could be done by this squadron to assist the army of General Sherman. It is now fairly launched on its great enterprise, and will no doubt soon consummate the first results so confidently looked for. If any further communication is resumed with my command, it may be expected in the vicinity of Georgetown. But in view of the great effect that must be produced by the army recently landed at Wilmington, it is reasonable to infer that General Sherman will advance rapidly to a junction with it, and neither seek nor need further communication with the sea whilst in South-Carolina. Yesterday, while engaged in operations at Bull's Bay, I received a despatch in cipher from General Gillmore, which he had just received from General Sherman, asking me to decipher it, upon which I steamed down to Hilton Head, in order to be in immediate communication with General Gillmore. There I found a cipher despatch for me from General Sherman, and I inclose copies of both, so that the Department may be able to inform the President of the last news here in regard to General Sherman. . . . . I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. Dahlgren, Rear-Admiral, Commanding S. A. B. Squadron.
U. S. S. Pontiac, Sister's Ferry, Savannah River, Ga., January 31, 1865.Admiral: In obedience to your order of the thirteenth instant, I reported, on the fifteenth instant, to General Sherman, at Savannah, and was by him referred to General Slocum for special instructions. Agreeably to such instructions, we left Savannah on the afternoon of the eighteenth, in company with the army transport, Robert E. Lee, and arrived at Purrysburgh, about twenty miles up the river, on the afternoon of the nineteenth, where we found a portion of the Twentieth corps, General Williams's. Remained at Purrysburgh until the twenty-second, when we proceeded up the river, and on the twenty-fourth anchored at Morrall's Landing, at the lower end of Sister's Ferry Bluffs, about forty-one miles from Savannah. Here, on the high banks which overlook the river, we established a picket-station, with a view to keep a lookout for the advance of our own army, and to see that the enemy did not bring artillery to bear on us, our own guns not being available for such an elevation. With a view to ascertaining the position and strength of the rebel pickets, and for information generally, small scouting-parties were sent out, with orders to run no risk of being cut off, and cautioned particularly against the detached bodies of Wheeler's cavalry, known to be in the neighborhood. Notwithstanding this warning, on the morning of the twenty-sixth, a party from this ship, engaged on a scouting expedition, were surprised and captured by a body of Wheeler's men, numbering about twenty. The following are the names of those taken: Third Assistant Engineer, Carlton A. Uber; Acting Gunner, Charles F. Adams; Americus Brinton, ordinary seaman; Gustavus Dahl, ordinary seaman; John Owens, landsman; James Walters, coal-heaver. Previous to this, we had taken the following prisoners: John Gaylard, citizen, but suspected guerrilla; James M. Fleetwood, late of rebel gunboat Macon, and branch pilot of Savannah; John Ganaan, and J. B. Metzger, Thirty-first Georgia; all of whom have been turned over to the Provost-Marshal. On the evening of the twenty-seventh, the scouts of General Davis's column reached here, and soon after, the rest of the Fourteenth corps. They had been delayed by the very bad roads, and the great amount of corduroying to be done. The movements of this wing are greatly impeded by the great freshets, but officers and men are working with great energy and perseverance, and will no doubt overcome all difficulties. This ship is now anchored about a mile above the pontoon-bridge, or at the “old ferry,” on the lookout for the enemy's gunboats, the last information of which showed them to be eighty or ninety miles above us. On our way up, owing to the very strong current caused by the freshet, and the many and very sharp turns in the river, we were occasionally swept in among the trees on the river-bank, getting some scratches, but nothing of a serious nature. I am, Admiral, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Headquarters in the field, Lowry's, February 7, 1865.Telegram in cipher. Rear-Admiral J. A. Dahlgren, off Charleston, S. C.: We are on the South-Carolina road, at Midway, and will break fifty miles from Edisto toward Augusta, and then cross toward Columbia. Weather is bad, and country full of water. I have ordered Foster to move Hatch up to the Edisto, about Jacksonboro and Willtown; also, to make the lodgment about Bull's Bay. Watch Charleston close. I think Jeff Davis will order it to be abandoned, lest he lose its garrison as well as guns. We are all well, and the enemy retreats before us. Yours,
W. T. Sherman, Major-General.
flag-steamer Harvest Moon, Port Royal Harbor, S. C., January 31, 1865.Despatch No. 49. Honorable Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: Sir: I am now able to convey to the department a more complete account of the works that defended Savannah than was before in my power. . . . . . . . The heavy batteries that were laid across the Savannah River, at the head of Elba Island, have been found sufficiently difficult of removal, even