Numbers 45. Report of Brigadier General Mortimer D. Leggett, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division. HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Savannah, Ga., December 31, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following as a report of the part taken by my division in the late campaign from Atlanta to this place:
We started from Atlanta, with the balance of the command, on the 15th day of November, with fourteenth days' rations of hard bread and twenty days' of sugar, coffee, and salt, and 190 rounds of ammunition to the man. Before starting from Atlanta I organized foraging parties in each regiment, having one forager for every twenty men and an officer for each regiment. My orders required to be selected men who wee distinguished for their physical ability for marching, their personal bravery, and for their physical ability for marching, their personal bravery, and for strict obedience of orders. With a single exception, I heard of no misconduct upon the part of these foragers. They distinguished themselves for their industry and orderly conduct. Although it was thirty-four days from the time we started from Atlanta before receiving any provisions of any kind from the fleet, yet they kept the command well supplied; neither the men nor the animals ever lived better. The foraging parties were frequently obliged to go a considerable distance from our line of march, yet but five men of all the foragers were captured by the enemy during the expedition. With the exception of occasional very unimportant skirmishes, my command was not engaged with the enemy until we struck the defenses about Savannah. Our march was one of the most pleasant ever participated in by this division, for, although we had considerable very bad road, requiring the building of a large amount of corduroy, and often heavy details to assist the transportation, and completely destroying twenty-three miles of the Georgia Central Railroad, and destroying all the bridges and culverts of nine miles more, yet the men endured all without a single murmur or complaint, and constantly exhibited an exuberance and hilarity of spirit more indicative of a festive excursion than an exposed and fatiguing campaign.
On the 10th of December we struck the enemy's works about Savannah, and my division was placed in position on the south side of the Georgia Central Railroad, where we immediately constructed works, but on the 11th we were relieved by the Fourteenth Corps and took position about one mile farther to the right. On the 12th we were moved still farther to the right, and placed in position immediately on the left of what is known as the plank road. This position we found very much exposed, the ground being very level and the enemy's batteries covering the whole position. We immediately constructed works for the protection of the men and erected batteries to operate upon the enemy. The intervention of a rice field, deeply flooded with water, prevented our using infantry to advantage. We at once commenced building bridges and collecting boats to facilitate our approach to the enemy's line, and were ready to charge the enemy's works, and awaiting orders to advance, when, about 4 o'clock on the morning of December 21, we discovered the enemy were evacuating. I immediately advanced, but having much farther to march reached Savannah about ten minutes after the advance of the Left Wing had entered the city from another direction.