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[484] entitle him to a prominent place on the roll of great cavalry leaders. By his indomitable energy, operating on all sides of Sherman's columns, he was enabled to keep the government and commanders of our troops advised of the enemy's movements, and, by preventing foraging parties from leaving the main body, he saved from spoilation all but a narrow tract of country, and from the torch millions worth of property which would otherwise certainly have been consumed.

It soon became manifest that Savannah was General Sherman's objective point. That city was occupied by General W. J. Hardee with about eighteen thousand men, a considerable portion of which was composed as militia, local troops, reserves, and hastily organized regiments and battalions made up of convalescents from the hospitals and artisans from the government shops. On December 10th the enemy's columns reached the immediate vicinity of Savannah, and on the 12th they occupied a semicircular line extending from the Savannah River to the Savannah and Gulf Railroad. The defenses of the city were strong, the earthworks and other fortifications were flanked by inundated rice swamps extending across the peninsula formed by the Savannah and Ogeechee rivers, and the causeways leading through them were well fortified by works mounting heavy guns. With a sufficient force to occupy his long lines of defense, General Hardee could have sustained a protracted siege. The city was amply supplied, and its lines of communication were still open. Although Sherman had reached Savannah, he had not yet opened communication with the Federal fleet. Fort McAllister, situated on the right bank of the Ogeechee, about six miles from Ossabaw Sound, was a serious obstacle in his way, as it was a work of considerable strength, mounting twenty-one heavy guns, a deep and wide ditch extending along its front, with every avenue of approach swept by the guns mounted upon its bastions. The fort was held by a garrison of two hundred fifty men under the command of experienced officers. The work was attacked on the evening of the 13th, and carried by assault after a short and feeble resistance. In consequence of the loss of this fort, Sherman speedily opened communication with the fleet, and became perfectly secure against any future want of supplies. This also enabled him to obtain heavy ordnance for use against the city. He proceeded immediately to take measures to invest Savannah, and in a few days had succeeded in doing so on every side of the city except that fronting the river. While Hardee's troops had not yielded a single position or lost a foot of ground, with the exception of Fort McAllister, when, on December 20th, he discovered that Sherman had put heavy siege guns in position near enough to bombard the city, and that the

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