[Special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
I gave an account in my last letter of the draft ordered by the Governor
, to supply deficiencies in the requisition made by the Confederate Government for twelve regiments.
The draft was duty effected, and it has caused universal indignation, especially among the unfortunate subjects of military or rather militia rigger.
It has not apparently been administered with the impartiality which should accompany so grave a retrenchment of the ordinary civil rights of a citizen, and this has given just complaint to many.
is not the only city which can lay claim to she preeminent honor of having stood a draft, and this unenviable distinction has originated solely from the numbers who feel so wrapped up in self, or involved in the intricacies of trade, or wedded to luxurious case, so to shirk the performance of the duty which their country demands of them.
Not a few in Savannah
have remained idle spectators of the struggle now going on, in which they have more involved even than those noble ones who have stepped forward to battle for their country's cause.
The city and the county of Chatham
has, nevertheless, done its duty nobly; she has now in the field a full proportion of her population, and those who remain are the weak in spirit and in courage, the infirm, the wealthy, and those who have been employed in work as necessary to the prosecution of the war as the stout arm that wields the sword.
Since the draft these establishments have been so severely crippled in their resources that the proprietors have seriously contemplated the arrest of any work towards the completion of Government contracts.
In one establishment where the engines for the new gunboats are being built, and all other available means towards the defence of the city are put in requisition, where the calls for ordnance stores are constantly being supplied, the labor of the whole concern has been stopped since Saturday last; out of one hundred hands not ten men remain to-day to carry on the almost essential business of the Government
The gunboats are in the same predicament, not from mechanics now being employed on a work which General Lee
a week since characterized as a very important and necessary means of defence.
From this state of affairs apparently no redress can be obtained, the Confederate General
commanding has no authority in the matter and General Jackson
equally is incompetent to discharge from the service those drafted.
Since the departure of General Lee
, the command has devolved upon General Pemberton
, of whose energy and officer-like qualities I have already informed you. His stay in Savannah
has been well received by the citizens generally, and wherever he has been known he is accepted as a worthy successor of Gen. Lee
, Before leaving, the General
completed, with his staff, the reconnaissance of the lines of defence which extend from the Savannah river
north of the city towards the Louisville
road, thus finishing the circuit of earth works extending from river to river.
It is well worth the notice of the student of history and the intelligent observer of our progress since the revolution, to trace the outlines of the Britain defences, and compare them with the present wide extent of the city limits and the new works of defence about it. It is only from history that these works and lines of defence can be traced, the march of progress has obliterated long since, all that the gentle finger of time had left, and twenty years has past since the green mound, the last evidence of a military work, has been completely erased.
The left of the British
lines rested upon the river; a fort situated on a commanding bluff new occupied by the gas company and adjacent houses, rendered the approach from that tide over a small Broek and extensive marsh impossible; that hill is now closely occupied, but extends back into pine woods, new sheltering the camps of Gen. Capers
's brigade, the creek has been nearly filled, the marsh drained and planted, and the river front occupied by cotton presses, from which the forty product goes to support the poor of Europe
, and to warm the dweller by the pole.
The line continued in a semi-circle and traversed the ground now adorned by the beautiful square, which the city of Savannah
has tastefully ornamented with a memorial of the gallant, but unfortunate Pulaski
, who fell contending for the libertinism which we now fight for. The right rest again upon the Savannah river
, on the brow or a bill which fell to the banks of a creek, beyond which the swamp extended, hoary with moss.
The swamp is still there — it a hand of the adventurous pioneer has not yet effaced all the evidences of the rank grow of primeval nature but the creek has become a canal, and from its source the city is supplied with the best of water, and which partakes of the color of James river
wan, but which always preserves its even temper, and is seldom raffled to frothy violence.
This of works is now at least one mile within those of the present defence; but it is not unreasonable to suppose that bavanush then occupied a smaller proportion of the enclosed area than it does at present; the little germ which Oglethorpe
planted has matured into a queenly city, and has become the centre of pulsation for the commercial world of Georgia
, and famed for the intelligence and the refinement of its citizens.
The siege of Savannah
, conducted on the part of the Americans
by G. n. Lincoln
, was a proof of how much energy and skill might effect.
The British force, inferior in number, with a naturally weak position, especially in the centre, history tells us, rendered the works almost impregnable by assault, by diligent and unremitting labor, and compelled the American
forces to retire from the siege.
Such was the position in 1779.
The situation is not materially different now; the besieged then were without a navy, as we are to-day, and D' Estaing
's fleet were then lying in St. Augustine Creek
, at Thunderbolt
, nearly in the same place as that which the Yankees
ventured in approach but two months since; we have, then, every reason to feel confident of the result of the present attempt of the foe to possess himself of the commercial metropolis of Georgia
, and despite the apparent invulnerability of their gunboats, we believe that they will not alter the final result, and will be forced to retire as our halites did before.
One of our steamers (the Leesburg
) ran aground between Skidaway
and the main land, some days since, and has since remained in that position.
The accident occurred from the breaking of a rudder iron.
To-day the "reliable gentleman" reported its capture by the Yankees
, but it turns out to be umbers.
We presume she will not remain long in her present position.
has been occupied by the Yankees
, not a gun being shot before our forced abandoned the post, leaving twenty-six guns in their possession.
The acquisition is one of little value, save the guns captured, the country in the vicinity being poor, sparsely populated, and armors destitute of means of living, save the cattle ranging the country at large.
They hold the terminus of the railroad, but whether the rilling stock was left for the enemy, or not. I have not been able to learn.
Why we retained that post when we abandoned others, or if worthy of being retained, why it was not defended, is a mystery to me. I suppose the officer in command had some good excuse or reason for its abandonment.
To-day is the fast proclaimed by the President
It has been generally observed, the stores being closed and services hold in the churches.
As I feared and observed some time ago, we have a severely cold spell now upon as the coldest thus far in the winter, and it has done great damage to fruit, as well as to early vegetables.
The injury will be greatly felt.