As to the "lion" in our path, we never met him. The affair at Griswoldville, where one brigade of infantry was engaged, and Kilpatrick's punishment of Wheeler, were the only things on the march like a fight.
The city is perfectly quiet ever since we came in. The first thing our troops had to do was to stop the riots and plundering which the lower classes begun as soon as Hardee's rear crossed the river. The white people here are the worst whipped and subjugated you ever saw, and the negroes are having their "jubilee" and calling in crowds to see "Mr. Sherman. "
December 24. -I have just received a letter from General Grant, giving a detail of General Thomas' operations up to the 18th, and I am gratified beyond measure at the result. Show this letter to General Thomas, and tell him to consider it addressed to him, as I have not time to write more now. I want General Thomas to follow Hood to and beyond the Tennessee, and not to hesitate to go on as far as Columbus, Miss., or Selma, Ala., as I know that he will have no trouble whatever in subsisting his army anywhere below Sand Mountain and along the Black Warrior. In the poorest part of Georgia I found no trouble in subsisting my army and animals, some of my corps not issuing but one day's bread from Atlanta to Savannah. Keep me fully advised by telegraph, via New York, of the situation of affairs in Tennessee. I will be here probably for ten days longer, and in communication for a longer time.
I am, very truly, yours,
W. T. SHERMAN,
SPECIAL HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, FIELD ORDERS, In the Field, Savannah, GA., NO. 139.
December 23, 1864.
Savannah, being now in our possession, and the river partially cleared out, and measures having been taken to remove all obstructions, will at once be made a grand depot for future operations.
I. The chief quartermaster, General Easton, will, after giving, the necessary order touching the transport in Ogeechee River and Ossabaw Sound, come in person to Savannah and take possession of all public buildings, all vacant store-rooms, warehouses, &c., that may be now or hereafter needed for any department of the army. No rents will be paid by the Government of the United States during the war, and all buildings must be distributed according to the accustomed rules of the quartermaster's department, as though they were public property.
II. The chief commissary of subsistence, Colonel A. Beckwith, will transfer the grand depot of the army to the city of Savannah, secure possession of the needful buildings and offices, and give the necessary orders, to the end that the army may be supplied abundantly and well.
III. The chief engineer, Captain Poe, will at once direct which of the enemy's forts are to be retained for our use and which dismantled and destroyed; and the chief ordnance officer, Captain Baylor, will, in like manner, take possession of all property pertaining to this department captured from the enemy and cause the same to be collected and carried to points of security. All the heavy sea-coast guns will dismounted and carried to Fort Pulaski.