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[303] and finally afforded an avenue of retreat when, three weeks afterwards, its garrison, unable to cope longer with the enveloping legions of Sherman, evacuated that city. In acknowledgement of the gallantry, patriotism, and distinguished services of General Gustavus W. Smith and his command in this brilliant affair the General Assembly of Georgia on the 9th of March, 1865, passed the most complimentary resolutions. In this memorable and successful engagement the Augusta battalion, under the command of our comrade, Major George T. Jackson, bore a conspicuous and most efficient part.

Although every effort had been exhausted in concentrating the largest force for the defence of Savannah, such was the pressure upon the Confederacy, and so few were the troops capable of transfer from other points, that at the inception and during the progress of the siege not more than 10,000 men fit for duty could be depended upon for the tenure of the newly constructed western lines extending from the Savannah river at Williamson's plantation to the Atlantic and Gulf Railway bridge across the Little Ogeechee. Georgia reserves and State militia constituted nearly one-half of this army.

The forts and fixed batteries commanding the water approaches to the city were well supplied with ammunition, guns, and artillerists. Against these works the naval forces of the enemy, in anticipation of the advent of General Sherman, were preparing to demonstrate heavily.

By the afternoon of the 9th of December, 1864, the Confederate garrison was in position along the western line, and on the following day the Federals closed in upon our field works covering the land approaches to the city of Savannah. With this date commences the siege, a history of which lies not within the compass of this hour.

A few words more, touching the conduct of the Federals during this vaunted march of Gen. Sherman from Atlanta to the sea, and I will, my friends, trespass no longer upon your patience.

After alluding to the almost total demolition of the Central Railroad from Gordon to Savannah, and the partial destruction of the Macon and Western, the Augusta and Waynesboro, the Charleston and Savannah, and the Atlantic and Gulf Railways, Gen. Sherman, in his official report, says: ‘We have also consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah, as also the sweet potatoes, cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry, and have carried away more than ten thousand ’

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