I therefore ordered General Slocum to get into position the siege guns, and make all the preparations necessary to assault, and to report to me the earliest moment when he could be ready, whilest I should proceed rapidly round by the right, and make arrangements to occupy the Union Causeway from the direction of Port Royal. General Foster had already established a division of troops on the peninsula or neck between the Coosawhatchie and Tullifinny Rivers, at the head of Broad River, from which position he could reach the railroad with his artillery. I went to Port Royal in person, and made arrangements to re-enforce that command by one or more divisions, under a proper officer, to assault and carry the railroad, and thence turn toward Savannah until it occupied the causeway in question. I went on board the admiral's flag-ship, the Harvest Moon, which put to sea the night of the 20th. But the wind was high, and increased during the night, so that the pilot judged Ossabaw Bar impassable, and ran into Tybee, whence we proceeded through the inland channels into Wassaw Sound, and thence through Romney Marsh. But the ebb tide caught the Harvest Moon and she was unable to make the passage. Admiral Dahlgren took me in his barge, and pulling in the direction of Vernon River we met the army tug Red Legs, bearing a message from my adjutant, Captain Dayton, of that morning, the 21st, to the effect that our troops were in possession of the enemy's lines, and were advancing without opposition into Savannah, the enemy having evacuated the place during the previous night.
Admiral Dahlgren proceeded up the Vernon River in his barge, while I transferred to the tug, in which I proceeded to Fort McAllister, and thence to the rice mill, and on the morning of the 22nd rode into the city of Savannah, already occupied by our troops.
I was very much disappointed that Hardee had escaped with his garrison, and had to content myself with the material fruits of victory without the cost of life which would have attended a general assault. The substantial results will be more clearly set forth in the tabular statements of heavy ordnance and other public property acquired. And it will suffice here to state that the important city of Savannah, with its valuable harbor and river, was the chief object of the campaign. With it we acquire all the forts and heavy ordnance in its vicinity, with large stores of ammunition, shot and shells, cotton, rice, and other valuable products of the country. We also gain locomotives and cars, which, though of little use to us in the present condition of the railroads, are a serious loss to the enemy; as well as four steam-boats gained, and the loss to the enemy of the iron-clad Savannah, one ram, and three transports, blown up or burned by them the night before.
Formal demand having been made for the surrender, and having been refused, I contend that everything within the line of intrenchments belongs to the United States, and I shall not hesitate to use it, if necessary, for public purposes. But inasmuch as the inhabitants generally have manifested a friendly disposition, I shall disturb them as little as possible consistently with the military rights of present and future military commanders, without remitting in the least our just rights as captors.
After having made the necessary orders for the disposition of the troops in and about Savannah, I ordered Captain O. M. Poe, chief engineer, to make a thorough examination of the enemy's works in and about Savannah, with a view to making it conform to our future uses. New lines of defenses will be built, embracing the city proper; Forts Jackson, Thunderbolt, and Pulaski retained, with slight modifications in their