the river to bring you through. I shall establish communication
with you there, by steamboat and gunboat. By this means your wants
can be partially supplied. I shall hope to hear from you soon, and
to hear your plan, and about the time of starting.
Please instruct Foster to hold on to all the property in Savannah,
and especially the cotton. Do not turn it over to citizens or
Treasury agents, without orders of the War Department.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
IN THE FIELD, NEAR SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, January 2, 1865.
Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, City Point.
GENERAL : I have received, by the hands of General Barnard, your
note of 26th and letter of 27th December.
I herewith inclose to you a copy of a projet which I have this
morning, in strict confidence, discussed with my immediate
I shall need, however, larger supplies of stores, especially grain.
I will inclose to you, with this, letters from General Easton,
quartermaster, and Colonel Beckwith, commissary of subsistence,
setting forth what will be required, and trust you will forward
them to Washington with your sanction, so that the necessary steps
may be taken at once to enable me to carry out this plan on time.
I wrote you very fully on the 24th, and have nothing to add. Every
thing here is quiet, and if I can get the necessary supplies in our
wagons, shall be ready to start at the time indicated in my projet
(January 15th). But, until those supplies are in hand, I can do
nothing; after they are, I shall be ready to move with great
I have heard of the affair at Cape Fear. It has turned out as you
will remember I expected.
I have furnished General Easton a copy of the dispatch from the
Secretary of War. He will retain possession of all cotton here,
and ship it as fast as vessels can be had to New York.
I shall immediately send the Seventeenth Corps over to Port Royal,
by boats, to be furnished by Admiral Dahlgren and General Foster
(without interfering with General Easton's vessels), to make a
lodgment on the railroad at Pocotaligo.
General Barnard will remain with me a few days, and I send this by
a staff-officer, who can return on one of the vessels of the
supply-fleet. I suppose that, now that General Butler has got
through with them, you can spare them to us.
My report of recent operations is nearly ready, and will be sent
you in a day or two, as soon as some farther subordinate reports
I am, with great respect, very truly, your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.[Entirely confidential]
PROJET FOR JANUARY.
1. Right wing to move men and artillery by transports to head of
Broad River and Beaufort; reestablish Port Royal Ferry, and mass
the wing at or in the neighborhood of Pocotaligo.
Left wing and cavalry to work slowly across the causeway toward
Hardeeville, to open a road by which wagons can reach their corps
about Broad River; also, by a rapid movement of the left, to secure
Sister's Ferry, and Augusta road out to Robertsville.
In the mean time, all guns, shot, shell, cotton, etc., to be moved
to a safe place, easy to guard, and provisions and wagons got ready
for another swath, aiming to have our army in hand about the head
of Broad River, say Pocotaligo, Robertsville, and Coosawhatchie, by
the 15th January.
2. The whole army to move with loaded wagons by the roads leading
in the direction of Columbia, which afford the best chance of
forage and provisions. Howard to be at Pocotaligo by the 15th
January, and Slocum to be at Robertsville, and Kilpatrick at or
near Coosawhatchie about the same date. General Fosters troops to
occupy Savannah, and gunboats to protect the rivers as soon as
Howard gets Pocotaligo.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
Therefore, on the 2d of January, I was authorized to march with my
entire army north by land, and concluded at once to secure a
foothold or starting-point on the South Carolina side, selecting
Pocotaligo and Hardeeville as the points of rendezvous for the two
wings; but I still remained in doubt as to the wishes of the
Administration, whether I should take Charleston en route, or
confine my whole attention to the incidental advantages of breaking
up the railways of South and North Carolina, and the greater object
of uniting my army with that of General Grant before Richmond.
General Barnard remained with me several days, and was regarded
then, as now, one of the first engineers of the age, perfectly
competent to advise me on the strategy and objects of the new
campaign. He expressed himself delighted with the high spirit of
the army, the steps already taken, by which we had captured
Savannah, and he personally inspected some of the forts, such as
Thunderbolt and Causten's Bluff, by which the enemy had so long
held at bay the whole of our navy, and had defeated the previous
attempts made in April, 1862, by the army of General Gillmore,
which had bombarded and captured Fort Pulaski, but had failed to
reach the city of Savannah. I think General Barnard expected me to
invite him to accompany us northward in his official capacity; but
Colonel Poe, of my staff, had done so well, and was so perfectly
competent, that I thought it unjust to supersede him by a senior in
his own corps. I therefore said nothing of this to General
Barnard, and soon after he returned to his post with General Grant,
at City Point, bearing letters and full personal messages of our
situation and wants.
We were very much in want of light-draught steamers for navigating
the shallow waters of the coast, so that it took the Seventeenth
Corps more than a week to transfer from Thunderbolt to Beaufort,
South Carolina. Admiral Dahlgren had supplied the Harvest Moon and
the Pontiac, and General Foster gave us a couple of hired steamers;
I was really amused at the effect this short sea-voyage had on our
men, most of whom had never before looked upon the ocean. Of
course, they were fit subjects for sea-sickness, and afterward they
begged me never again to send them to sea, saying they would rather
march a thousand miles on the worst roads of the South than to
spend a single night on the ocean. By the 10th General Howard had
collected the bulk of the Seventeenth Corps (General Blair) on
Beaufort Island, and began his march for Pocotaligo, twenty-five
miles inland. They crossed the channel between the island and
main-land during Saturday, the 14th of January, by a pontoon-
bridge, and marched out to Garden's Corners, where there was some
light skirmishing; the next day, Sunday, they continued on to
Pocotaligo, finding the strong fort there abandoned, and
accordingly made a lodgment on the railroad, having lost only two
officers and eight men.
About the same time General Slocum crossed two divisions of the
Twentieth Corps over the Savannah River, above the city, occupied
Hardeeville by one division and Purysburg by another. Thus, by the
middle of January, we had effected a lodgment in South Carolina,
and were ready to resume the march northward; but we had not yet
accumulated enough provisions and forage to fill the wagons, and
other causes of delay occurred, of which I will make mention in due
On the last day of December, 1864, Captain Breese, United States
Navy, flag-officer to Admiral Porter, reached Savannah, bringing
the first news of General Butler's failure at Fort Fisher, and that
the general had returned to James River with his land-forces,
leaving Admiral Porter's fleet anchored off Cape Fear, in that
tempestuous season. Captain Breese brought me a letter from the
admiral, dated December 29th, asking me to send him from Savannah
one of my old divisions, with which he said he would make short
work of Fort Fisher; that he had already bombarded and silenced its
guns, and that General Butler had failed because he was afraid to
attack, or even give the order to attack, after (as Porter
insisted) the guns of Fort Fisher had been actually silenced by the
I answered him promptly on the 31st of December, that I proposed to
march north inland, and that I would prefer to leave the rebel
garrisons on the coast, instead of dislodging and piling them up in
my front as we progressed. From the chances, as I then understood
them, I supposed that Fort Fisher was garrisoned by a comparatively
small force, while the whole division of General Hoke remained
about the city of Wilmington; and that, if Fort Fisher were
captured, it would leave General Hoke free to join the larger force
that would naturally be collected to oppose my progress northward.
I accordingly answered Admiral Porter to this effect, declining to
loan him the use of one of my divisions. It subsequently
transpired, however, that, as soon as General Butler reached City
Point, General Grant was unwilling to rest under a sense of
failure, and accordingly dispatched back the same troops,
reenforced and commanded by General A. H. Terry, who, on the 15th
day of January, successfully assaulted and captured Fort Fisher,
with its entire garrison. After the war was over, about the 20th
of May, when I was giving my testimony before the Congressional
Committee on the Conduct of the War, the chairman of the committee,
Senator B. F. Wade, of Ohio, told me that General Butler had been
summoned before that committee during the previous January, and had
just finished his demonstration to their entire satisfaction that
Fort Fisher could not be carried by assault, when they heard the
newsboy in the hall crying out an "extra" Calling him in, they
inquired the news, and he answered, "Fort Fisher done took!" Of
course, they all laughed, and none more heartily than General
On the 11th of January there arrived at Savannah a revenue-cutter,
having on board Simeon Draper, Esq., of New York City, the Hon. E.
M. Stanton, Secretary of War, Quartermaster-General Meigs,
Adjutant-General Townsend, and a retinue of civilians, who had come
down from the North to regulate the civil affairs of Savannah....
I was instructed by Mr. Stanton to transfer to Mr. Draper the
custom house, post-office, and such other public buildings as these
civilians needed in the execution of their office, and to cause to
be delivered into their custody the captured cotton. This was
accomplished by-[Special Field Orders, No. 10.]
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
IN THE FIELD, NEAR SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, January 12, 1865.
1. Brevet Brigadier-General Euston, chief-quartermaster, will turn
over to Simeon Draper, Esq., agent of the United States Treasury
Department, all cotton now in the city of Savannah, prize of war,
taking his receipt for the same in gross, and returning for it to
the quartermaster-general. He will also afford Mr. Draper all the
facilities in his power in the way of transportation, labor, etc.,
to enable him to handle the cotton with expedition.
2. General Euston will also turn over to Mr. Draper the custom-
house, and such other buildings in the city of Savannah as he may
need in the execution of his office.
By order of General W. T. Sherman,
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.
Up to this time all the cotton had been carefully guarded, with
orders to General Euston to ship it by the return-vessels to New
York, for the adjudication of the nearest prize-court, accompanied
with invoices and all evidence of title to ownership. Marks,
numbers, and other figures, were carefully preserved on the bales,
so that the court might know the history of each bale. But Mr.
Stanton, who surely was an able lawyer, changed all this, and
ordered the obliteration of all the marks; so that no man, friend
or foe, could trace his identical cotton. I thought it strange at
the time, and think it more so now; for I am assured that claims,
real and fictitious, have been proved up against this identical
cotton of three times the quantity actually captured, and that
reclamations on the Treasury have been allowed for more than the
actual quantity captured, viz., thirty-one thousand bales.
Mr. Stanton staid in Savannah several days, and seemed very curious
about matters and things in general. I walked with him through the
city, especially the bivouacs of the several regiments that
occupied the vacant squares, and he seemed particularly pleased at
the ingenuity of the men in constructing their temporary huts.
Four of the "dog-tents," or tentes d'abri, buttoned together,
served for a roof, and the sides were made of clapboards, or rough
boards brought from demolished houses or fences. I remember his
marked admiration for the hut of a soldier who had made his door
out of a handsome parlor mirror, the glass gone and its gilt frame
serving for his door.
He talked to me a great deal about the negroes, the former slaves,
and I told him of many interesting incidents, illustrating their
simple character and faith in our arms and progress. He inquired
particularly about General Jeff. C. Davis, who, he said, was a
Democrat, and hostile to the negro. I assured him that General
Davis was an excellent soldier, and I did not believe he had any
hostility to the negro; that in our army we had no negro soldiers,
and, as a rule, we preferred white soldiers, but that we employed a
large force of them as servants, teamsters, and pioneers, who had
rendered admirable service. He then showed me a newspaper account
of General Davis taking up his pontoon-bridge across Ebenezer
Creek, leaving sleeping negro men, women, and children, on the
other side, to be slaughtered by Wheeler's cavalry. I had heard
such a rumor, and advised Mr. Stanton, before becoming prejudiced,
to allow me to send for General Davis, which he did, and General
Davis explained the matter to his entire satisfaction. The truth
was, that, as we approached the seaboard, the freedmen in droves,
old and young, followed the several columns to reach a place of
safety. It so happened that General Davis's route into Savannah
followed what was known as the "River-road," and he had to make
constant use of his pontoon-train--the head of his column reaching
some deep, impassable creek before the rear was fairly over
another. He had occasionally to use the pontoons both day and
night. On the occasion referred to, the bridge was taken up from
Ebenezer Creek while some of the camp-followers remained asleep on
the farther side, and these were picked up by Wheeler's cavalry.
Some of them, in their fright, were drowned in trying to swim over,
and others may have been cruelly killed by Wheeler's men, but this
was a mere supposition. At all events, the same thing might have
resulted to General Howard, or to any other of the many most humane
commanders who filled the army. General Jeff. C. Davis was
strictly a soldier, and doubtless hated to have his wagons and
columns encumbered by these poor negroes, for whom we all felt
sympathy, but a sympathy of a different sort from that of Mr.
Stanton, which was not of pure humanity, but of politics. The
negro question was beginning to loom up among the political
eventualities of the day, and many foresaw that not only would the
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