HILTON HEAD, S. C., December 12, 1864.
(Via Fort Monroe 7 p. m. 14th.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: Captain Duncan, of General Howard's scouts, has just come in from Howard's, having descended the Ogeechee River in a small boat. He left the army of the evening of the 9th. General Sherman's whole army was then within ten miles of Savannah, advancing to attack it. The enemy's works, five miles from the city, were probably attacked yesterday, as heavy firing was heard in that direction. Captain Duncan represents the army to be in the best spirits possible and most excellent condition. Very little opposition had been met with on the march, as the enemy could not tell what routes were to be taken. The army has lived off the country, and has accumulated considerable number of horses, mules, and cattle; it was also well supplied. I am going to the Ogeechee River to open communication with General Sherman. My small force is now in position between the Coosawhatchie and Tullifinny Rivers, within 1,200 yards of the railroad, which our batteries command. Only one train has been able to steal past since our batteries were in position. I will send further dispatch as soon as I meet General Sherman.
The following is a copy of the dispatch brought by Captain Duncan:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Savannah Canal, GA., December 9, 1864.
COMMANDING OFFICER U. S. NAVAL FORCE, IN VICINITY OF SAVANNAH, GA.:
SIR: We have met with success thus far. Troops in fine spirits, and near by.
O. O. HOWARD,
Major-General, Commanding Right Wing of Army.
Another dispatch was brought by Captain Duncan directed to the signal officer of the fleet, from General Howard's chief signal officer, requesting a good lookout to be kept for signals. *
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
HDQRS. NORTHERN DISTRICT, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Morris Island, S. C., December 12, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel A. G. BENNETT,
Commanding Post, Morris Island, S. C.:
COLONEL: I am directed by the brigadier-General commanding to inform you that a movement of the enemy on the northern shore of Charleston Harbor has been reported to these headquarters. You will caution commanders of forts and outposts to be vigilant and watchful. In case of any attack the General's instructions are that artillery fire shall be opened at once. Lieutenant-General Mulford will send ashore from the flag-of-truce boat to-morrow morning fifteen more dead bodies for burial. You will, therefore, cause coffins for that number to be made to-night; also, thirty additional ones to be sent to Colonel Mul-
* See p. 669.