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November 13.

A brigade from each division was sent to destroy the railroad between Atlanta and the Chattahoochee River, which was reported the next morning as effectually done.

Changes in the principal commands of the corps since the last campaign,. left the organization as follows:

First division, Brigadier-General A. J. Jackson commanding. The brigades commanded respectively by Colonels Selfridge, Carman, and Robinson.

Second division, Brigadier-General J. W. Geary commanding. Three brigades, commanded by Colonels Pardee, Jones, and Barnum.

Third division, Brigadier-General W. T. Ward commanding. Three brigades, commanded by Colonels F. C. Smith, Dustin, and Ross.

A list of regiments composing the brigades will be found in reports of subordinate commanders.

The artillery was reduced to four batteries of four guns each; two of three-inch Rodmans, and two of twelve-pounder Napoleons, under charge of Major J. A. Reynolds, Chief of Artillery. The horses were increased to eight to a carriage.

The Ninth Illinois infantry, (mounted,) Lieutenant-Colonel Hughes commanding, joined the command on the second day, and remained with it through to Savannah, and performed excellent service throughout. One battalion of the Fifty-eighth Indiana volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Moore commanding, with pontoon train, was also attached to the corps, and was very useful during the march.

On the morning of the fifteenth November, the corps marched from Atlanta, taking the road east through Decatur.

We encamped on the fifteenth near the Georgia Railroad, south of Stone Mountain; on the evening of the sixteenth, near Rock Bridge Post-Office; on the seventeenth, near Cornish Creek; on the eighteenth, three miles west of Madison. The country for the first three days march was very hilly, and the crossing at Yellow River, Little Haynes River, and other streams, very bad. [31] The condition of the teams was not good, and delays to the rear of our long column were consequently vexatious and protracted.

Geary's division was detached, unencumbered, on the morning of the nineteenth, with orders to destroy the Georgia Railroad Bridge over the Oconee River, and such wagon-bridges as he might find on that river toward Milledgeville. The purpose was fully accomplished, and several miles of railroad as well as the long railroad bridge over the Oconee were destroyed. A wagon-bridge over that river and several mills and factories were also burned. The division rejoined the column on the twenty-first, before reaching Little River.

The other two divisions, with the trains of the corps, moved through Madison, and encamped four miles beyond. About six miles of railroad were destroyed by Ward's division. Supplies for man and beast became abundant on the third day after leaving Atlanta.

On the twentieth, moved forward and encamped near Eatonton. The afternoon was rainy and the roads heavy.

On the twenty-first, marched through Eatonton, encamping near Little River. Two or three miles of the Eatonton Branch Railroad were destroyed on the march.

On the twenty-second, having laid the pontoon-bridge over Little River, the corps crossed and moved forward to the suburbs of Milledgeville. Two regiments under Colonel Hawley, Third Wisconsin volunteers, (appointed commandant of the post,) were sent to occupy the town. The First and Second divisions were encamped on the east side of the Oconee, and the Third division on the west side, near the bridge. Large quantities of arms, ammunition, and accoutrements were found and destroyed, as well as salt and other public property. The report of Colonel Hawley, commander of post, forwarded herewith, will give the details of this property. The railroad depot, two arsenals, a powder magazine, and other public buildings and shops were burned. The railroad track for five miles toward Gordon was destroyed.

On the twenty-fourth, the march was resumed, and the divisions encamped near Gum Creek; and on the twenty-fifth, after some delay, to rebuild the bridges over Buffalo Creek and Swamp, the head of the column encamped about seven miles from Sandersville. Some skirmishing was had, and the enemy's cavalry was driven away by Colonel Robinson's brigade just as we were going into camp.

On the following morning, (twenty-sixth,) two regiments of Carman's brigade, Jackson's division, drove away the rebel cavalry, and the corps moved rapidly into Sandersville, entering simultaneously with the Fourteenth corps, upon a road on our left. In the afternoon, the First and Second divisions were moved down to Tennille Station, (No 13,) the Third division being left to cover the trains. The First Michigan engineers reported for duty with the corps.

On the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth, the Central Railroad and all wag-on-bridges over Williamson's Swamp Creek were destroyed from Tennille Station to the Ogeechee River, including the long railroad bridge over that stream, by the First and Second divisions and Michigan Engineers. The Third division marched with the trains, via Davisboro, across the Ogeechee and Rocky Comfort Rivers, and encamped near Louisville.

On the thirtieth, the First and Second divisions moved up the Ogeechee to Coward's Bridge, which was found partly destroyed, but easily repaired. The whole corps encamped about three miles south of Louisville.

Between the Oconee and Ogeechee, the roads, excepting at the river and swamp crossings, were good, the country very level, and the weather, during the march, superb. Supplies of all kinds were very abundant.

From the first to the eighth of December, our line of march was down the Peninsula between the Ogeechee and Savannah Rivers, following the Louisville and Savannah Road, encamping on the first on Baker's Creek; on the second, at Buckhead Church; on the third, at Horse Creek; on the fourth, at Little Ogeechee; on the fifth, at Sylvania Cross-Roads; on the sixth, near Cowpens Creek; on the seventh, on Jack's Branch, near Springfield; and on the eighth, near Eden Cross-Roads.

As we approached the coast, the surface of the country became flat and swampy. Large ponds or pools were met every mile or so, and the creeks spread out into several miry branches. The roads between the creeks and ponds, though apparently of sand, and substantial character, proved to be upon a thin crust, which was soon cut through by our long trains into the deep quicksand, requiring miles of corduroy. At several of the swamps, the enemy had attempted to obstruct our march by falling timber. The supplies continued good and the weather excellent.

On the ninth, our direction of march was changed to the east, taking the road from Eden to Monteith Post-Office, on the Charleston Railroad. At the large Monteith Swamp, we found that the enemy, besides obstructing the road for nearly a mile by falling trees, had built two small earthworks, and with a single gun and about four hundred infantry was making a show of stopping our march. Jackson's division being in advance, he was ordered to throw out several regiments on each flank, while a brigade in the centre should make a feint, to engage attention and enable the pioneers to clear the obstructions. Our hope of capturing the whole party did not succeed; but their pretentious defences were speedily abandoned as soon as a portion of Robinson's brigade, under Colonel West, Thirty-first Wisconsin volunteers, could cross the swamp. The fugitives left behind a considerable quantity of new clothing and accoutrements. Our loss was one man killed and four wounded. Much praise was awarded to Colonel West for his conduct on this occasion. [32]

On the following morning, (tenth December,) the corps moved down to Monteith Station, on the Charleston Railroad, and after destroying some miles of the road, marched to near the five-mile post, on the Augusta and Savannah Railroad. At this point, meeting with the enemy's strong line of defences behind swamps and artificial ponds, the corps was ordered to encamp for the night. During the afternoon a party of foragers, with some cavalry, succeeded in bringing to and capturing near the foot of Argyle Island, a rebel despatch-boat called the Ida, having on board Colonel Clynch of General Hardee's staff, with despatches for gunboats above. The boat was unfortunately set on fire and burned.

On the eleventh, Geary's division was moved to the left, encountering some opposition from rebel pickets. They were, however, driven back into the main works, and our line was established from the Savannah River, near Williamson's plantation, in advance of Pipe Maker's Creek, across the Charleston Railroad to the Central Railroad, a few hundred yards from the junction of the two roads, connecting with the Fourteenth corps, Third division, on the right, First division in the centre, and Second division on the left.

On the twelfth, Winnegar's battery, (four three-inch guns,) which had been placed in position at Tweedside, to command the channel between Argyle Island and the Georgia shore, drove back two gunboats attempting to descend the river, and so crippled the tender Resolute, as to drive her aground, in which position she was taken possession of by Colonel Hawley, Third Wisconsin volunteers, whose regiment was on duty on Argyle Island. Five naval officers and nineteen men were captured, besides a quantity of ordnance and subsistence stores. The boat, which was without armament, was subsequently turned over to the Quartermaster's department, and is now in our service.

From the thirteenth to the twentieth, several changes were made in the positions of the troops. Robinson's brigade of the First division was sent back to Cherokee Hill, to cover the roads in our rear. Two regiments from Geary's division occupied the upper end of Hutchinson's Island. Carman's brigade, First division, was sent to Argyle Island, and subsequently across to the Carolina shore, with a section of battery I, First New-York artillery. He took up a strong position on the nineteenth, in advance of Izzard's House, and made several demonstrations and reconnoissances toward Clydesdale Creek and the Union causeway road from Savannah to Hardeesville. The enemy opposed these movements in strong force. The nature of the country for miles back (being rice plantations crossed by dykes and canals) effectually prevented any thing beyond a menace. These threatening movements, however, undoubtedly hastened the evacuation of Savannah.

In the mean time our main line was pushed toward the enemy's works, and preparations for assault made by close reconnoissances, construction of light bridges, and experiments with baulks of the pontoon-train and fascines of straw and cane for bridging canals.

Strong field-works were constructed for the heavy guns and for the field-guns, some of them masked on the road within one hundred and fifty yards of the enemy's line. These preparations were completed on the twentieth. The assailable points in our front were very few. Almost every fort was covered deep by artificial ponds from the irrigating canals, behind which, and upon the approaches, were strong earthworks for artillery, connected throughout by rifle-pits well constructed. The confidence of the troops in carrying these works was, however, perfect and earnest.

During the day of the twentieth, the fire from the enemy's works and gunboats was unusually heavy and continuous. Reports from Carman's brigade indicated that large columns were crossing to the Carolina shore, either to cover their only line of communication, or preparatory to a final evacuation of the city. In the night, General Geary reportedly to me, that the movements across the river were apparently still going on. Division commanders were instructed to keep on the alert and press their pickets closer to the rebel works; but the enemy, intending to abandon his heavy guns, kept up a fire until the moment of quitting their defences.

At half-past 3 o'clock on the morning of the twenty-first, Geary reported that Barnum's brigade wa in the rebel main line. Orders were sent him and General Ward to advance the picket-lines and follow with their divisions into the city.

By six o'clock A. M., Geary's division, without opposition, had entered the city. Patrols were sent out to preserve order. Two regiments were ordered to occupy Fort Jackson and other works below the city. General Geary was temporarily assigned to command of the post, and his division placed within the city. The retreating rebels had disconnected the pontoon-bridge to Hutchinson's Island, and set fire to that connecting with the Carolina shore. The ram Savannah still lay off Seriven's Ferry, two miles or so away, and occasionally fired a shot toward the town. She was evidently covering the removal of supplies up the causeway road. There were no means of reaching her; and our guns, though well served, plainly did her no damage. At night she was destroyed as had been all the other rebel pubic vessels the day previous.

The troops of the corps, while in front of the rebel works, suffered a number of casualties. Amongst those killed, was Lieutenant C. A. Ahruts, One. Hundred and Thirty-fourth New-York volunteers, assistant to Lieutenant-Colonel Asmussen, Inspector-General of the corps — an excellent and faithful young officer. Amongst the severely wounded was Colonel John H. Ketcham, One Hundred and Fiftieth New-York volunteers, an officer of superior intelligence and worth. Major Wright, Twenty-ninth Ohio volunteers, an excellent officer, also received a painful wound.

I append hereto a series of campaign maps, prepared by Captain McDowell, Chief Topographical [33] Engineer for the corps, showing the positions of the several divisions at each camp during the march from Atlanta to Savannah. These positions were laid down and the notes accompanying the maps kept by Lieutenant-Colonel Asmussen, Inspector-General of the corps. The faithful and skilful manner in which this work is done, presents a complete and accurate view of the daily marches of the corps. Tabular statement marked A, shows the casualties of the corps by divisions during the campaign — an aggregate of twelve killed, eighty-eight wounded, one hundred and sixty-five missiles. Of the missing, the greater part were from stragglers and small parties of foragers captured. Some few were deserting “bounty-jumpers,” who had reached us just before marching from Atlanta.

In the case of Captain Reid, One Hundred and Seventh New-York volunteers, missing with a detail of forty-three men, foraging, I have ordered a special report of the statements made by a rebel cavalry officer who was of the capturing party. If these statements are true, Captain Reid behaved in a most shameful and cowardly manner, and should be dismissed in disgrace. As both officer and men are still prisoners of war, no proper investigation can now be made.

We captured on the march and before Savannah, thirty officers, (thirteen of whom were naval,) one hundred and thirty-five privates, and fourteen seamen. One hundred and twenty-two deserters came into our ranks. A tabular statement and list of officers captured, prepared by Major Parks, Provost-Marshal, is attached hereto, marked B.

A very considerable number of prisoners were taken on entering the city; all of whom are in the hands of the post commandant, and will be the subject of report by him.

I make the following estimates of public property destroyed and supplies taken from the country, upon information from commanders and staff-officers, approved by my own observation and judgment:

Miles marched by the troops,305
Miles trains moved, as per odometer,28135/100
Miles of railroad destroyed,71

Beside railroad destroyed, more than a million feet of timber for the largest sized bridges, and thousands of cords of wood were burned.

number of animals taken from country.

Horses reported by Captain Whittelsey, Chief Quartermaster,410 
Horses reported by Major Reynolds, Chief of Artillery,40 
Horses put into teams and not reported, estimated,150 
Mules reported by Captain Whittelsey,1,020 
Mules reported by Major Reynolds,100 
Mules put into trains in exchange for poor animals and never reported, estimated,600 
Total animals,2,320


By Captain Whittelsey's Report:  
 Corn taken en route,lbs.1,227,984
 Corn taken east of Atlanta,lbs.1,932,468
By Major Reynolds's Report,lbs.130,000
Pounds corn, 3,290,452
By Captain Whittelsey's Report:  
 Fodder taken en route,lbs.1,091,619
 Fodder taken near Atlanta,lbs.138,200
Pounds fodder, 1,229,819

rice, fodder.

By Captain Whittelsey's Report,lbs.550,694
By Major Reynolds's Report,lbs.20,000
Pounds rice fodder, 570,694

There was with the corps an average of over seven thousand (7000) animals.

At the regulation allowance, these animals would have consumed in twenty-five days, 2,100,000 pounds of corn, and 2,450,000 pounds of hay or fodder.

I estimate that at least this quantity was taken from the country on the march, and exclusive of that taken before marching from Atlanta. Upon this basis, estimates made on actual returns to Captain Whittelsey and Major Reynolds, will be increased over seven hundred thousand (700,000) pounds of corn and eight hundred thousand pounds of fodder. The waste of this, as other articles, was enormous.

Subsistence taken from country, as per report of Lieutenant-Colonel Ballock, Chief Commissary of Subsistence:

Fresh Beef,lbs.400,000
Fresh Beef and Mutton,lbs.150,000
Sweet Potatoes,bush.6,500
Sorghum Syrup,galls.4,000

Of the quantities of turkeys, geese, ducks, and poultry of all kinds taken, no approximate estimate can be made. For at least two hundred miles of our route, these articles were in great abundance, and were used lavishly and wastefully. So of the other articles above mentioned, it would be safe to say that the amount might be doubled for waste and for the subsistence of the thousands of refugee slaves who followed our march.


I estimate the quantity of cotton burned by the corps at five thousand (5000) bales, or two and a half million pounds. The estimate is probably low, as our line of march was through some of the best cotton-growing portions of Georgia, and we swept, with our foragers and flankers, a belt of six to eight miles in width of all the cotton and most of the gins and presses. No large accumulations were found except at Milledgeville, reported one thousand eight hundred bales bonded by order of General Sherman; near Sandersville, [34] where — about one hundred bales were destroyed; at Lee Gordon's plantation, two hundred and eighty bales destroyed by General Geary; and at Tennille Station, on Central Railroad, where between three and four hundred bales were burned. Other lots, ranging from ten to thirty bales were frequently found.

fugitive slaves.

Negroes of all ages, of every variety of physical condition, from the infant in its mother's arms to the decrepid old man, joined the column, from plantations and from cross-roads, singly and in large groups, on foot, on horseback, and in every description of vehicles. The vehicles were discarded as obstructing the progress of our very long column. Beyond this, no effort was made to drive away the fugitives. The decrepid, the aged, and the feeble were told of the long journey before them, and advised to remain behind.

I estimate that from six to eight thousand slaves, at different points in the campaign, joined the march of this corps, of whom something over two thousand five hundred reached our camp before Savannah.

About one thousand seven hundred, of whom one third were able-bodied, were, on account of scarcity of subsistence, placed in colony at the Colerain plantation, on the Savannah River, and plentifully supplied with rice, and occasionally with beef. The able-bodied men were employed in transporting rice from the islands and in working rice-mills. When communication was opened by way of the Ogeechee, the whole colony was turned over to the Chief Quartermaster and Chief Commissary. Four to five hundred (not of the colony) found employment as officers' servants and teamsters for the Government.

ordnance and ordnance stores destroyed in Milledgeville, per report of Colonel Hawley, commanding post:

Muskets, calibre 69,2,300
Accoutrements, sets,300
Ammunition, calibre 69, rounds,10,000
Ammunition, fixed artillery, boxes,170
Ammunition, kegs powder,200

Destroyed in Milledgeville, by Lieutenant Shepherd, Ordnance Officer Artillery, as per report of Major Reynolds, Chief of Artillery:

Rounds fixed ammunition, artillery,3,500
Rounds fixed ammunition, infantry,20,000
Boxes Sharp's Primers,2
Pounds of powder,2,000

Major Reynolds reports the number of guns, of all calibres, found in and around Savannah in works first taken possession of by the Twentieth corps, at eighty-nine. Of these, twenty-three, of calibre from six-pounder smooth bore to forty-two pounder carronades, were found in position in front of the line occupied by the corps before Savannah. Major Reynolds's report, forwarded herewith, will furnish details. On entering the city, General Geary took possession of a large quantity of ordnance stores and material of war, details of which will be found in his report to these headquarters. They are not recapitulated, as the Chief Ordnance officer has doubtless already received schedules of them.

Notwithstanding repeated instances of wanton pillage occurred on the march, the general conduct of the men was orderly, contented, and faithful to duty. The nature of the march was calculated to relax discipline ; and yet, after all, it was comparatively but the few (ever found in large bodies of men) who were disorderly and vicious. The labor, especially of those in guard of the trains, was very arduous, often extending through the night.

I calculate our average daily marches for each marching day, exceeded thirteen miles. Two of the divisions rested but one entire day without marching.

The division commanders deserve my cordial acknowledgments for zealous, cheerful, and intelligent cooperation at all times. I desire, also, to acknowledge the valuable services of Major Yates, and the officers and men of the First Michigan engineers and mechanics, who, while temporarily attached to the corps, were indefatigable as well as skilful, in assisting in the destruction of railroads, in constructing bridges, and repairing roads.

From the length of the column, often from twelve to fifteen miles, the duties which fell upon several officers of the staff were often very laborious and fatiguing, but were always executed with cheerfulness and zeal. I desire in an especial report, hereafter, to bring to the notice of the Major-General Commanding, and, through him, to the Government, the names of such of these officers whose meritorious services on this and previous campaigns entitle them, I think, to promotion.

I forward, herewith, the reports of division commanders, and such subordinate reports as have been received; also, reports and statements of staff-officers, covering estimates of property destroyed and supplies taken from the country.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. S. Williams, Brigadier-General Commanding.

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