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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 44, Part 1 (Savannah)
Page 13 Chapter LVI. THE SAVANNAH CAMPAIGN.

armament and rear defenses; all the rest of the enemy's forts will be dismantled and destroyed, and their heavy ordnance transferred to Hilton Head, where it can be more easily guarded. Our base of supplies will be established in Savannah as son as the very difficult obstructions placed in the river can be partially removed. These obstructions at present offer a very serious impediment to the commerce of Savannah, consisting of crib-work of logs and timber heavily bolted together, and filled with the cobble stones which formerly paved the streets of Savannah. All the channels below the city were found more or less filled with torpedoes, which have been removed by order of Admiral Dahlgren. So that Savannah already fulfills the important part it was designed in our plans for the future.

In thus sketching the course of events connected with this campaign, I have purposely passed lightly over the march from Atlanta to the seashore, because it was made in four or more columns, sometimes at a distance of fifteen or twenty miles from each other, and it was impossible for me to attend but one. Therefore, I have left it to the army and corps commanders to describe in their own language the events which attended the march of their respective columns. These reports are herewith submitted, and I beg to refer to them for further details. I would merely sum up the advantages which I conceive have accrued to us by this march.

Our former labors in North Georgia had demonstrated the truth that no large army, carrying with it the necessary stores and baggage, can overtake and capture an inferior force of the enemy in his own country. Therefore no alternative was left me but the one I adopted-namely, to divide my forces and with the one part act offensively against the enemy's resources, while with the other I should act defensively, and invite the enemy to attack, risking the chances of battle. In this conclusion I have been singularly sustained by the results. General Hood, who, as I have heretofore described, had moved to the westward near Tuscumbia, with a view to decoy me away from Georgia, finding himself mistaken, was forced to choose either to pursue me, or to act offensively against the other part left in Tennessee. He adopted the latter course; and General Thomas has wisely and well fulfilled his part of the grand scheme in drawing Hood well up into Tennessee until he could concentrate all his own troops and then turn upon Hood, as he has done, and destroy or fatally cripple his army. That part of my army is so far removed from me that I leave, with perfect confidence, its management and history to General Thomas.

I was thereby left with a well-appointed army to sever the enemy's only remaining railroad communications eastward and westward, for over 100 miles-namely, the Georgia State Railroad, which is broken up from Fairburn Station to Madison and the Oconee, and the Central Railroad, from Gordon clear to Savannah with numerous breaks on the latter road from Gordon to Eatonton and from Millen to Augusta, and the Savannah Gulf Railroad. We have also consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah, as also the sweet potatoes, cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry, and have carried away more than 10,000 horses and mules, as well as a countless number of their slaves. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia and its military resources at $100,000,000; at least, $20,000,000 of which has inured to our advantage, and the remainder is simple waste and destruction. This may seem a hard species of warfare, but it brings the sad realities of war home to those who have been directly or indirectly instrumental in involving us in its attendant calamities.


Page 13 Chapter LVI. THE SAVANNAH CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 44, Part 1 (Savannah)
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