Savannah, January 9, 1865
General L. C. EASTON, Chief Quartermaster, Savannah:
GENERAL: I have undertaken to send the families from Savannah to Charleston, and have fixed Wednesday, the 11th instant, to take them on board at our wharves. Captain Audenried, of my staff, will conduct the business, and I will authorize any expense necessary to carry out the undertaking. Please give public notice that the families who choose to leave Savannah under existing orders will be transported to Charleston, and that a steamer will receive them at such a time at such a dock on Wednesday. Place the steamer at the disposal of Captain Audenried. I think the admiral would cheerfully give you the use of the Harvest Moon, and Captain Audenried can relieve you of all details by simply giving him the necessary means and authority.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Savannah, Ga., January 9, 1865.
Major General J. WHEELER, C. S. Army:
GENERAL: Yours of January 8, with dispatches inclosed, is received. I will send the families, as requested, to Charleston Harbor, and give public notice that a steamer will take them on board here on Wednesday, and suppose they can reach the anchorage off Charleston next day; but should any delay occur it will arise from the endless excuses made by ladies, which General Hardee will understand. I will order my quartermaster to have a steamer at the wharf all Wednesday, to transport families to Charleston, to carry a small guard and flag to our gun-boat anchorage, and thence to such point as the naval commander may suggest.
Very truly, yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
We have news of attempts by the enemy to repair their railroads:
Three citizens, employs of the Georgia Central Railroad Company, two from Macon to Gordon, reported on repairs, for the time being, of the Macon and Atlanta road for the purpose of opening communication with Augusta, and had, on the 25th ultimo, still thirty miles to repair. They were not repairing the West Point road. The line was to be via Columbus, Macon, and Atlanta to Augusta. Railroad iron was very scarce, and it was doubtful whether they had sufficient to complete their line. The bridge over the Oconee River, on the Atlanta and Augusta road, was not yet repaired, and the authorities were at great loss for sawed timber, their mills all having been burned. The road would not be in running order for a month or more.
The Augusta papers of the 4th had in them a telegram, partly official, announcing the death of General Hood. It was not considered true. The latest telegrams received and published reported his army endeavoring to cross the Tennessee, but had been prevented by flood and loss of pontoons. Much anxiety was felt for this Army.
All kinds of rumors prevailed concerning Lee’s Army, as to evacuating Richmond, re-enforcing the forces in South Carolina, &c. There seemed to be no authority for any. The garrison in and around Augusta seemed to number about 1,000. General Fry was commanding the post. Considerable force was reported at Branchville. Telegraph line was up from Augusta to Macon.
The latest report from deserters, refugees, flags of truce, and the rumors of the citizens of Savannah are that several counties of Georgia have, by meetings, declared their desire to join the Union, and forwarded copies of their proceedings to General Sherman; that one regiment of old troops, stationed at Grahamville, has thrown down its arms and returned to Georgia; that the governor of Georgia, Governor Brown, has testified his disposition to return to the Union, and that he is willing to submit the question to the vote of the people; and that the Georgia Reserve at Augusta have disbanded and gone home. There is no doubt about the holding of the Union meetings in several counties. In one of them, Thomas County, a fight took place and the Unionists whipped. The other reports are credible, but not fully confirmed. There is evidently a great struggle going on in the public sentiment of the Georgians, and the question seems to be how much they dare risk in declaring their sentiments in favor of reconstruction.