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December 10.

The entire command closed in on the enemy's works which covered Savannah. General Osterhaus with the right column, consisting of General Corse's division, followed by General Hazen on the King's Bridge road, the central column, consisting of General John E. Smith's division, followed by General Woods, and the left, General Blair's corps, Major-General Mower's division in advance. These several columns struck the enemy's line simultaneously with the left wing of the army. The nature of the country was such as to render the approaches to that front extremely difficult. By means of the canal and the Little Ogeechee River he was able to flood the country; besides the great portion of the front was marshy with a deep stream winding through it under the cover of numerous batteries of the enemy. Pursuant to Special Field Order No. 130, from your headquarters, the army of the Tennessee simply gained ground to the right.

With regard to opening communication with the fleet, the Engineer Department under direction of Captain C. B. Reese, Chief-Engineer, was instructed to rebuild King's Bridge, which was effected by the morning of the thirteenth.

The work was a remarkable one, being completed in about two days time, considering that there was little left of the old bridge, except the posts. This bridge measured a thousand feet in length.

The General-in-Chief, in the above order, had directed General Kilpatrick to aid me in opening communication with the fleet. I therefore sent him across the pontoon-bridges, near Fort Argyle, to reconnoitre Fort McAllister and the inlets in that vicinity, and, if practicable, to take the Fort. General Sherman himself subsequently modified these directions, ordering Kilpatrick not to assault the works. General Hazen, of the Fifteenth corps, was directed to hold his division in readiness to cross King's Bridge the moment it was completed, and take Fort McAllister.

General Kilpatrick made his reconnoissance on the twelfth, drove in the outposts at McAllister, and reported the Fort defended by a garrison of some two hundred men with several heavy guns, bearing on the land approaches.

The morning of the thirteenth, I accompanied General Sherman to Doctor Cheves's Rice-Mill, where we had McAllister full in view. At the rice-mill a section of De Grase's battery was firing occasionally at the Fort opposite, three miles and a half distant, as a diversion, having for its principal object, however, to attract the attention of the fleet.

During the day we watched the Fort and the bay, endeavoring to catch glimpses of the division moving upon the work, and of vessels belonging to the fleet.

About mid-day the rebel artillery at McAllister opened inland hiring occasionally from three or four different guns, and by our glasses we could observe Hazen's skirmishers firing on the Fort; about the same time a movable smoke, like that from a steamer, attracted our attention near the mouth of the Ogeechee.

Signal communication was established with General Hazen, who gave us notice that he had invested the Fort, and also that he observed the steamer.

General Sherman signalled him from the top of the old Rice-Mill, that it was important to carry the Fort by assault to-day.

The steamer had now approached near enough to draw the fire of the Fort, when her signal-flag was described. Captain McClintock, aided by Lieutenant Sampson, Signal Officers, speedily communicated with the vessel, which proved to be a tug, sent by General Foster and Admiral Dahlgren, for the purpose of communicating with us.

Just as the signal officer of the stealer inquired if McAllister was ours, we noticed a brisker fire at the Fort, and our flags and men passing the abattis, through tile ditch and over the parapet, and then we saw the men fire upward in the air, and could distinctly hear their cheer of triumph as they took posession of the Fort. It was a gallant assault. General Hazen lost in killed and wounded about ninety men. Of the garrison, between forty and fifty killed and wounded, and the rest captured. There were twenty-two guns of various descriptions, and a large quantity of ammunition captured in the Fort.

That night I accompanied General Sherman in a small boat on a visit to General Hazen, to the Fort, and thence down the river to the steamer. Here we learned that Captain Duncan and the two scouts that I had sent down the Ogeechee, on arriving at the Savannah Canal, had succeeded in passing all obstructions, and reached the fleet, and communicated with Admiral Dahlgren. Until [17] now I had been uncertain as to the fate of the party.

After the General had written several despatches, we returned to General Hazen's quarters, feeling that our expedition had been completely successful, our supplies sure, and the possession of Savannah not far distant. It having been intimated that our future plans would be modified by specific instructions from the Commander-in-Chief, General Sherman and his officers became anxious to crown our success by the capture of Savannah. In order to accomplish this, every exertion was made; heavy guns were brought from Hilton Head and McAllister, and placed in position; the lines were worked up closer to the enemy along the dikes; good batteries constructed for small guns, and every part of the front of General Osterhaus and General Blair thoroughly reconnoitred; light bridges were constructed and fascines made so as to span the streams and fill up the ditches; in brief, every possible preparation was made to assault the enemy's works. The same was the case along General Slocum's front.

Two, at least, of my division commanders felt perfectly confident of success, in case the assault should be made.

While these preparations were going on, the General-in-Chief, having demanded the surrender of Savannah on the eighteenth instant, and having been refused, had gone to the fleet, in order to secure cooperation from the Admiral and General Foster, in the contemplated attack. He left directions to get ready, but not to strike till his return.

The morning of the twenty-first, about sunrise, Brigadier-General Leggett reported, that the enemy had evacuated his front. Soon the same report came from General Slocum, and from other officers. General Slocum moved at once and took possession of Savannah, the enemy having with-drawn to the South-Carolina shore. He had abandoned heavy guns in all the works on my front, in town, and at the different forts on the coast.

Until now, our depot had been at King's Bridge, where the army had built a good wharf, and corduroyed the main road thereto from our front, for the most of the way. Besides, the railroad between the Ogeechee and the Altamaba was completely destroyed, Brigadier-General Hazen, having the eastern, and Major-General Mower the western half. This work was completely done, as directed in Special Field Orders No. 133, from your headquarters. I have only attempted to touch upon the work really accomplished by the right wing of the army, and have purposely abstained from discussing the contemplated objects of the campaign. The former is best told in the accompanying statistical record, and the latter are already evinced in the growing confidence of our army in a speedy and complete success.

I wish to acknowledge my obligations to Major-General Osterhaus, commanding Fifteenth corps, for his great activity and energy displayed during the entire campaign. To Major-General Blair, commanding Seventeenth corps, I feel specially indebted for his hearty cooperation at all times, and for his successful accomplishment of the work allotted to his command.

I here name again the division commanders, Major-General J. A. Mower, Brigadier-General Woods, Brigadier-General John E. Smith. Brigadier-General Leggett, Brigadier-General W. B. Hazen, Brigadier-General J. M. Corse, Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith.

I cannot express too high commendation of these officers, who have worked vigorously early and late without flagging, to keep their command in order to accomplish the marches, to bridge creeks and rivers, to fight battles, destroy rail-roads, in short, who were ready without question or hesitation to set on foot and carry through the varied labors given into their charge.

I wish further to tender to brigade commanders and to other officers and soldiers of this army something of the deep sense of obligation I feel toward them, and commend them to the Commander-in-Chief, and through him to the country, for cheerfulness, for constancy, for ability, and for distinguished gallantry. Much praise is due Lieutenant-Colonel William Tweedale, for the aid he afforded the Chief-Engineer in building wagon and foot-bridges across the rivers that we met.

I tender my thanks to Admiral Dahlgren and Major-General Foster for their courtesy, and the assistance they rendered me in the operations near Savannah.

I wish to bring before the Commander-in-Chief the names of my staff, who so materially gave me assistance during the campaign. Lieutenant-Colonel William E. Strong, Assistant Inspector-General and Chief of Staff, ever afforded me the most cheerful and ready assistance. He always accompanied one or the other of the columns en route, and used every exertion to have my orders carried out to the letter and spirit. Captain S. L. Taggart, Assistant Adjutant-General, aided by Captain W. Bedford, were never too weary to issue clear and distinct orders after the day's march, and otherwise constantly afforded me aid in bearing despatches.

Captain C. B. Reese, Chief-Engineer, with the assistance of Lieutenant Stickney, have always received my warm commendations for their untiring activity, both in engineering and topograhical duty. He collated information with regard to different roads, furnished me good maps, when needed, and superintended the laying of pontoons, and the rebuilding of bridges over rivers and creeks in our route.

Major T. W. Osborne, Chief of Artillery, aided by Major M. Woodhull, Assistant Adjutant-General, and Lieutenant W. N. Taylor, A. D. C., were constant in their exertions to mobilize the artillery, and keep the animals and materials in perfect order. Major Osborne always ably assisted me in using the artillery on the field, and I always found him and his officers able and hearty cooperators, frequently giving me material aid not connected with that special department. [18] Whenever an opportunity has afforded, our batteries have been located, intrenched, and handled in the most skilful manner. Quite brisk artillery duels transpired after our investment of Savannah, where my attention was particularly called to the artillery of the command, and when I have had occasion to admire the skill and bravery of its officers and men.

Major E. Whittlesey, Judge-Advocate of the department, has afforded me substantial aid by carefully revising all the courts-martial and records of military commissions, beside doing ably other important duties connected with different departments of the service.

Captain D. H. Buell, Chief of Ordnance, receives my commendations for his carefulness in regulating the ordnance supplies in such manner as to occasion me no trouble or anxiety.

Captain E. P. Pearson, Jr., Commissary of Musters, assisted me heartily, in various ways, during the campaign, and always has performed the duties of his department with fidelity and the clearest apprehension of its requirements.

My Chief Quartermaster, Colonel J. T. Conklin, has performed cheerfully all the duties devolving upon him, omitting no exertion to secure animals and forage as needed. My Chief Commissary, Lieutenant-Colonel David Remick, has anticipated the wants of the command, and regulated the supply in such manner that no real want has been felt by any soldier of this army during our lengthy campaign. I commend him for cheerfulness, fidelity, and ability in discharging the duties of his department.

Captain D. W. Whittle, Assistant Provost-Marshal General, receives my hearty approbation for his activity in discharging the public duties of his department; for his careful record and disposition of prisoners, and for his unremitting attention to the comfort and interest of myself and staff, while acting in his capacity of Commandant of Headquarters.

No department of this army has been better conducted on this campaign than the Medical. To Assistant-Surgeon D. L. Huntington, Acting Medical Director, is due great praise for his diligence and eminent success. To him and to Dr. Duncan, the staff surgeons, the officers and soldiers at headquarters of the army are indebted for all the medical aid they require.

Major C. H. Howard, Senior Aid-de-Camp, is commended for his diligence in causing my orders to be executed; in bearing despatches by perilous and distant routes; and for affording me the sympathy and moral support of one who identifies himself completely with the interests of the service.

Captain W. M. Beebe, Acting Aid-de-Camp, receives my thanks for his generous assistance, being ever anxious to undergo any risk or perform a gallant action.

Captain F. W. Gilbreth, Aid-de-Camp, is always at the post of duty, and has spared no pains to carry my orders promptly, and see them executed.

Lieutenant E. Blake, Staff Quartermaster and Commissary of Subsistence, has shown himself remarkably efficient, and has often received my special thanks.

Captain E. H. Kirlin, Chief of Scouts, has carefully reconnoitred the country, through Captain William Duncan and the other scouts, and kept me well advised of the movements of the enemy.

Lieutenant J. A. Gladen has cherfully aided me, writing at my dictation, bearing despatches, and keeping important records.

My recommendations for the promotion of general and staff officers have already been for-warded, and will be found separate, in duplicate, accompanying this report.

The General-in-Chief has been enabled, under a providential care not to be mistaken, to conduct our noble army, thus far, to results that one year ago seemed scarcely possible of attainment.

He has secured our complete confidence, and therefore it may not be improper for me to express the faith that it is our mission, under his direction, to give the finishing blow to this hated rebellion.

Please find accompanying this, a statistical record for the campaigns.


O. O. Howard, Major-General.

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