would select. No reply is yet received. Canby has been ordered to
set offensively from the seacoast to the interior, toward
Montgomery and Selma. Thomas's forces will move from the north at
an early day, or some of his troops will be sent to Canby. Without
further reenforcement Canby will have a moving column of twenty
Fort Fisher, you are aware, has been captured. We have a force
there of eight thousand effective. At Newbern about half the
number. It is rumored, through deserters, that Wilmington also has
fallen. I am inclined to believe the rumor, because on the 17th we
knew the enemy were blowing up their works about Fort Caswell, and
that on the 18th Terry moved on Wilmington.
If Wilmington is captured, Schofield will go there. If not, he
will be sent to Newbern. In either event, all the surplus forces
at the two points will move to the interior, toward Goldsboro', in
cooperation with your movements. From either point, railroad
communications can be run out, there being here abundance of
rolling-stock suited to the gauge of those roads.
There have been about sixteen thousand men sent from Lee's army
south. Of these, you will have fourteen thousand against you, if
Wilmington is not held by the enemy, casualties at Fort Fisher
having overtaken about two thousand.
All other troops are subject to your orders as you come in
communication with them. They will be so instructed. From about
Richmond I will watch Lee closely, and if he detaches many men, or
attempts to evacuate, will pitch in. In the meantime, should you
be brought to a halt anywhere, I can send two corps of thirty
thousand effective men to your support, from the troops about
To resume: Canby is ordered to operate to the interior from the
Gulf. A. J. Smith may go from the north, but I think it doubtful.
A force of twenty-eight or thirty thousand will cooperate with you
from Newbern or Wilmington, or both. You can call for
This will be handed you by Captain Hudson, of my ataff, who will
return with any message you may have for me. If there is any thing
I can do for you in the way of having supplies on shipboard, at any
point on the seacoast, ready for you, let me know it.
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
IN THE FIELD, POCOTALIGO, SOUTH CAROLINA, January 29, 1885.
Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, City Point, Virginia.
DEAR GENERAL: Captain Hudson has this moment arrived with your
letter of January 21st, which I have read with interest.
The capture of Fort Fisher has a most important bearing on my
campaign, and I rejoice in it for many reasons, because of its
intrinsic importance, and because it gives me another point of
security on the seaboard. I hope General Terry will follow it up
by the capture of Wilmington, although I do not look for it, from
Admiral Porter's dispatch to me. I rejoice that Terry was not a
West-Pointer, that he belonged to your army, and that he had the
same troops with which Butler feared to make the attempt.
Admiral Dahlgren, whose fleet is reenforced by some more ironclads,
wants to make an assault a la Fisher on Fort Moultrie, but I
withhold my consent, for the reason that the capture of all
Sullivan's Island is not conclusive as to Charleston; the capture
of James Island would be, but all pronounce that impossible at this
time. Therefore, I am moving (as hitherto designed) for the
railroad west of Branchville, then will swing across to Orangeburg,
which will interpose my army between Charleston and the interior.
Contemporaneous with this, Foster will demonstrate up the Edisto,
and afterward make a lodgment at Bull's Bay, and occupy the common
road which leads from Mount Pleasant toward Georgetown. When I get
to Columbia, I think I shall move straight for Goldsboro', via
Fayetteville. By this circuit I cut all roads, and devastate the
land; and the forces along the coast, commanded by Foster, will
follow my movement, taking any thing the enemy lets go, or so
occupy his attention that he cannot detach all his forces against
me. I feel sure of getting Wilmington, and may be Charleston, and
being at Goldsboro', with its railroads finished back to Morehead
City and Wilmington, I can easily take Raleigh, when it seems that
Lee must come out. If Schofield comes to Beaufort, he should be
pushed out to Kinston, on the Neuse, and may be Goldsboro' (or,
rather, a point on the Wilmington road, south of Goldsboro'). It
is not necessary to storm Goldsboro', because it is in a distant
region, of no importance in itself, and, if its garrison is forced
to draw supplies from its north, it, will be eating up the same
stores on which Lee depends for his command.
I have no doubt Hood will bring his army to Augusta. Canby and
Thomas should penetrate Alabama as far as possible, to keep
employed at least a part of Hood's army; or, what would accomplish
the same thing, Thomas might reoccupy the railroad from Chattanooga
forward to the Etowah, viz., Rome, Kingston, and Allatoona, thereby
threatening Georgia. I know that the Georgia troops are
disaffected. At Savannah I met delegates from several counties of
the southwest, who manifested a decidedly hostile spirit to the
Confederate cause. I nursed the feeling as far as possible, and
instructed Grower to keep it up.
My left wing must now be at Sister's Ferry, crossing the Savannah
River to the east bank. Slocum has orders to be at Robertsville
to-morrow, prepared to move on Barnwell. Howard is here, all ready
to start for the Augusta Railroad at Midway.
We find the enemy on the east aide of the Salkiehatchie, and
cavalry in our front; but all give ground on our approach, and seem
to be merely watching us. If we start on Tuesday, in one week we
shall be near Orangeburg, having broken up the Augusta road from
the Edisto westward twenty or twenty-five miles. I will be sure
that every rail is twisted. Should we encounter too much
opposition near Orangeburg, then I will for a time neglect that
branch, and rapidly move on Columbia, and fill up the triangle
formed by the Congaree and Wateree (tributaries of the Santee),
breaking up that great centre of the Carolina roads. Up to that
point I feel full confidence, but from there may have to manoeuvre
some, and will be guided by the questions of weather and supplies.
You remember we had fine weather last February for our Meridian
trip, and my memory of the weather at Charleston is, that February
is usually a fine month. Before the March storms come we should be
within striking distance of the coast. The months of April and May
will be the best for operations from Goldsboro' to Raleigh and the
Roanoke. You may rest assured that I will keep my troops well in
hand, and, if I get worsted, will aim to make the enemy pay so
dearly that you will have less to do. I know that this trip is
necessary; it must be made sooner or later; I am on time, and in
the right position for it. My army is large enough for the
purpose, and I ask no reinforcement, but simply wish the utmost
activity to be kept up at all other points, so that concentration
against me may not be universal.
I suspect that Jeff. Davis will move heaven and earth to catch me,
for success to this column is fatal to his dream of empire.
Richmond is not more vital to his cause than Columbia and the heart
of South Carolina.
If Thomas will not move on Selma, order him to occupy Rome,
Kingston, and Allatoona, and again threaten Georgia in the
direction of Athena.
I think the "poor white trash" of the South are falling out of
their ranks by sickness, desertion, and every available means; but
there is a large class of vindictive Southerners who will fight to
the last. The squabbles in Richmond, the howls in Charleston, and
the disintegration elsewhere, are all good omens for us; we must
not relax one iota, but, on the contrary, pile up our efforts: I
world, ere this, have been off, but we had terrific rains, which
caught us in motion, and nearly drowned some of the troops in the
rice-fields of the Savannah, swept away our causeway (which had
been carefully corduroyed), and made the swamps hereabout mere
lakes of slimy mud. The weather is now good, and I have the army
on terra firma. Supplies, too, came for a long time by daily
driblets instead of in bulk; this is now all remedied, and I hope
to start on Tuesday.
I will issue instructions to General Foster, based on the
reenforcements of North Carolina; but if Schofield comes, you had
better relieve Foster, who cannot take the field, and needs an
operation on his leg. Let Schofield take command, with his
headquarters at Beaufort, North Carolina, and with orders to secure
Goldsboro' (with its railroad communication back to Beaufort and
Wilmington). If Lee lets us get that position, he is gone up.
I will start with my Atlanta army (sixty thousand), supplied as
before, depending on the country for all food in excess of thirty
days. I will have less cattle on the hoof, but I hear of hogs,
cows, and calves, in Barnwell and the Colombia districts. Even
here we have found some forage. Of course, the enemy will carry
off and destroy some forage, but I will burn the houses where the
people burn their forage, and they will get tired of it.
I must risk Hood, and trust to you to hold Lee or be on his heels
if he comes south. I observe that the enemy has some respect for
my name, for they gave up Pocotaligo without a fight when they
heard that the attacking force belonged to my army. I will try and
keep up that feeling, which is a real power. With respect, your
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-general commanding.
P. S.--I leave my chief-quartermaster and commissary behind to
W. T. S.[Dispatch No. 6.]
SAVANNAH RIVER, January 4, 1865.
HON. GIDEON WELLS, Secretary of the Navy.
SIR: I have already apprised the Department that the army of
General Sherman occupied the city of Savannah on the 21st of
The rebel army, hardly respectable in numbers or condition, escaped
by crossing the river and taking the Union Causeway toward the
I have walked about the city several times, and can affirm that its
tranquillity is undisturbed. The Union soldiers who are stationed
within its limits are as orderly as if they were in New York or
Boston.... One effect of the march of General Sherman through
Georgia has been to satisfy the people that their credulity has
been imposed upon by the lying assertions of the rebel Government,
affirming the inability of the United States Government to
withstand the armies of rebeldom. They have seen the old flag of
the United States carried by its victorious legions through their
State, almost unopposed, and placed in their principal city without
Since the occupation of the city General Sherman has been occupied
in making arrangements for its security after he leaves it for the
march that he meditates. My attention has been directed to such
measures of cooperation as the number and quality of my force
On the 2d I arrived here from Charleston, whither, as I stated in
my dispatch of the 29th of December, I had gone in consequence of
information from the senior officer there that the rebels
contemplated issuing from the harbor, and his request for my
presence. Having placed a force there of seven monitors,
sufficient to meet each an emergency, and not perceiving any sign
of the expected raid, I returned to Savannah, to keep in
communication with General Sherman and be ready to render any
assistance that might be desired. General Sherman has fully
informed me of his plans, and, so far as my means permit, they
shall not lack assistance by water.
On the 3d the transfer of the right wing to Beaufort was began, and
the only suitable vessel I had at hand (the Harvest Moon) was sent
to Thunderbolt to receive the first embarkation. This took place
about 3 p.m., and was witnessed by General Sherman and General
Bernard (United States Engineers) and myself. The Pontiac is
ordered around to assist, and the army transports also followed the
first move by the Harvest Moon.
I could not help remarking the unbroken silence that prevailed in
the large array of troops; not a voice was to be heard, as they
gathered in masses on the bluff to look at the vessels. The notes
of a solitary bugle alone came from their midst.
General Barnard made a brief visit to one of the rebel works
(Cansten's Bluff) that dominated this water-course--the best
approach of the kind to Savannah.
I am collecting data that will fully exhibit to the Department the
powerful character of the defenses of the city and its approaches.
General Sherman will not retain the extended limits they embrace.
but will contract the line very much.
General Foster still holds the position near the Tullifinny. With
his concurrence I have detached the fleet brigade, and the men
belonging to it have returned to their vessels. The excellent
service performed by this detachment has fully realized my wishes,
and exemplified the efficiency of the organization--infantry and
light artillery handled as skirmishers. The howitzers were always
landed as quickly as the men, and were brought into action before
the light pieces of the land-service could be got ashore.
I regret very much that the reduced complements of the vessels
prevent me from maintaining the force in constant organization.
With three hundred more marines and five hundred seamen I could
frequently operate to great advantage, at the present time, when
the attention of the rebels is so engrossed by General Sherman.
It is said that they have a force at Hardeeville, the pickets of
which were retained on the Union Causeway until a few days since,
when some of our troops crossed the river and pushed them back.
Concurrently with this, I caused the Sonoma to anchor so as to
sweep the ground in the direction of the causeway.
The transfer of the right-wing (thirty thousand men) to Beaufort
will so imperil the rebel force at Hardeeville that it will be cut
off or dispersed, if not moved in season.
Meanwhile I will send the Dai-Ching to St. Helena, to meet any want
that may arise in that quarter, while the Mingo and Pontiac will be
ready to act from Broad River.
The general route of the army will be northward; but the exact
direction must be decided more or less by circumstances which it
may not be possible to foresee....
My cooperation will be confined to assistance in attacking
Charleston, or in establishing communication at Georgetown, in case
the army pushes on without attacking Charleston, and time alone
will show which of these will eventuate.
The weather of the winter first, and the condition of the ground in
spring, would permit little advantage to be derived from the
presence of the army at Richmond until the middle of May. So that
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