General Sherman was this side of Milledgeville a few days since, and it is inferable that his course is this way. General Foster and myself will do what our forces allow to assist in establishing a connection with General Sherman. General Foster proposes to move on the night of the twenty-eighth for this purpose. I am to cover his landing and furnish a battery of six howitzers to march with his troops. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
flag-steamer Philadelphia, Broad River, S. C., December 7, 1864.Despatch No. 589. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: Sir: The Department's communication of the twenty-second November reached me on the third by the Donegal. My despatches, which have by this time reached the department, will show that time has not been lost in doing what the small force here permits. As soon as General Sherman does arrive, I will .bring every available vessel, including the iron-clads, to his aid. As regards the weather that may be expected subsequent to this, it would be difficult to judge. Nothing could have been finer than the recent weather to this date, so far as the effects on roads are concerned; but to-day it rained heavily for a few hours, probably not enough to affect the roads nor the streams, which are yet swollen in this vicinity, nor elsewhere probably at the coast, within this command. The new steamer building in the Pedee is awaiting a rise to come down, and has not yet done so. At the same time, I have just inquired of a deserter who is a native, and he says that about Atlanta the streams begin to rise about November. The temperature here is very mild, and not cold enough to be healthy, differing entirely from the purer air of the sea along the coast outside. I do not perceive any natural obstacle in the path of the army. General Sherman can connect very easily by any of the principal streams, and take this squadron as his base. It would be very fortunate if he should happen about this vicinity, as he would come upon Savannah on its weak side, which is to the interior. Looking seaward it is very strong — not fortified as carefully as Charleston, but still well suited to the narrow water-courses by which vessels approach. I cannot conceive, however, that any thing here could check a veteran army like that of General Sherman. If he has any trouble, it will be from the force gathering on his footsteps. His best base would be from this to the Stono, having no less than four fine estuaries to connect with the squadron, namely, Broad River, the rivers emptying into St. Helena, North-Edisto, and Stono, giving him ample means of supply, conveniently distributed, with the flank of Charleston at one hand and that of Savannah on the other, with the choice of falling on either. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Port Royal Harbor, Dec. 12, 1864.Telegram. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: I have just received a communication from Sherman's army. It is a few miles from Savannah, and in fine spirits. I shall bring all my available force into connection with the army. A despatch is forwarded with this. Very respectfully,
John A. Dahlgren, Rear-Admiral.
flag-steamer Philadelphia, Port Royal Harbor, S. C., December 12, 1864.Despatch No. 596. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: Sir: It is my happiness to apprise the Department that General Sherman, with his army, is near Savannah, and I am in communication with him. In view of his probable arrival, I had stationed several steamers at different points, and had come down from the Tullifinney yesterday in order to be at hand. I had not to wait many hours. This morning, about eight o'clock, the Dandelion arrived with Captain Duncan and two scouts, Sergeant Myron J. Emmick and George W. Quinby, bearing the following lines from General Howard:
Captain Duncan states that our forces were in contact with the rebels a few miles outside of Savannah. He says they are not in want of any thing. Perhaps no event could give greater satisfaction to the country than that which I announce, and I beg leave to congratulate the United States Government on its occurrence. It may perhaps be exceeding my province, but I cannot refrain from expressing the hope that the department will commend Captain Duncan and his companion to the Honorable Secretary of War, for some mark of approbation for the success in establishing communications between General Sherman and the fleet. It was an enterprise that required both skill and courage. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,headquarters Department of army of Tennessee, near Savannah canal, Ga. To Commander of United States Naval Forces in vicinity of Savannah, Ga.:Sir: We have met with perfect success thus far. Troops in fine spirits and near by. Respectfully,O. O. Howard, Major-General Commanding.