War of the Rebellion: Serial 092 Page 0742 OPERATIONS IN S. C., GA., AND FLA. Chapter LVI.

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to-day received his answer, refusing. copies of both letters are herewith inclosed. * You will notice that I claim that my lines are within easy cannon range of the heart of Savannah, but General Hardee claims we are four miles and a half distant. But I, myself, have been to the intersection of the Charleston and Georgia Central railroads, and the three-mile post is but a few yards beyond, within the line of our pickets. The enemy has no pickets outside of his fortified line, which is a full quarter of a mile within the three-mile post, and I have the evidence of Mr. R. R. Cuyler, preside of the Georgia Central Railroad, who was a prisoner in our hands, that the mile posts are measured from the Exchange, which is but two squares back from the river. But by to-morrow morning I will have six 30-pounder Parrotts in position, and General Hardee will learn whether I am right or not. From the left of our line, which is on the Savannah River, the spires can be plainly seen, but the country is so densely wooded with pine and live oak, and lies so flat, that we can see nothing from any other part of our lines. General Slocum feels confident that he can make a successful assault at one or two points in front of the Twentieth Corps, and one or two in front of General Davis' (Fourteenth) Corps. But all of General Howard's troops, the Right Wing, lie behind the Little Ogeechee, and I doubt if it can be passed by troop[s in the face of an enemy; still, we can make strong feints, and if I can get a sufficient number of boats I shall make a co-operative demonstration up Vernon river or Wassaw Sound. I should like very much indeed to take Savannah before coming to you; but, as I wrote to you before, I will do nothing rash or hasty, and will embark for the James River as soon as General Easton, who has gone to Port royal for that purpose, reports to me that he has an approximate number of vessels for the transportation of the contemplated force. I fear even this will cost more delay than you anticipate, for already the movement of our transports and the gun-boats has required more time than I had expected. We have had dense fogs, and there are more mud banks in the Ogeechee than were reported, and there are no pilots whatever. Admiral Dahlgren promised to have the channel buoyed and staked, but it is not done yet. We find only six feet water up to King's Bridge at low tide, about ten up to the rice mill, and sixteen to Fort McAllister. All these points may be used by us, and we have a good strong bridge across Ogeechee at King's, by which our wagons can go to Fort McAllister, to which point I am sending the wagons not absolutely necessary for daily use, the negroes, prisoners of war, sick, &c., en route for Port Royal.

In relation to Savannah, you will remark that General Hardee refers to his still being in communication with his War Department. This language he thought would deceive me, but I am confirmed in the belief that the route to which he refers-namely, the Union plank road, on the South Carolina shore-is inadequate to feed his army and the people of Savannah; for General Foster assures me that he has his force on that very road near the head of broad river, and that his guns command the railroad, so that cars no longer run between Charleston and Savannah. we hold this end of the Charleston railroad, and have destroyed it from the three-mile post back to the bridge-about twelve miles. In anticipation of leaving this country I am continuing the destruction of their railroads, and at this moment have two divisions and the cavalry at work breaking up the Gulf railroad from the Ogeechee to the Altamaha; so that even if I do not take Savannah, I will leave it in a bad


*See p. 737.