Now that you are in possession of Savannah, and there can be no further fears about supplies, would it not be possible for you to reopen these avenues of escape for the negroes without interfering with your military operations? Could not such escaped slaves find, at least, a partial supply of food in the rice fields about Savannah, and occupation in the rice and cotton plantations on the coast?
I merely throw out these suggestions; I know that such a course would be approved by the Government, and I believe that a manifestation on your part of a desire to bring the slaves within our lines will do much to silence your opponents.
You will appreciate my motives in writing this private letter.
H. W. HALLECK.
SAVANNAH, GA., December 30, 1864.
Major General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I am instructed by Major-General Sherman to say that he wishes to accumulate at this place as soon as possible sixty days' forage for 35,000 animals. We have to-day but one day's grain on hand and none in the sound or river. I understand there is a ship-load at Hilton Head. I sent a steamer last night to tow the ship to this place, and hope she will be at the bar before we are entirely out. The corps quartermasters are slow in getting in their estimates for supplies. I send you inclosed an estimate of clothing and camp equiPAGE which I require in addition to what you have already sent to Hilton Head and Pensacola. I will be glad to get the clothing mentioned on this estimate as soon as possible. I have sent to Pensacola for the clothing you sent to that point. I will try and send you an estimate of quartermaster's stores by next mail. Supplies should be sent to this place, if possible, in vessels not drawing over thirteen feet water; if larger vessels we sent the freight will have to be trans-shipped to small steamers. We want here very much a light class of steamers and Schuylkill barges for the purpose of removing freight from heavy-draft vessels lying at the roadstead below this place, and communicating from here to Hilton Head, and through other inland passages. I will be glad if you will send me six steamers suitable for this purpose. The class of boats most needed are high-pressure, double-engine boats, of wide beam and very light draft. I desire, also, that you send me twenty Schuylkill barges, six of them to be double-deckers or pleasure barges. The steamers we now have here are not suitable for our purpose, as there is only four feet water at low tide on the bar in the south channel, which we are compelled to use owing to obstructions in the north channel. Admiral Dahlgren reports that these obstructions cannot be removed. I am preparing to give them a trial myself, and hope I will succeed.
I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. C. EASTON,
Brevet Brigadier-General, Chief Quartermaster.
By sending vessels around through Wassaw Sound we can get about thirteen feet water up to this place at high tide. Order forward the sixty days' grain as rapidly as possible.
L. C. EASTON,