materials, it was consummated with commendable rapidity and in a very substantial manner.
These bridges were built by sailors from the Confederate navy and by a detachment from the Georgia
Steamboats were employed in collecting the flats and towing them into position.
After the Confederate army crossed, these pontoons were cut loose from their moorings and the flats turned adrift.
The enemy was thus prevented from pursuing, had such a purpose been entertained.
Having transferred most of his command to the left bank of the Savannah
, in association with General Young
, General Wheeler
was actively engaged night and day in holding the enemy in check and in keeping open the Confederate
line of retreat to the high ground on the Carolina
With some six hundred cavalry and a section of light artillery, General Iverson
was detached to create a diversion on the right and in the rear of the Federal
In front of our western line the enemy was still busily employed in strengthening his position, in erecting new and more formidable field works, in developing additional lines of artillery fire, and in rendering more facile his communication with his right flank.
Two regiments of General Geary
's division occupied the upper end of Hutchinson's Island
, and Carman
's brigade was pushed forward to Argyle Island
The artillery fire increased in intensity; and for several days, commencing on the 15th of December, Beaulieu battery was shelled by two mortar boats and two gun-boats and by a rifle gun posted on Greene island
On the 16th the Confederate forces were strengthened by the arrival of General Ferguson
's brigade of dismounted cavalry.
The following day General Sherman
demanded the surrender of Savannah
and its dependent forts, accompanying his summons with the threat that if he should be forced to resort to an assault or to the slower and surer process of starvation, he would then feel justified in adopting the harshest measures, and that he would make little effort to restrain his army.
To this demand General Hardee
returned a prompt and emphatic refusal.
For the bombardment of Savannah
at long range the Federals
undertook the transfer of heavy guns from Port Royal
, from the fleet, and from Fort McAllister
Water transportation to their destination was afforded by the Great Ogeechee river
and the Savannah and Ogeechee canal
According to the Federal
accounts, during the 18th, 19th and 20th days of December the utmost activity prevailed in the