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[295] with heavy artillery. The only approaches to the city were by five narrow causeways, two of which were railroads, and the others the common country roads leading to Augusta, Louisville, and the Ogeechee. These were all obstructed by fallen trees and commanded by artillery.

As an assault could only be made at great disadvantage, Sherman proceeded to invest the city from the north and west. Slocum, on the left, rested on the Savannah, and Howard, on the right, reached to the Little Ogeechee, so that no supplies could reach Savannah by any of its accustomed channels, the river below the town being blockaded by the national fleet. There was still, however, a possible exit for the rebels across the Savannah to the left bank, and thence by the Charleston road. It was to cut this road that Grant, two months before, had ordered an expedition from Foster's command.

It was now of vital importance to open communication with the fleet, supposed to be waiting with supplies in Tybee, Ossabaw, and Wassaw sounds; and, on the 13th of December, Sherman ordered a division of infantry, under Brigadier-General Hazen, to march down the west bank of the Ogeechee, and carry Fort McAllister by storm. The fort was a strong, enclosed work, manned by two companies of artillery and three of infantry, and mounting twenty-five guns. Hazen deployed his division about the place, with both flanks resting on the river, posted his skirmishers judiciously behind the trunks of trees, whence they picked off the rebel artillerists, and then advanced in three lines, above, below, and in rear of the fort. The three parties reached the parapet simultaneously, trampling on a line of torpedoes,

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