War of the Rebellion: Serial 092 Page 0842 OPERATIONS IN S. C., GA., AND FLA. Chapter LVI.

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HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

In the Field, Savannah, GA., December 31, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: The steamer leaves with the mail this afternoon at 5 p. m. I write only to say that since my last to you there is nothing of importance to communicate. The city is perfectly quiet and orderly. The enemy appear to be making preparations to receive us over in South Carolina. As soon as I can accumulate a sufficient surplus of forage and provisions to load my wagons, I shall be ready to start. We find the Savannah River more obstructed than we expected. It is filled with crib-works loaded with paving stones, making mud islands, with narrow, tortuous, and difficult channels. All our stores have to be lightened up from the ship anchorage about Tybee. I have been engaged in reviewing my troops, and feel a just pride in their fine soldierly condition and perfect equipment. I propose at once to make lodgments in South Carolina, about Port Royal, opposite this city, and up about Sister's Ferry. When all is ready I can feign at one or more places and cross at the other, after which my movements will be governed by those of the enemy, and such instructions as I may receive from Lieutenant-General Grant before starting. I do not think I can employ better strategy than I have hitherto done, namely, make a good ready and then move rapidly to my objective, avoiding a battle at points where I would be encumbered by wounded, but striking boldly and quickly when my objective is reached. I will give due heed and encouragement to all peace movements, but conduct war as though it could only terminate with the destruction of the enemy and the occupation of all his strategic points. The Weather is fine, the air cool and bracing, and my experience in this latitude convinces me that I may safely depend on two good months for field-work. I await your and General Grant's answers to my proposed plan of operations before taking any steps indicative of future movements. I should like to receive, before starting, the detachments left behind in Tennessee belonging to these four corps, and it would be eminently proper that General Foster should be re-enforced by about 5,000 men, to enable him to hold Savannah without calling upon me to leave him one of my old divisions, which is too valuable in the field to be left behind in garrison. I would also deem it wise, so far to respect the prejudices of the people of Savannah, as not to garrison the place with negro troops. It seems a perfect bug-bear to them, and I know that all people are more influenced by prejudice than by reason. The army continues in the best of health and spirits, and, notwithstanding the habits begotten during our rather vandalic march, its behavior in Savannah has excited the wonder and admiration of all.

I am, with great respect, very truly, yours,

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, Commanding, &c.

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

In the Field, Savannah, GA., December 31, 1864.

Admiral D. D. PORTER,

Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron:

DEAR ADMIRAL: Captain Breese has this moment arrived with your letter of December 29, and I assure you it does my heart good to