General Sherman. He came round here with General Foster to meet me. I was engaged in buoying Savannah River, to push up an iron-clad to assist in attacking Savannah by water, and left this morning to visit this place, where I have the Passaic and Pawnee, then to Ossabaw, where are the Flag and Sonoma, in the hope of communicating with General Sherman. Meanwhile he had just walked over the Fort McAllister that guards the Ogeechee, and descended to the Flag. General Foster came in afterward, and brought him here. The mail-steamer starts soon, and General Foster does me the favor to take this with him to Hilton Head. I have no time to say more than the above, as General Sherman proposes to consult immediately on measures. . I cannot express to the department my happiness in witnessing and assisting in this glorious movement, so acceptable to our great country. My only wish now is to do my part. Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. Dahlgren, Rear-Admiral, Commanding S. A. B. Squadron.
flag-steamer Pawnee, near Savannah, Ga., December 23, 1864.Despatch No. 597. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: Sir: The departure of a mail-steamer enables me to convey to the Department the latest information to date. Where the narrative of events ended with my last despatch, I am unable to say. The necessity of moving rapidly, and the want of a suitable flag-ship, compels me to shift from one vessel to another, and leave clerks, documents, and records behind. Until I knew exactly where General Sherman would prefer to establish communications with me, and connect his operations, I had to be prepared at the different points between which a choice lay. The force I could collect was therefore distributed at Savannah River, Wassaw, Ossabaw, St. Catherine's, and even as low as Brunswick. On meeting General Sherman, I drew in my force on the first three places; placing two ironclads at Wassaw to insure the detention of the rebel iron-clads, and one in the Savannah River, in order to move up near the obstructions, and assist directly in the movement of the army on the city of Savannah, some gunboats being left in the Ossabaw for the communications. On the thirteenth, General Sherman advanced with his army toward the city, enveloped it, and all its outworks south of the river, and in seeking to connect with my force fell in with Fort McAllister, located on the south bank of the Ogeechee. Promptly a division was moved to the assault, and carried it. This enabled General Sherman to communicate with me in person, and a direct attack was contemplated on Beaulieu, defending the Vernon and Burnside Rivers, by which a better communication would be established, and a nearer approach made to the city. General Howard made a personal reconnoissance with Fleet-Captain Bradford, to decide on the direction a column should take to the rear, whilst my forces moved on the front. To this end I brought round the iron-clad from Savannah River, which, with the Pawnee, Sonoma, Winona, and three mortar-schooners, were all that I could draw off from other places for the purpose. On the eighteenth, General Sherman came on board the flag-ship. Having fully invested Savannah on the land side, whilst the navy held every avenue by water, General Sherman sent a summons to surrender, which was declined by General Hardee on the ground that he held his two lines of defence, and was in communication with his superior authority. General Sherman therefore prepared to attack. His army was gradually drawing closer on Savannah River, and in order to cut off the escape of the rebel forces, he concluded it would be better to send a division to reinforce the troops of General Foster, up Broad River, and make a serious attack there in the direction of the railroad, whilst that on Beaulieu would be limited to the naval cannonade, which I must not omit to mention had been begun and continued with deliberation by Lieutenant Commander Scott, in the Sonoma, assisted for a day or so by the mortar of the Griffiths, Acting-Master Ogilvie. To insure the exact concurrence of the several ports, the General went with me to Hilton Head in my steamer, and General Foster was made fully acquainted with the design. Late on Monday I put to sea, but to avoid detention from the increasing gale, the pilot preferred to follow the interior passage, and when near Ossabaw my steamer grounded. We started in the barge to pull, and were nearly in the waters of Ossabaw when a tug came along with the following telegram for General Sher man:
It was now about three P. M. General Sherman hastened to his headquarters, and I to the division of vessels lying in front of Beaulieu. The facts of the case were soon apparent. Captain Scott, of the Sonoma, was in possession of Fort Beaulieu and Rosedew. I landed at the former, and after giving some brief directions, was on my way from it when I received a note from General Sherman, dated half-past 6 P. M., with two telegrams from General Howard, one saying, “Tatnall intends to run the blockade to-night ;” the other: “Rebel boat Savannah, with Tatnall in, is just out of our reach.” I did not apprehend that this intention to escape could be carried into effect.from Station near headquarters, December 4, 1864--M.General Howard reports one of General Leggett's brigades near Savannah, and no enemy. Prisoners say the city is abandoned and enemy gone to Hardeeville. Wood captured six guns. Slocum got eight guns, and is moving on the city.
To General Sherman:Dayton, Aid-de-Camp.