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[81] army of investment. Arrangements were being rapidly consummated for the contemplated bombardment and for a combined and powerful assault upon the Confederate lines. Strong works for the heavy guns were constructed at commanding points, and field guns were masked in some instances within one hundred and fifty yards of our entrenchments. Light bridges and fascines were accumulated with which to span the deepest portions of the inundated fields and fill the ditches and canals. It is claimed that everything was in readiness on the evening of the 20th, and that the early capture of the garrison of Savannah was confidently anticipated. General Sherman had left orders that the assault should not be launched until his return, and he had not yet made his appearance. Busied with plans for interrupting the only line of retreat open to the Confederates, he was at Port Royal concerting measures with General Foster for a prompt advance upon the Charleston and Savannah railroad, and was not present with his army when Savannah was evacuated.

The pontoon bridges having been completed and the line of retreat perfected, carefully digested orders were promulgated by General Hardee for the evacuation of Savannah and its dependent forts and the withdrawal of the Confederate garrison on the night of the 20th of December, 1864.

During the 19th and 20th our artillery and infantry fire was heavier than it had been on any previous days. The hour of evacuation being near at hand, a more liberal expenditure of ammunition was sanctioned, and the fire of our batteries increased at every available point until the shades of night on the 20th settled upon the contending lines. In obedience to instructions from artillery headquarters the ammunition chests of the light batteries were thoroughly replenished, and all available animals were engaged for retiring such of the unattached guns as could be transported. All field guns of inferior calibre were exchanged for superior pieces where they could be secured.

On the evening of the 19th an order was issued for the evacuation of Whitemarsh Island. After spiking the guns and destroying the carriages and ammunition at Turner's Rocks, Gibson's Point, and on the line of the lunettes across the island without attracting the notice of the enemy, the troops from this locality were despatched over the pontoon bridges across the Savannah river to co-operate with General Wheeler in holding the enemy in check on the Carolina shore. Upon this retreat all bridges connecting Whitemarsh Island with the main land were destroyed.

The garrisons from the Savannah-river batteries, from Fort Bartow,

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