my letter of the 15th of November I mentioned the subject. In my letter of the 27th November I asked for "not exceeding a regiment, " and in a letter of December 14 repeated the request.
From the letters above referred to it may be seen that if we attack Savannah on both sides a very large force will be require. I think the force should be sent, so that we can only meet any emergency and attack in the manner that circumstances will prove to be the best, but so that we can have a force large enough to follow up rapidly our success.
I am trying to open Wall's Cut, and, if successful, the Navy, I think, will be able to throw gunboats in to Savannah River, and we to erect batteries on some of its island, cut off Fort Pulaski, shell Fort Jackson, and afterwards the city, without the slow and expensive process of first bombarding Pulaski.
The north sided of Savannah will also have to be looked to, and I propose taking possession of that district of country as soon as I can get some cavalry and more light artillery.
But should we be not successful in getting into Savannah River, the siege of Savannah will be imperative in order to take it. This will require extensive operations from Ossabaw Sound in addition to those north of Savannah Rider. I have made all the necessary estimates for the operation.
The actual force under my command is 14,768, rank and file, including about 600 in Saint Helena Sound, 3,000 on Port Island, 200 at Fort Seward, 1,400 at Tybee, leaving about 9,500 on hand and Hilton Head. I calculate to have available for the field out this force, say 9,000 men. These troops are all infantry except one company of light artillery. before a step can be taken towards the enemy's force we should have a full regiment of good cavalry and at least another battery of light artillery.
The number of additional troops need I would estimate at 10,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, one regiment of regular heavy artillery, and one or two light batteries; but, whatever number of infantry, the cavalry is indispensable.
I have just received the latest news from Savannah, which confirms that received the other day, that there are about 20,000 men in and around the city, among which some two or three regiments of cavalry and four batteries of light artillery. Besides the works on Skidaway Island at Thunderbolt and Green Island, and the masonry work of Fort Jackson, the city is being covered with aline of entrenchments.
The force in our immediate front is estimated at about 9,000 men, stationed on the railroad between Savannah River and Pocotaligo, among which are said to be about two regiments of cavalry and two batteries of light artillery, besides some earthworks at various points.
I have the honor to remain, with the highest respect,
T. W. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, A. G. O., Numbers 3. Washington, January 11, 1862.
I. A new military department, to be known as the Department of Key West, is hereby constituted, with the following bounds: Key West, the Tortugas, and main-land on the west coast as far as Apalachicola and to Cape Canaveral of the east coast.