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[294] squad of rebel prisoners to be armed with picks and spades, and made to march in close order along the road, and explode their own torpedoes, or .discover and dig them up. They begged hard, but he was inexorable, and, stepping gingerly on, they removed ten of the concealed instruments. Only one national soldier was hurt by the rebel torpedoes.

On the 8th of December, the advance reached Pooler's station, eight miles from Savannah. Sherman himself rode forward to reconnoitre, and entered a dense wood of pine, oak, and cypress, where he dismounted, and looking through a railroad opening, discerned a rebel parapet, about eight hundred yards away, encompassed with ditches, canals, and bayous, all filled with water. It was one of the outworks of Savannah. Another siege appeared inevitable.

The city lies on the west bank of the Savannah river, about twenty miles from the sea. The Ogeechee river is at this point twelve or fifteen miles west of the Savannah, with which it runs generally parallel, emptying into Ossabaw sound. In the Ogeechee are many windings, and, at one of these, on the western bank, the rebels had erected a strong field-work, which they called Fort McAllister. It completely commanded the Ogeechee river and all communication with the sea. The country around Savannah is marshy and difficult, and the rebel lines followed two swampy creeks, one emptying into the Savannah above the city, and the other flowing in an opposite direction and emptying into the Little Ogeechee. These streams were bordered by rice-fields, which were flooded either by the tide or by inland ponds, the gates to which the enemy controlled

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