all possible preparations, but not to assault the city during his absence.
His return through the network of channels connecting Tybee and Ossabaw sounds
was delayed by high winds and ebb tides, and on the 21st, he was met by a messenger from his own Headquarters, with the news that Savannah
had been evacuated the night before.
had crossed the river by a pontoon bridge, and marched off on the Charleston
road, carrying with him his garrison of at least ten thousand men and all his light artillery, and blowing up the ironclad vessels and the navy-yard, but leaving one hundred and fifty heavy guns, twenty-five thousand bales of cotton, and all other public property.1
Early on the morning of the 21st, the national skirmishers detected the absence of the enemy, and occupied the lines simultaneously along their whole extent.
, with all its forts, and the valuable harbor and river, was once more in the national hands.
was greatly disappointed that Hardee
should have escaped with his garrison, but Grant
, when he announced the news to the Secretary of War
, declared: ‘It was a good thing as it stands, and the country may well rejoice at it.’
Meanwhile the important operations on the North Carolina
coast, so often contemplated, and so long delayed, had at last begun.
The Cape Fear river
runs due south from Wilmington
to the Atlantic
, a distance of twenty miles, and is separated from the