near Fort McAllister, and was very anxious to meet me on board his boat. I accordingly returned with him, and met General Foster on board the steamer Nemaha; and after consultation, determined to proceed with him down the sound, in hopes to meet Admiral Dahlgren. But we did not meet him until we reached Wassaw Sound, about noon. I there went on board the Admiral's flag-ship, the Harvest Moon, after having arranged with General Foster to send us from Hilton Head some siege ordnance, and some boats suitable for navigating the Ogeechee River. Admiral Dahlgren very kindly furnished me with all the data concerning his fleet and the numerous forts that guarded the inland channels between the sea and Savannah. I explained to him how completely Savannah was invested at all points save only the plank-road on the South-Carolina shore, known as the “Union causeway,” which I thought I could reach from my left flank across the Savannah River. I explained to him that if he would simply engage the attention of the forts along Wilmington channel, at Beaulieu and Rosedew, I thought I could carry the defences of Savannah by assault as soon as the heavy ordnance arrived from Hilton Head. On the fifteenth, the Admiral carried me back to Fort McAllister, whence I returned to our lines in the rear of Savannah. Having received and carefully considered all the reports of division commanders, I determined to assault the lines of the enemy as soon as my heavy ordnance came from Port Royal, first making a formal demand for surrender. On the seventeenth, a number of thirty-pounder Parrott guns having reached King's Bridge, I proceeded in person to the headquarters of Major-General Slocum, on the Augusta road, and despatched thence into Savannah, by flag of truce, a formal demand for the surrender of the place, and on the following day received an answer from General Hardee, refusing to surrender. In the mean time, further reconnoissances from our left flank had demonstrated that it was impracticable or unwise to push any considerable force across the Savannah River, for the enemy held the river opposite the city with iron-clad gunboats, and could destroy any pontoons laid down by us between Hutchinson's Island and the South-Carolina shore, which would isolate any force sent over from that flank. I therefore ordered General Slocum to get into position the siege-guns and make all the preparations necessary to assault, and to report to me the earliest moment when he could be ready, whilst I should proceed rapidly round by the right and make arrangements to occupy the Union Causeway from the direction of Port Royal. General Foster had already established a division of troops on the peninsula or neck between the Coosawhatchie and Tullifinney rivers, at the head of Broad River, from which position he could reach the railroad with his artillery. I went to Port Royal in person, and made arrangements to reenforce that command by one or more divisions under a proper officer, to assault and carry the railroad, and thence turn toward Savannah until it occupied the causeway in question. I went on board the Admiral's flagship, the Harvest Moon, which put to sea the night of the twentieth. But the wind was high, and increased during the night, so that the pilot judged Ossabaw Bar impassable, and ran into Tybee, whence we proceeded through the inland channels into Wassaw Sound, and thence through Romney Marsh. But the ebb-tide caught the Harvest Moon, and she was unable to make the passage. Admiral Dahlgren took me in his barge, and pulling in the direction of Vernon River, we met the army tug Red Legs, bearing a message from my Adjutant, Captain Dayton, of that morning, the twenty-first, to the effect that our troops were in possession of the enemy's lines, and were advancing without opposition into Savannah, the enemy having evacuated the place during the previous night. Admiral Dahlgren proceeded up the Vernon River in his barge, while I transferred to the tug, in which I proceeded to Fort McAllister, and thence to the rice-mill; and on the morning of the twenty-second rode into the city of Savannah, already occupied by our troops. I was very much disappointed that Hardee had escaped with his garrison, and had to content myself with the material fruits of victory without the cost of life which would have attended a general assault. The substantial results will be more clearly set forth in the tabular statements of heavy ordnance and other public property acquired, and it will suffice here to state, that the important city of Savannah, with its valuable harbor and river, was the chief object of the campaign. With it we acquire all the forts and heavy ordnance in its vicinity, with large stores of ammunition, shot and shells, cotton, rice, and other valuable products of the country. We also gain locomotives and cars, which, though of little use to us in the present condition of the railroads, are a serious loss to the enemy, as well as four steamboats gained, and the loss to the enemy of the iron-clad Savannah, one ram, and three transports blown up or burned by them the night before. Formal demand having been made for the surrender, and having been refused, I contend that every thing within the line of intrenchments belongs to the United States, and I shall not hesitate to use it if necessary for public purposes. But inasmuch as the inhabitants generally have manifested a friendly disposition, I shall disturb them as little as possible consistently with the military rights of present and future military commanders, without remitting in the least our just rights as captors. After having made the necessary orders for the disposition of the troops in and about Savannah, I ordered Captain O. M. Poe, Chief-Engineer, to make a thorough examination of the enemy's works in and about Savannah, with a view to making it conform to our future uses. New lines of defences will be built, embracing the city proper, Forts Jackson, Thunderbolt, and Pulaski
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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