The Charleston Mercury
December 15, 1864
From Savannah - Fall of Fort McAllister.
We have no very full budget of intelligence from Savannah. SHERMAN seems, for
the present, to have abandoned the direct attack on the city, and appears to
be turning his attention to the reduction of the outworks. We regret to
announce the fall of Fort McAlister. That post was carried early yesterday
morning by assault, in which a heavy column of SHERMAN'S best troops
participated. It is believed that the enemy will next make a desperate effort
to gain possession of Genesis Point. The news given above is perfectly
authentic; but we have heard no details of the assault or of the casualties.
Along the line of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad all continues quiet.
The New York Herald
SHERMAN: HIS NEW CAMPAIGN.
THE PREPARATIONS ALL COMPLETED.
Mr. Oscar G. Sawyer Dispatches.
SAVANNAH, Ga., Jan. 16, 1865.
Preparations for a new movement are nearly completed. In what direction this
movement is t take place, I am unable to say. It will be made public by the
rebels as fast as it is developed, and through their prints the news must be
ARRIVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR.
Hon. Mr. Stanton, accompanied by Major General Meigs, Quartermaster General;
Brigadier General E.D. Townsend, Adjutant General; Surgeon General Barnes, Mr.
Simeon Draper and suite, Mr. Minturn, of New York, and others, arrived here
the early part of last week. They came from the Head in the steamer W.W. Colt,
Captain Crowell, General Foster flagship. General Foster and staff also came
up with the Secretary.
On arriving here the distinguished visitors immediately proceeded to General
Sherman headquarters, where Mr. Stanton remained while here.
The visit of these high officials was, doubtless, intimately connected with
the coming grand campaign and the new relations to the government assumed by
the city of Savannah. Nothing has been made public save a number of promotions
of meritorious officers for gallant conduct in the last as in former
campaigns. The Secretary recognized the claims of a number of officers and
commissioned them at once. Brigadier General Hazen, who commanded the division
of the Fifteenth corps that took Fort McAllister, has been promoted to a
full major general Brigadier General Williams, commanding the Twentieth corps,
was made brevet major general; and General Geary, commanding the Second
division of the same corps, was also brevetted to like rank. Among the brevets
in the Twentieth corps are Colonels Barnum, Pardee, Cogswell, and Colonel
Jones, the latter being made a full brigadier. Colonel Hobart, Twenty-first
Wisconsin, was also promoted. There are a number of others brevetted, whose
names I do not recall, not having a list at hand at present. The promotions
seem to give very general satisfaction. All recognize the wisdom of the choice
of names among so many who are all brave and gallant officers. The starry
constellation never shone to better
December 23, 1864
The New York Herald
SHERMAN.: THE SIEGE OF SAVANNAH.
Our Expeditionary Correspondence.
Fort McAllister, OGEECHEE RIVER, Dec. 16, 1864.
You have already given your readers a detailed narrative of marches,
skirmishes, feints, &c., performed by Sherman command from Atlanta to the
coast; but still there is much which has not been recorded that will interest
THE QUESTION OF SUPPLIES FOR THE CITY.
My last letter closed with the capture of the stronghold that stood like a
lion guarding the entrance to the inner waters of the Ogeechee and the
investment of the doomed city. In it I expressed the opinion that the city
would be held until Sherman grasp upon it had starved out the garrison and the
large number of refugees who fled before him and took refuge within the defenses.
This belief was grounded upon the reports of our scouts and deserters, who
agree that the place is illy provisioned and unable to stand a month siege.
When Sherman was at Millen, threatening Augusta, there were in Savannah but
eight thousand of a garrison, with twenty days rations. At that time all the
roads had been out and every avenue of throwing in supplies closed, except via
the Savannah river. The introduction of fifteen thousand more troops, who must
be fed, will go far towards hastening the time when starvation will be
reached. Foster had covered the railway at Coosawhatchie, so that trains of
supplies could not be sent in from South Carolina, and it is not at all
probable that any considerable amount entered by water from Augusta, as our
cavalry were constantly threatening the river.
THE CITY CLOSED AGAINST REFUGEES.
Another fact confirmatory of this supposition is that the authorities at
Savannah, in view of a siege, closed the city to the admission of Negroes, and
in some instances to the whites. A man must have considerable influence or his
family were forced to remain outside, while the male head was conscripted and
placed in the ditches.
On the large rice plantations about the city we found hundreds of Negroes,
who, when asked why their owners had not run them off, replied that the rebels
refused to allow them to enter the city, and had guards stationed on all the
avenues of entrance.
SPECULATIONS UPON THE FUTURE.
"Should Sherman take Savannah in a few weeks, what will be his next
move?" is a question propounded in my hearing just now, it is one
that is more easily asked than answered, inasmuch as Sherman has no confidants
outside of Grant and the War Department. Nevertheless, to one who has studied
carefully Sherman mode of making and conducting war, his path to victory is
not altogether hid from view. My individual opinion, formed upon a careful
study of the topography of the country, the force to be met, and the results
likely to accrue, is that when Savannah falls, as fall it must ere many weeks,
the campaign, so far from being at an end, as Sherman said when Atlanta
collapsed, have but just commenced."
Thomas, the able co-operator with Sherman, has now so thoroughly crippled the
rash and impetuous Hood that today he cannot muster twenty- five thousand men,
were he to the cradle and the grave, "and place their inhabitants in the
front ranks. Lee has not a man to spare; Bragg has ten thousand stragglers
searching for Sherman away up the river, and probably ten thousand more are
luxuriating about Charleston and Wilmington. Davis cannot by a stamp of his
heel command an army to spring out of the soil. Consequently Sherman grand
army will not have pitted against it twenty thousand men unless Wilmington and
Charleston are abandoned.
With so small a force in his front nothing stands in his way to garrison
Savannah with ten thousand or fifteen thousand, make it a fortress, place his
gunboats on the river, and, with a few hundred marines attack and capture
Augusta, with its foundries and machine shops, laboratories and factories,
destroy the railroads centering there, march a column across to Knoxville, and
down the valley into the rear of Richmond, laying waste the country and
burning the railroads, assail Lee; or, breaking across the Savannah, move
direct upon Charleston and Wilmington, and enable our vessels-of-war to float
through the rivers to the heart of the confederacy.
What his precise route will be no one can safely predict; but it is certain
that the rebel army cannot obtain more men unless they import them, and
against the present force Sherman can raid at will. In view of the whole
situation, it must be apparent that the death throes are upon the rebel
government. A few more well directed blows, such as Sherman has given it in
Georgia and Thomas in Tennessee, and the end will appear.
THE FOOD QUESTION.
Sherman march has fully exploded the common error that the rebellion could be
starved out; that the constant drain upon the white working classes to fill
the armies of the confederacy would leave the ground untilled, and granaries
unfilled. Wherever we moved, from Covington to Savannah, every plantation was
abundantly stocked, and the barns groaned under the corn and wheat that the
fall harvest had produced. Every farm house yard was decorated with sweet
potato pits and corn bins, which were very thoroughly cleared out by the men
in their search for the of life."
If the counties through which Sherman column passed can be taken as a basis
upon which to ground an estimate, the Georgians have furnished enough subsistence
yearly to feed fifty thousand men. Every planter pays tithes to the government
on everything raised - a stipulated amount for every Negro on his plantation.
Sworn statements of the amount produced must be furnished to the officer of
NEGROES MUST PURCHASE THEIR OWN CLOTHES.
So heavy are the taxes that on all plantations the Negroes are compelled to
work extra time to pay the expense of clothing them. On Harris' plantation,
near Covington, an old, gray-headed African informed me that the hands were
worked fourteen hours per day, and sometimes twenty, for a month at a time.
None of them got more than one coarse suit per year, to earn which they must
labor two hours extra every day in the year. They are usually found horribly
clad, nothing to cover their bodies but ragged pantaloons and shirt, with
patches representing all the colors of the rainbow.
"HOW DOES YE GROW `EM?"
An old colored female one day approached the column, and, entering into
conversation, expressed great surprise as to where we all came from.
A wag informed her that old Lincoln had a very productive field away up North,
where he raised them at the rate of a million per year.
Turning up her white eyes in astonishment, she exclaimed: -
"For de Lordsake, you donsay so! How does he grow`em?"
"Oh" was the reply, is very simple. "He gathers up
all the dead rebels from the battle fields, plants them down in Massachusetts;
after a while they begin to, and the moment they see a chicken they make for
it, when Lincoln provost guard catches them and grafts them into the
"Bless ye, say so! And are you `uns dead rebels?"
"No, we used to be, but we now live Yankees. Bishop Polk, who preached
down here in Dixie."
"De debil you are!"exclaimed the excited wench. "And what you
doin'here? Come after Misses Bishop and de children?"
"No, damn the children!"was the profane reply. "I come to
assist in whaling hell out of Jeff Davis."
"Youhab to cotch him fust,"was the quick response; it done gone
"Well, wesee,"said the soldier; a race between us and the devil, and
maybe Old Nick will win the heat."
"Shouldnwonder. Dis nigger doncare neder," remarked the dusky
matron, as she right-wheeled and double-quicked it back to the house.
THE SENTIMENTS OF THE PEOPLE
rarely find utterance, even in the presence of the Yankees. But when they do
speak it is not in vain eulogy of the rebel army and that cause in which they
are engaged. They are broken in spirits, and the haughty secession ladies, who
by force of "and tongue drove their brothers, sons and lovers into the
army, are now as meek as singed kittens, and only too glad to smile upon a
good looking Yankee. They all frankly admit that their cause is hopeless -
that subjugation awaits them in the future, and all they now wish is for the
storm to burst and pass; that peace with them, crushed beneath the Yankee
heel, is preferable to the present state of things.
"Great God!" exclaimed one very intelligent Milledgeville lady,
whose all had been taken, did I think, when I bade my dear boys, who now sleep
in their graves, good by, and packed them off, that this day would come, when
old, impoverished and childless, I must ask the men whom they fought against
for a meal of victuals to satisfy my hunger. But it serves me right; I was
deceived, drove them to battle, death and infamy, and here I stand, their
A RICH FOREIGNER.
Just before starting from Rome I made the acquaintance of a very wealthy
family, named Noble, consisting of the old gentleman, lady, two sons and three
daughters. Noble is an Englishman, who formerly carried on the steam engine
business at Reading, Penn., under the name of Noble & Sons. Vessel owners
will remember the firm well, as many of the best engines still in use bear
their name. Six years ago Noble removed to Rome, Ga., and established himself
in business. Since the war began he has manufactured much of the cannon used
by Hood army and made a mint of money, which the old tycoon was sharp enough
to turn into gold. On evacuating the place he remained in the rebel lines, but
cannot manufacture many more guns, as his ships were burned.
The August Constitutionalist for once told the truth when it declared that
Sherman had his army under excellent discipline, and all pillaging was
severely punished. But three or four cases came under my notice of outrages
committed by the men. One was very properly rebuked.
Captain Wiseman, of General Morgan staff, detected a man stealing the
coverlids from a bed, and ordered him out, when the man seized his gun and
drew it upon the captain, who dexterously drew his sword - a small staff
weapon - and with a well-directed cut severed the ear from his head. That man
will not again steal coverlids.
THE NEWS FROM THOMAS
has sent a thrill of joy through the men of this command, many of whom have so
often followed his lead in the battles from the field of Chicamauga to
Jonesboro. His old corps, especially, that at Chicamauga stood by him as firm
as the rock of Gibraltar, against the columns of the exultant rebels, and
receiving the blows, hurled them back defiantly, never hear his noble name
spoken without recalling memories of the past, and breathing a silent prayer
that the old wheel horse may be spared to see the glorious old flag triumphant
by sea and land. The parting at Atlanta between him and them was a sorrowful
moment; but his victory at Franklin repays them fully. Never will they
disgrace him, nor they have cause to blush at the mention of his name.
ESCAPED PRISONERS COME IN.
A large number of prisoners from rebel jails arrived in during the march. In
their escape the Negroes materially aided them, feeding and hiding them in
cane brakes by day and sending them on by night. At Port Royal I met Captain
Elder, of the First United States artillery, Major Sandford, of the Fifth
Connecticut, and thirteen other officers who escaped from Columbia, South
Carolina, and by following the Santee river, arrived safely at the fleet,
after a perilous journey. They encountered nothing but kindness on the part of
field hands, but never trusted house servants, who are usually treacherous and
I conversed with three men who escaped from a train of cars near Millen, who
report that the guard, who were mostly boy conscripts, advised them to jump
from the train, promising not to fire upon them, declaring that the
confederacy was about gone up when Sherman could trot through Georgia at will.
About two hundred jumped from the train, many of whom arrived in.
The following is the report of the casualties in the Seventieth regiment Ohio
Veteran Volunteer infantry occurring in the charge on Fort McAllister ,
December 13, 1864. . .
THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF A REAR ATTACK.
Some fears have been expressed that Bragg, who, at last advices, was moving
down from Augusta with about ten thousand men gathered for the defense of that
city, will attack Shermanrear on the northeast side of the country apprehend
no danger from that quarter. Ebenezar creek, five miles in Shermanrear, is a
broad and deep river, running nearly parallel with Shermanline, and will form
an excellent defensive line which our cavalry alone can hold. The canal,
running from the Savannah to the Ogeechee, is another very excellent line upon
which Braxton Bragg would find a watery grave for many of his men were he to
attempt its passage.
The Postmaster General has issued an order to postmasters directing that
Albemarle mail matter intended for Sherman army be sent by way of New York.
Colonel Markland, Special Agent of the Post Office Department, will leave New
York on Saturday with the mails for that army.
The Mails for Sherman Army.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 1864.
Colonel Markland, special agent of the Post Office Department, reports that
the mails were landed, assorted, and during the afternoon of the 16th instant
were distributed to the entire army of General Sherman. In half an hour he
sold twenty-one hundred dollars worth of stamps, and could, if he had had
them, have sold double that amount. He brought with him upwards of ten
thousand soldiers' letters, which have been mailed here to their respective
addresses. The army is in excellent spirits, and their sanitary condition