Numbers 47. Report of Brigadier General Giles A. Smith, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Division. SAVANNAH, GA., December 31, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report as follows respecting the movement and operations of the Fourth Division, under my command, during the campaign which closed with the occupation of Savannah:
On Saturday, the 12th day of November, 1864, being encamped at Marietta, Ga., in pursuance of orders received from Major-General Blair I proceeded with my command to destroy the portion of the Atlantic and Western Railroad allotted to me, being from Big shanty south to near Kennesaw Mountain; and on Sunday, in pursuance of orders, moved toward Atlanta, which place we reached on the following day, and on Monday [Tuesday], the 15th, started with the remainder of the Seventeenth Army Corps in a southeasterly direction toward Savannah or any other place. The command reached Ocmulgee River on the 18th, crossing in the same night on pontoon bridges, and arrived at Gordon on the 21st ultimo, which was occupied after a short skirmish with the enemy by my advance, the First Alabama Cavalry. On Tuesday, the 22d, I was ordered by Major-General Blair to proceed with my division and Colonel Spencer's First Alabama Cavalry to the railroad bridges across the Oconee, between Stations 14 and 15. The cavalry having the advance drove in the enemy's skirmishes from a stockade about two miles from the bridge. The ground near the bridge being very swampy it could only be approached by the railroad. The enemy were posted behind a second stockade, with infantry and artillery. Colonel Potts, commanding First Brigade, was ordered to detach two regiments and drive them across the river. One piece of artillery from Lieutenant Hurter's First Minnesota Battery was taken down the track by hand to assist. After a short skirmish this was accomplished, and two miles of trestle-work destroyed and about three miles of track, but the enemy could not be dislodged from the opposite side on account of the inaccessibility of the swamp. On the 25th the remainder of the corps reached Ball's Ferry, six miles below, where I rejoined of the corps reached Ball's Ferry, six miles below, where I rejoined them, and the next day crossed the Oconee River on pontoons. On Thursday, December 1, the Ogeechee River was crossed, and the next day the command entered Millen. The next eight days we marched toward Savannah, destroying railroad track and removing obstructions in the roads, and on the 10th of December reached the works of Savannah, forming line across the Georgia Central and Savannah and Charleston railroads, ear their junction, three miles from Savannah. The enemy disputed our advance all day, and we met with some loss in gaining our position. On the night of Tuesday, December 20, the enemy evacuated Savannah, and on the 21st our troops took possession, where we are now encamped.
From Atlanta to Savannah this division marched 300 miles, and thoroughly destroyed twenty-four miles and a half of railroad track, including four miles and a half of the Atlantic and Western Railroad, and two miles of trestle-work.
The pioneer corps, Captain J. H. Davis, Forty-first Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry, commanding, constructed seven miles and 300 feet of corduroy road, built 600 feet of bridging, made 150 fascines, built one fort for guns at Oconee River, cut six miles of wagon roads, and removed fallen timber and obstructions from 600 yards of road.