Monday, December 19, 1864

Near Savannah, Georgia

The ground here is difficult, and, as all former assaults have proved so bloody, I have concluded to make one more effort to completely surround Savannah on all aides, so as further to excite Hardee’s fears, and, in case of success, to capture the whole of his army. We have completely invested the place on the north, west, and south, but there remains to the enemy, on the east, the use of the old dike or plank-road leading into South Carolina. Hardee likely has a pontoon-bridge across the river. On examining my maps, I thought that the division of John P. Hatch, belonging to General Fosters command, might be moved from its position at Broad River, by water, down to Bluffton, from which it could reach this plank-road, fortify and hold it, though at some risk, of course, because Hardee could avail himself of his central position to fall on this detachment with his whole army. I do not want to make a mistake like “Ball’s Bluff” so, taking one or two of my personal staff, I rode back to Grog’s Bridge, leaving with Generals Howard and Slocum orders to make all possible preparations, but not to attack, during my two or three days’ absence; and there I took a boat for Wassaw Sound, whence Admiral Dahlgren conveyed me in his own boat, the Harvest Moon. We expect to Hilton Head tomorrow, where I will represent the matter to General Foster.

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