surrender, the 30-ponder Parrotts ordered from Hilton Head having arrived at King's Bridge, to which, on the 18th, he returned a refusal I had now for some days held the three railroads leading out of Savannah, and all other avenues of approach west of the Savannah River, the only other avenue being the Union Causeway, an old wagon road running from the east bank of the Savannah River from the city up toward Hardeeville. To attempt to close this by extending our left across the river would have involved the risk of isolating the troops across a deep river too wide for my pontoon train, and upon which the rebels had two gun-boats (one iron-clad) at the city wharf, with boats to throw their whole force across against them. I determined rather to close this avenue from my right flank; and on the 19th again went down to the fleet and up with the admiral to Port Royal, where, on the 20th, I arranged with General Foster and the admiral for immediately bringing round a sufficient force from the Ogeechee to unite with General Foster's troops, then lying at the head of Broad River for this purpose. High winds and rough Weather delayed my return from Port Royal, and before I had reached Fort McAllister, on the way back, a message met me from General Howard that Hardee had evacuated the city in haste, and our troops had marched in without resistance that morning, the 21st. Two days more and the garrison would have been hemmed in completely; as it is, the campaign ends with the capture of this important city and numerous dependent forts, including, as reported to me, 25,000 bales of cotton, at least 150 guns, many of them 10-inch, immense ordnance stores, 13 locomotives, 190 cars, a pontoon train (boats), &c., and a population of about 20,000, including any quantity of negroes. We have also captured three more boats, one of them a wooden gun-boat, the rebels having blown up their iron-clad Savannah, just below the city, on the night of the 21st.
The Savannah River, though obstructed for the present to large vessels, is open for those drawing six or seven feet, and will, as soon as possible, be cleared for large vessels, thus opening the way for our gun-boats almost, if not quite, to Augusta, and insuring the permanent subdivision of the Confederate by this line, with a new base for operations against Lee's rear.
I forbore to destroy the Georgia Railroad below Station 41/2 (say, forty-five miles from Savannah) on my way down, with a view to use the road ourselves that far after taking the city. After receiving General Grant's dispatches, however, it appeared not impossible that this army might be ordered to the James River by sea, without giving time to insure the fall of Savannah, and I therefore destroyed the railroad for fifteen miles back from the city. The whole number of miles of railroad I have destroyed is about 265-about 60 miles on the Georgia road, from Atlanta to Madison, and 140 miles on the Georgia Central Railroad, from a point, say, ten miles west of Gordon to Savannah, as above, and about 50 miles out from Savannah on the Gulf railroad, and about 15 miles on the Charleston railroad. It would be some time before Jeff. Davis could restore the communications so rudely interrupted, across the heart of his empire, even if we had no objections to make.
You may have shared the concern on our account which the newspapers and our friends on the coast tell us was felt in the States; you know by this time that any such anxieties were groundless. The Weather through our march was perfect, only two days of rain from Atlanta to the outskirts of Savannah; the roads in fine order; forage, pigs, poultry, and sweet potatoes first rate, and abundant; and the men and animals in better order when they reached here than when they started.