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[65] Saltehatchie, to cover Savannah. These were the points requiring immediate attention. He superintended in person the works overlooking the approach to the railroad from Port Royal, and soon infused into his troops a part of his own energy. The works he had planned rose with magical rapidity. A few days after his arrival at Coosawhatchee, Dupont and Sherman sent their first reconnaissance in that direction, which was met and repulsed by shots from the newly erected batteries; and now, whether the Federals advanced toward the railroad or turned in the direction of Charleston or Savannah, they were arrested by our batteries. The people, seeing the Federals repulsed at every point, regained their confidence, and with it their energy.

The most important points being now secured against immediate attack, the General proceeded to organize a system of seacoast defense different from that which had been previously adopted. He withdrew the troops and material from those works which had been established on the islands and salient points which he could not defend to a strong interior line, where the effect of the Federal naval force would be neutralized. After a careful reconnaissance of the coast, he designated such points as he considered it necessary to fortify. The most important positions on this extensive line were Georgetown, Charleston, Pocotaligo, Coosawhatchee, and Savannah. Coosawhatchee, being central, could communicate with either Charleston or Savannah in two or three hours by railroad, and in case of an attack they could support each other. The positions between Coosawhatchee and Savannah, and those between the former and Charleston, could be reenforced from the positions contiguous to them; there was thus a defensive relation throughout the entire line, extending from Winyaw Bay to the mouth of St. Mary's River, in Georgia, a distance of about two hundred miles. These detached and supporting works covered a most important agricultural country, and sufficed to defend it from the smaller expeditions made against that region.

About March 1st the gunboats of the enemy entered the Savannah River by way of the channel leading from Hilton Head. Our naval force was too weak to dispute the possession with them, and they thus cut off the communication of Fort Pulaski with the city. Soon after, the enemy landed a force, under General Gillmore, on the opposite side of the fort. By April 1st they had powerful batteries in position, and on that day opened fire on the fort. Having no hope of succor, Fort Pulaski, after striking a blow for honor, surrendered with about five hundred men.1

1 General A. L. Long, in Historical Society Papers.

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