to inflict any serious damage. A section of Battery H, First Missouri Artillery, opened from an advanced position near the Savannah road, covered only by some trees. It caused the rebels to open at once with six guns and great vehemence; so much so, that it was not considered prudent on our side to continue the fire. The troops of the four divisions were before night in the positions assigned to them and encamped just out of range of the enemy's artillery. In pursuance of orders received during the night, the Fifteenth Army Corps was to occupy the ground on the right of the Savannah road, and accordingly in the morning of the 11th of December General Corse shifted to the right and as near the Gulf railroad as the march would permit. Woods occupying ground between Corse's left and the Savannah road. General Hazen camped a cheval of the road about two miles in the rear of the front divisions, and General Smith moved to Station Numbers 1, on the Gulf railroad, pushing his pickets forward on that road and to the right to cover the approaches from the south. These movements were very difficult to execute owing to the rain which had converted the road through the marshy soil into a sea of mud and quagmire. To prevent serious delays hereafter I ordered the pioneers at once to construct a double corduroy track from our front to the rear.
On the 12th of December I sent, on the General's order, a section of 20-pounder Parrotts and the Twenty-seventh Missouri Infantry (General Woods' division) to Cheves' rice mill, to assist in some movement against Fort McAllister; and in the night the division of General Hazen, with Battery H, First Missouri Artillery, and the remaining section of De Gress' 20-pounder Parrotts, were ordered to march very early on the 13th, via King's Bridge, to the aforesaid fort and take it. Fort McAllister was very strong and apparently well garrisoned. General Hazen arrived before it at 2 o'clock, and at 3. 45 p. m. he had completed his arrangements for the assault. They proved to be in keeping with that noble soldier. When the advance sounded the brave men rushed through a line of torpedoes and heavy abatis, jumped into the wide and deep ditch, and climbed in one heroic elan, which secured them the fort after a few minutes' struggle, but not without a heavy loss, mostly occasioned by the explosion of the torpedoes. Twenty-three siege and field guns and 215 men, the entire garrison, were the immediate prize of the capture; but the most important feature of this victory was that it opened communication with the fleet and thus furnished to our armies the necessary supplies, and put beyond doubt the final capture of Savannah, whose garrison and inhabitants were, according to all information, but scantly supplied. The Second Division garrisoned the captured fort. The artillery was ordered back to take a part in the preparation for the contemplated assault on the Ogeechee lines, as General Hardee, the commander of the rebel forces in Savannah, had refused, on December 17, to surrender. Generals Woods and Corse since December 13 had steadily pushed their line forward and were in close proximity to the rebel works. All points which offered a chance for crossing the swamps and the river between our and the rebel works were looked up and most carefully studied; in fact, everything was done to complete our knowledge of the difficult ground before us. I caused a number of substantial batteries to be thrown up. In selecting the sites for these the principal attention was paid to the rebel fort on the Savannah road, where they had a number of heavy siege pieces in position, and which they undoubtedly considered the key of their whole line. The rebels had also a number of batteries