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[305] held and controlled every avenue by which the people and garrison could be supplied. Hardee, who was in command, replied that the national lines were, at the nearest point, at least four miles from the heart of Savannah, and that he was in free and constant communication with the exterior. The surrender was refused. Sherman therefore made his preparations to assault. On the 18th, he wrote to Grant: ‘I should like very much to take Savannah before coming to you; but, as I wrote you before, I will do nothing rash or hasty, and will embark for James river as soon as General Easton, who is gone to Port Royal for that purpose, reports to me that he has an approximate number of vessels for the transportation of the contemplated force. I fear even this will cost more delay than you anticipate, for already the movement of our transports and the gunboats has required more time than I had expected. But I still hope that events will give me time to take Savannah, even if I have to assault with some loss. . . . I have a faint belief that you will delay operations long enough to enable me to succeed here.’

Sherman had now completely invested the place on the north, west, and south, but there still remained to the enemy on the east the use of the old dike, or plank road, leading into South Carolina from the left bank of the Savannah; and Hardee could easily throw a pontoon bridge across the river to this point. Sherman therefore determined to order Foster to move down upon this road from the direction of Port Royal. On the 19th, he went in person to Port Royal to arrange the movement, leaving directions with Howard and Slocum to make

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