and found it kept by a Vermont man with a lame leg, who used to be
a clerk in the St. Louis Hotel, New Orleans, and I inquired about
the capacity of his hotel for headquarters. He was very anxious to
have us for boarders, but I soon explained to him that we had a
full mess equipment along, and that we were not in the habit of
paying board; that one wing of the building would suffice for our
use, while I would allow him to keep an hotel for the accommodation
of officers and gentlemen in the remainder. I then dispatched an
officer to look around for a livery-stable that could accommodate
our horses, and, while waiting there, an English gentleman, Mr.
Charles Green, came and said that he had a fine house completely
furnished, for which he had no use, and offered it as headquarters.
He explained, moreover, that General Howard had informed him, the
day before, that I would want his house for headquarters. At first
I felt strongly disinclined to make use of any private dwelling,
lest complaints should arise of damage and lose of furniture, and
so expressed myself to Mr. Green; but, after riding about the city,
and finding his house so spacious, so convenient, with large yard
and stabling, I accepted his offer, and occupied that house during
our stay in Savannah. He only reserved for himself the use of a
couple of rooms above the dining-room, and we had all else, and a
most excellent house it was in all respects.

I was disappointed that Hardee had escaped with his army, but on
the whole we had reason to be content with the substantial fruits
of victory. The Savannah River was found to be badly obstructed by
torpedoes, and by log piers stretched across the channel below the
city, which piers were filled with the cobble stones that formerly
paved the streets. Admiral Dahlgren was extremely active, visited
me repeatedly in the city, while his fleet still watched
Charleston, and all the avenues, for the blockade-runners that
infested the coast, which were notoriously owned and managed by
Englishmen, who used the island of New Providence (Nassau) as a
sort of entrepot. One of these small blockade-runners came into
Savannah after we were in full possession, and the master did not
discover his mistake till he came ashore to visit the custom-house.
Of coarse his vessel fell a prize to the navy. A heavy force was
at once set to work to remove the torpedoes and obstructions in the
main channel of the river, and, from that time forth, Savannah
became the great depot of supply for the troops operating in that

Meantime, on the 15th and 16th of December, were fought, in front
of Nashville, the great battles in which General Thomas so nobly
fulfilled his promise to ruin Hood, the details of which are fully
given in his own official reports, long-since published. Rumors of
these great victories reached us at Savannah by piecemeal, but his
official report came on the 24th of December, with a letter from
General Grant, giving in general terms the events up to the 18th,
and I wrote at once through my chief of staff, General Webster, to
General Thomas, complimenting him in the highest terms. His
brilliant victory at Nashville was necessary to mine at Savannah to
make a complete whole, and this fact was perfectly comprehended by
Mr. Lincoln, who recognized it fully in his personal letter of
December 26th, hereinbefore quoted at length, and which is also
claimed at the time, in my Special Field Order No. 6, of January 8,
1865, here given:

(Special Field Order No. 6.)


The general commanding announces to the troops composing the
Military Division of the Mississippi that he has received from the
President of the United States, and from Lieutenant-General Grant,
letters conveying their high sense and appreciation of the campaign
just closed, resulting in the capture of Savannah and the defeat of
Hood's army in Tennessee.

In order that all may understand the importance of events, it is
proper to revert to the situation of affairs in September last. We
held Atlanta, a city of little value to us, but so important to the
enemy that Mr. Davis, the head of the rebellious faction in the
South, visited his army near Palmetto, and commanded it to regain
the place and also to ruin and destroy us, by a series of measures
which he thought would be effectual. That army, by a rapid march,
gained our railroad near Big Shanty, and afterward about Dalton.
We pursued it, but it moved so rapidly that we could not overtake
it, and General Hood led his army successfully far over toward
Mississippi, in hope to decoy us out of Georgia. But we were not
thus to be led away by him, and preferred to lead and control
events ourselves. Generals Thomas and Schofield, commanding the
departments to our rear, returned to their posts and prepared to
decoy General Hood into their meshes, while we came on to complete
the original journey. We quietly and deliberately destroyed
Atlanta, and all the railroads which the enemy had used to carry on
war against us, occupied his State capital, and then captured his
commercial capital, which had been so strongly fortified from the
sea as to defy approach from that quarter. Almost at the moment of
our victorious entry into Savannah came the welcome and expected
news that our comrades in Tennessee had also fulfilled nobly and
well their part, had decoyed General Hood to Nashville and then
turned on him, defeating his army thoroughly, capturing all his
artillery, great numbers of prisoners, and were still pursuing the
fragments down in Alabama. So complete success in military
operations, extending over half a continent, is an achievement that
entitles it to a place in the military history of the world. The
armies serving in Georgia and Tennessee, as well as the local
garrisons of Decatur, Bridgeport, Chattanooga, and Murfreesboro',
are alike entitled to the common honors, and each regiment may
inscribe on its colors, at pleasure, the word "Savannah" or
"Nashville." The general commanding embraces, in the same general
success, the operations of the cavalry under Generals Stoneman,
Burbridge, and Gillem, that penetrated into Southwest Virginia, and
paralyzed the efforts of the enemy to disturb the peace and safety
of East Tennessee. Instead of being put on the defensive, we have
at all points assumed the bold offensive, and have completely
thwarted the designs of the enemies of our country.

By order of Major-General W. T. Sherman,
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.

Here terminated the "March to the Sea," and I only add a few
letters, selected out of many, to illustrate the general feeling of
rejoicing throughout the country at the time. I only regarded the
march from Atlanta to Savannah as a "shift of base," as the
transfer of a strong army, which had no opponent, and had finished
its then work, from the interior to a point on the sea-coast, from
which it could achieve other important results. I considered this
march as a means to an end, and not as an essential act of war.
Still, then, as now, the march to the sea was generally regarded as
something extraordinary, something anomalous, something out of the
usual order of events; whereas, in fact, I simply moved from
Atlanta to Savannah, as one step in the direction of Richmond, a
movement that had to be met and defeated, or the war was
necessarily at an end.

Were I to express my measure of the relative importance of the
march to the sea, and of that from Savannah northward, I would
place the former at one, and the latter at ten, or the maximum.

I now close this long chapter by giving a tabular statement of the
losses during the march, and the number of prisoners captured. The
property captured consisted of horses and mules by the thousand,
and of quantities of subsistence stores that aggregate very large,
but may be measured with sufficient accuracy by assuming that
sixty-five thousand men obtained abundant food for about forty
days, and thirty-five thousand animals were fed for a like period,
so as to reach Savannah in splendid flesh and condition. I also
add a few of the more important letters that passed between
Generals Grant, Halleck, and myself, which illustrate our opinions
at that stage of the war:


Killed Wounded Missing Captured
Officers/Men Officers/Men Officers/Men Officers/Men
10 93 24 404 1 277 77 1,261

WASHINGTON, December 16, 1864

Major-General SHERMAN (via Hilton Head).

GENERAL: Lieutenant-General Grant informs me that, in his last
dispatch sent to you, he suggested the transfer of your infantry to
Richmond. He now wishes me to say that you will retain your entire
force, at least for the present, and, with such assistance as may
be given you by General Foster and Admiral Dahlgren, operate from
such base as you may establish on the coast. General Foster will
obey such instructions as may be given by you.

Should you have captured Savannah, it is thought that by
transferring the water-batteries to the land side that place may be
made a good depot and base of operations on Augusta, Branchville,
or Charleston. If Savannah should not be captured, or if captured
and not deemed suitable for this purpose, perhaps Beaufort would
serve as a depot. As the rebels have probably removed their most
valuable property from Augusta, perhaps Branchville would be the
most important point at which to strike in order to sever all
connection between Virginia and the Southwestern Railroad.

General Grant's wishes, however, are, that this whole matter of
your future actions should be entirely left to your discretion.

We can send you from here a number of complete batteries of field-
artillery, with or without horses, as you may desire; also, as soon
as General Thomas can spare them, all the fragments, convalescents,
and furloughed men of your army. It is reported that Thomas
defeated Hood yesterday, near Nashville, but we have no particulars
nor official reports, telegraphic communication being interrupted
by a heavy storm.

Our last advises from you was General Howard's note, announcing his
approach to Savannah. Yours truly,

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General, Chief-of-Staff.

WASHINGTON, December 18, 1864.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Savannah (via Hilton Head).

My DEAR GENERAL: Yours of the 13th, by Major Anderson, is just
received. I congratulate you on your splendid success, and shall
very soon expect to hear of the crowning work of your campaign--the
capture of Savannah. Your march will stand out prominently as the
great one of this great war. When Savannah falls, then for another
wide swath through the centre of the Confederacy. But I will not
anticipate. General Grant is expected here this morning, and will
probably write you his own views.

I do not learn from your letter, or from Major Anderson, that you
are in want of any thing which we have not provided at Hilton Head.
Thinking it probable that you might want more field-artillery, I
had prepared several batteries, but the great difficulty of
foraging horses on the sea-coast will prevent our sending any
unless you actually need them. The hay-crop this year is short,
and the Quartermaster's Department has great difficulty in
procuring a supply for our animals.

General Thomas has defeated Hood, near Nashville, and it is hoped
that he will completely, crush his army. Breckenridge, at last
accounts, was trying to form a junction near Murfreesboro', but, as
Thomas is between them, Breckenridge must either retreat or be

General Rosecrans made very bad work of it in Missouri, allowing
Price with a small force to overrun the State and destroy millions
of property.

Orders have been issued for all officers and detachments having
three months or more to serve, to rejoin your army via Savannah.
Those having less than three months to serve, will be retained by
General Thomas.

Should you capture Charleston, I hope that by some accident the
place may be destroyed, and, if a little salt should be sown upon
its site, it may prevent the growth of future crops of
nullification and secession.
Yours truly,

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General, Chief-of-Staff.

WASHINGTON, December 18, 1864.

To Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Military Division of the

My DEAR GENERAL: I have just received and read, I need not tell you
with how mush gratification, your letter to General Halleck. I
congratulate you and the brave officers and men under your command
on the successful termination of your most brilliant campaign. I
never had a doubt of the result. When apprehensions for your
safety were expressed by the President, I assured him with the army
you had, and you in command of it, there was no danger but you
would strike bottom on salt-water some place; that I would not feel
the same security--in fact, would not have intrusted the expedition
to any other living commander.

It has been very hard work to get Thomas to attack Hood. I gave
him the most peremptory order, and had started to go there myself,
before he got off. He has done magnificently, however, since he
started. Up to last night, five thousand prisoners and forty-nine
pieces of captured artillery, besides many wagons and innumerable
small-arms, had been received in Nashville. This is exclusive of
the enemy's loss at Franklin, which amounted to thirteen general
officers killed, wounded, and captured. The enemy probably lost
five thousand men at Franklin, and ten thousand in the last three
days' operations. Breckenridge is said to be making for

I think he is in a most excellent place. Stoneman has nearly wiped
out John Morgan's old command, and five days ago entered Bristol.
I did think the best thing to do was to bring the greater part of
your army here, and wipe out Lee. The turn affairs now seem to be
taking has shaken me in that opinion. I doubt whether you may not
accomplish more toward that result where you are than if brought
here, especially as I am informed, since my arrival in the city,
that it would take about two months to get you here with all the
other calls there are for ocean transportation.

I want to get your views about what ought to be done, and what can
be done. If you capture the garrison of Savannah, it certainly
will compel Lee to detach from Richmond, or give us nearly the
whole South. My own opinion is that Lee is averse to going out of
Virginia, and if the cause of the South is lost he wants Richmond
to be the last place surrendered. If he has such views, it may be
well to indulge him until we get every thing else in our hands.

Congratulating you and the army again upon the splendid results of
your campaign, the like of which is not read of in past history, I
subscribe myself, more than ever, if possible, your friend,

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, December 26, 1864.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Savannah, Georgia.

GENERAL: Your very interesting letter of the 22d inst., brought by
Major Grey of General Foster's staff; is fast at hand. As the
major starts back at once, I can do no more at present than simply
acknowledge its receipt. The capture of Savannah, with all its
immense stores, must tell upon the people of the South. All well
Yours truly,

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, December 24, 1864.

Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, City Point, Virginia.

GENERAL: Your letter of December 18th is just received. I feel
very much gratified at receiving the handsome commendation you pay
my army. I will, in general orders, convey to the officers and men
the substance of your note.

I am also pleased that you have modified your former orders, for I
feared that the transportation by sea would very much disturb the
unity and morale of my army, now so perfect.

The occupation of Savannah, which I have heretofore reported,
completes the first part of our game, and fulfills a great part of
your instructions; and we are now engaged in dismantling the rebel
forts which bear upon the sea-channels, and transferring the heavy
ordnance and ammunition to Fort Pulaski and Hilton Head, where they
can be more easily guarded than if left in the city.

The rebel inner lines are well adapted to our purpose, and with
slight modifications can be held by a comparatively small force;
and in about ten days I expect to be ready to sally forth again. I
feel no doubt whatever as to our future plans. I have thought them
over so long and well that they appear as clear as daylight. I
left Augusta untouched on purpose, because the enemy will be in
doubt as to my objective point, after we cross the Savannah River,
whether it be Augusta or Charleston, and will naturally divide his
forces. I will then move either on Branchville or Colombia, by any
curved line that gives us the best supplies, breaking up in our
course as much railroad as possible; then, ignoring Charleston and
Augusta both, I would occupy Columbia and Camden, pausing there
long enough to observe the effect. I would then strike for the
Charleston & Wilmington Railroad, somewhere between the Santee and
Cape Fear Rivers, and, if possible, communicate with the fleet
under Admiral Dahlgren (whom I find a most agreeable gentleman,
accommodating himself to our wishes and plans). Then I would favor
an attack on Wilmington, in the belief that Porter and Butler will
fail in their present undertaking. Charleston is now a mere
desolated wreck, and is hardly worth the time it would take to
starve it out. Still, I am aware that, historically and
politically, much importance is attached to the place, and it may
be that, apart from its military importance, both you and the
Administration may prefer I should give it more attention; and it
would be well for you to give me some general idea on that subject,
for otherwise I would treat it as I have expressed, as a point of
little importance, after all its railroads leading into the
interior have been destroyed or occupied by us. But, on the
hypothesis of ignoring Charleston and taking Wilmington, I would
then favor a movement direct on Raleigh. The game is then up with
Lee, unless he comes out of Richmond, avoids you and fights me; in
which case I should reckon on your being on his heels. Now that
Hood is used up by Thomas, I feel disposed to bring the matter to
an issue as quick as possible. I feel confident that I can break
up the whole railroad system of South Carolina and North Carolina,
and be on the Roanoke, either at Raleigh or Weldon, by the time
spring fairly opens; and, if you feel confident that you can whip
Lee outside of his intrenchments, I feel equally confident that I
can handle him in the open country.

One reason why I would ignore Charleston is this: that I believe
Hardee will reduce the garrison to a small force, with plenty of
provisions; I know that the neck back of Charleston can be made
impregnable to assault, and we will hardly have time for siege

I will have to leave in Savannah a garrison, and, if Thomas can
spare them, I would like to have all detachments, convalescents,
etc., belonging to these four corps, sent forward at once. I do
not want to cripple Thomas, because I regard his operations as
all-important, and I have ordered him to pursue Hood down into
Alabama, trusting to the country for supplies.

I reviewed one of my corps to-day, and shall continue to review the
whole army. I do not like to boast, but believe this army has a
confidence in itself that makes it almost invincible. I wish you
could run down and see us; it would have a good effect, and show to
both armies that they are acting on a common plan. The weather is
now cool and pleasant, and the general health very good. Your true

W. T. SHERMAN Major-General.


Major-General H. W. HALLECK, Chief-of-Staff; Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: I had the pleasure of receiving your two letters of the
16th and 18th instant to-day, and feel more than usually flattered
by the high encomiums you have passed on our recent campaign, which
is now complete by the occupation of Savannah.

I am also very glad that General Grant has changed his mind about
embarking my troops for James River, leaving me free to make the
broad swath you describe through South and North Carolina; and
still more gratified at the news from Thomas, in Tennessee, because
it fulfills my plans, which contemplated his being able to dispose
of Hood, in case he ventured north of the Tennessee River. So, I
think, on the whole, I can chuckle over Jeff. Davis's
disappointment in not turning my Atlanta campaign into a "Moscow

I have just finished a long letter to General Grant, and have
explained to him that we are engaged in shifting our base from the
Ogeeohee to the Savannah River, dismantling all the forts made by
the enemy to bear upon the salt-water channels, transferring the
heavy ordnance, etc., to Fort Pulaski and Hilton Head, and in
remodeling the enemy's interior lines to suit our future plans and
purposes. I have also laid down the programme for a campaign which
I can make this winter, and which will put me in the spring on the
Roanoke, in direct communication with General Grant on James River.
In general terms, my plan is to turn over to General Foster the
city of Savannah, to sally forth with my army resupplied, cross the
Savannah, feign on Charleston and Augusta, but strike between,
breaking en route the Charleston & Augusta Railroad, also a large
part of that from Branchville and Camden toward North Carolina, and
then rapidly to move for some point of the railroad from Charleston
to Wilmington, between the Santee and Cape Fear Rivers; then,
communicating with the fleet in the neighborhood of Georgetown, I
would turn upon Wilmington or Charleston, according to the
importance of either. I rather prefer Wilmington, as a live place,
over Charleston, which is dead and unimportant when its railroad
communications are broken. I take it for granted that the present
movement on Wilmington will fail. If I should determine to take
Charleston, I would turn across the country (which I have hunted
over many a time) from Santee to Mount Pleasant, throwing one wing
on the peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper. After
accomplishing one or other of these ends, I would make a bee-line
for Raleigh or Weldon, when Lee would be forced to come out of
Richmond, or acknowledge himself beaten. He would, I think, by the
use of the Danville Railroad, throw himself rapidly between me and
Grant, leaving Richmond in the hands of the latter. This would not
alarm me, for I have an army which I think can maneuver, and I
would force him to attack me at a disadvantage, always under the
supposition that Grant would be on his heels; and, if the worst
come to the worst, I can fight my way down to Albermarle Sound, or

I think the time has come now when we should attempt the boldest
moves, and my experience is, that they are easier of execution than
more timid ones, because the enemy is disconcerted by them--as, for
instance, my recent campaign.

I also doubt the wisdom of concentration beyond a certain extent,
for the roads of this country limit the amount of men that can be
brought to bear in any one battle, and I do not believe that any
one general can handle more than sixty thousand men in battle.

I think our campaign of the last month, as well as every step I
take from this point northward, is as much a direct attack upon
Lee's army as though we were operating within the sound of his

I am very anxious that Thomas should follow up his success to the
very utmost point. My orders to him before I left Kingston were,
after beating Hood, to follow him as far as Columbus, Mississippi,
or Selma, Alabama, both of which lie in districts of country which
are rich in corn and meat.

I attach more importance to these deep incisions into the enemy's
country, because this war differs from European wars in this
particular: we are not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile
people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard
hand of war, as well as their organized armies. I know that this
recent movement of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful effect
in this respect. Thousands who had been deceived by their lying
newspapers to believe that we were being whipped all the time now
realize the truth, and have no appetite for a repetition of the
same experience. To be sure, Jeff. Davis has his people under
pretty good discipline, but I think faith in him is much shaken in
Georgia, and before we have done with her South Carolina will not
be quite so tempestuous.

I will bear in mind your hint as to Charleston, and do not think
"salt" will be necessary. When I move, the Fifteenth Corps will be
on the right of the right wing, and their position will naturally
bring them into Charleston first; and, if you have watched the
history of that corps, you will have remarked that they generally
do their work pretty well. The truth is, the whole army is burning
with an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina.
I almost tremble at her fate, but feel that she deserves all that
seems in store for her.

Many and many a person in Georgia asked me why we did not go to
South Carolina; and, when I answered that we were enroute for that
State, the invariable reply was, "Well, if you will make those
people feel the utmost severities of war, we will pardon you for
your desolation of Georgia."

I look upon Colombia as quite as bad as Charleston, and I doubt if
we shall spare the public buildings there as we did at

I have been so busy lately that I have not yet made my official
report, and I think I had better wait until I get my subordinate
reports before attempting it, as I am anxious to explain clearly
not only the reasons for every step, but the amount of execution
done, and this I cannot do until I get the subordinate reports; for
we marched the whole distance in four or more columns, and, of
course, I could only be present with one, and generally that one
engaged in destroying railroads. This work of destruction was
performed better than usual, because I had an engineer-regiment,
provided with claws to twist the bars after being heated. Such
bars can never be used again, and the only way in which a railroad
line can be reconstructed across Georgia is, to make a new road
from Fairbnrn Station (twenty-four miles southwest of Atlanta) to
Madison, a distance of one hundred miles; and, before that can be
done, I propose to be on the road from Augusta to Charleston, which
is a continuation of the same. I felt somewhat disappointed at
Hardee's escape, but really am not to blame. I moved as quickly as
possible to close up the "Union Causeway," but intervening
obstacles were such that, before I could get troops on the road,
Hardee had slipped out. Still, I know that the men that were in
Savannah will be lost in a measure to Jeff. Davis, for the Georgia
troops, under G. W. Smith, declared they would not fight in South
Carolina, and they have gone north, en route for Augusta, and I
have reason to believe the North Carolina troops have gone to
Wilmington; in other words, they are scattered. I have reason to
believe that Beauregard was present in Savannah at the time of its
evacuation, and think that he and Hardee are now in Charleston,
making preparations for what they suppose will be my next step.

Please say to the President that I have received his kind message
(through Colonel Markland), and feel thankful for his high favor.
If I disappoint him in the future, it shall not be from want of
zeal or love to the cause.

From you I expect a full and frank criticism of my plans for the
future, which may enable me to correct errors before it is too
late. I do not wish to be rash, but want to give my rebel friends
no chance to accuse us of want of enterprise or courage.

Assuring you of my high personal respect, I remain, as ever, your

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

[General Order No. 3.]

WASHINGTON, January 14, 1865.

The following resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives
is published to the army:


Joint resolution tendering the thanks of the people and of Congress
to Major-General William T. Sherman, and the officers and soldiers
of his command, for their gallant conduct in their late brilliant
movement through Georgia.

Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That the thanks of
the people and of the Congress of the United States are due and are
hereby tendered to Major-General William T. Sherman, and through
him to the officers and men under his command, for their gallantry
and good conduct in their late campaign from Chattanooga to
Atlanta, and the triumphal march thence through Georgia to
Savannah, terminating in the capture and occupation of that city;
and that the President cause a copy of this joint resolution to be
engrossed and forwarded to Major-General Sherman.

Approved, January 10, 1865.

By order of the Secretary of War,
W. A. NICHOLS, Assistant Adjutant-General.




The city of Savannah was an old place, and usually accounted a
handsome one. Its houses were of brick or frame, with large yards,
ornamented with shrubbery and flowers; its streets perfectly
regular, crossing each other at right angles; and at many of the
intersections were small inclosures in the nature of parks. These
streets and parks were lined with the handsomest shade-trees of
which I have knowledge, viz., the Willow-leaf live-oak, evergreens
of exquisite beauty; and these certainly entitled Savannah to its
reputation as a handsome town more than the houses, which, though
comfortable, would hardly make a display on Fifth Avenue or the
Boulevard Haussmann of Paris. The city was built on a plateau of
sand about forty feet above the level of the sea, abutting against
the river, leaving room along its margin for a street of stores and
warehouses. The customhouse, court-house, post-office, etc., were
on the plateau above. In rear of Savannah was a large park, with a
fountain, and between it and the court-house was a handsome
monument, erected to the memory of Count Pulaski, who fell in 1779
in the assault made on the city at the time it was held by the
English during the Revolutionary War. Outside of Savannah there
was very little to interest a stranger, except the cemetery of
Bonaventura, and the ride along the Wilmington Channel by way of
Thunderbolt, where might be seen some groves of the majestic
live-oak trees, covered with gray and funereal moss, which were
truly sublime in grandeur, but gloomy after a few days' camping
under them:

Within an hour of taking up my quarters in Mr. Green's house, Mr.
A. G. Browne, of Salem, Massachusetts, United States Treasury agent
for the Department of the South, made his appearance to claim
possession, in the name of the Treasury Department, of all captured
cotton, rice, buildings, etc. Having use for these articles
ourselves, and having fairly earned them, I did not feel inclined
to surrender possession, and explained to him that the
quartermaster and commissary could manage them more to my liking
than he; but I agreed, after the proper inventories had been
prepared, if there remained any thing for which we had no special
use, I would turn it over to him. It was then known that in the
warehouses were stored at least twenty-five thousand bales of
cotton, and in the forts one hundred and fifty large, heavy
sea-coast guns: although afterward, on a more careful count, there
proved to be more than two hundred and fifty sea-coast or siege
guns, and thirty-one thousand bales of cotton. At that interview
Mr. Browne, who was a shrewd, clever Yankee, told me that a vessel
was on the point of starting for Old Point Comfort, and, if she had
good weather off Cape Hatteras, would reach Fortress Monroe by
Christmas-day, and he suggested that I might make it the occasion
of sending a welcome Christmas gift to the President, Mr. Lincoln,
who peculiarly enjoyed such pleasantry. I accordingly sat down and
wrote on a slip of paper, to be left at the telegraph-office at
Fortress Monroe for transmission, the following:

SAVANNAH GEORGIA, December 22, 1884.
To His Excellency President Lincoln, Washington, D. C.:

I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah, with
one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, also
about twenty five thousand bales of cotton.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

This message actually reached him on Christmas-eve, was extensively
published in the newspapers, and made many a household unusually
happy on that festive day; and it was in the answer to this
dispatch that Mr. Lincoln wrote me the letter of December 28th,
already given, beginning with the words, "many, many thanks," etc.,
which he sent at the hands of General John A. Logan, who happened
to be in Washington, and was coming to Savannah, to rejoin his

On the 23d of December were made the following general orders for
the disposition of the troops in and about Savannah:

[Special Field Order No. 139.]


Savannah, being now in our possession, the river partially cleared
out, and measures having been taken to remove all obstructions,
will at once be made a grand depot for future operations:

1. The chief-quartermaster, General Euston, will, after giving the
necessary orders touching the transports in Ogeechee River and
Oasabaw Sound, come in person to Savannah, and take possession of
all public buildings, vacant storerooms, warehouses, etc., that may
be now or hereafter needed for any department of the army. No
rents will be paid by the Government of the United States during
the war, and all buildings must be distributed according to the

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