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The Union Sentinel
Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa
Friday, December 30, 1864


From the Louisville Journal

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, Dec. 25, 7 p.m. – To Major General DIS: - A despatch (sic) has been received this evening by the President from Gen. SHERMAN. It is dated Savannah, Thursday 22d inst., and announces his occupation of the city of Savannah, and the capture of ammunition and about 25,000 bales of cotton. No other particulars are given.

An official dispatch from FOSTER to Gen. GRANT, dated on the 22d at 7 p.m., states that the City of Savannah was occupied by Gen. SHERMAN on the morning of the 21st and that on the preceding afternoon and night HARDEE escaped with the main body of his infantry and light artillery, blowing up the ironclads and the navy yard. He enumerates as captured 800 prisoners, 150 guns in good order, 100 cars, a large lot of ammunition and material of war, 30 steamers and 33,000 bales of cotton.

No mention is made of the present position of HARDEE and his forces which had been estimated at about 15,000.

The despatches (sic) of Gen. SHERMAN and FOSTER are as follows:

SAVANNAH, GA, Dec. 22. – His Excellency Pres’t LINCOLN – I beg to present you as a Christmas Gift, the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.

(Signed) W. T. SHERMAN, Maj. Gen.

The Steamer Golden Gate from Savannah arrived at 7 p.m.

Lieut. Gen. GRANT and Maj. Gen. HALLECK. I have the honor to report that I have just returned form Gen. SHERMAN’s headquarters in Savannah. I sent Major GRAY of my staff as bearer of dispatches from Gen. SHERMAN to you, and also a message to the President. The city of Savannah was occupied on the morning of the 21’st. Gen. HARDEE, expecting the contemplated assault, escaped with the main body of his infantry and light artillery on the morning of the 20th by crossing the river to Union City causeway opposite the city.

The rebel iron-clads were blown up and the navy-yard burned. All the rest of the city is intact and contains 20,000 citizens, quiet and well disposed.

The captures include 800 prisoners, 150 guns, 13 locomotives in good order, 190 cars, a large supply of ammunition and material of war, 3 steamers, and 32,000 bales of cotton safely stored in warehouses. All these valuable fruits of an almost bloodless victory have been, like Atlanta, fairly won. I opened communication with the city with my steamers to-day, taking up what torpedoes we could see, and passing safely over others. Arrangements are made to clear the channel of all obstructions.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


The Union Sentinel
Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa
Friday, December 30, 1864



From the Hawk-Eye


The scouts report that throughout the march the army moved in four columns, Howard on the right, and Slocum on the left, with cavalry on the front and rear. In this manner, it covered a strip of nearly sixty miles in width. For 300 miles SHERMAN has cut through Georgia a swath of nearly 60 miles. It would seem that the “hero turned fugitive” might have been found somewhere in this tract of 18,000 square miles. If the search for him had been very earnest.

Immediately after leaving Atlanta, the column marched toward Macon devastated the country for miles west of the Macon and Atlanta Railroad, in order to retard the progress of HOOD, should he attempt to follow in on SHERMAN’s rear.


Not the least significant and cheering fact of the march is, that but very little opposition to the grand raid, or rather occupation, was met. In their haste to fly, bridges over the small streams were, in several instances, left unburned by the citizens. They were terrified out of their discretion, and failed to respond to the despairing appeals of Generals and Legislators, to fell trees, burn bridges, and destroy subsistence. In no place was the road seriously blockaded, and the stores that were burned were fired by the rebel cavalry, who were feared by the agricultural Georgians as much as the Yankees. The horses were secreted in the swamps to escape both parties. We got nearly all, because the indispensable negro was very apt to designate the spots where the coming cavalry nags were to be fund. Our troops had a few skirmishes, in all of which they were successful. If WHEELER defeated KILPATRICK at any time, no one in SHERMAN’s army was aware of the fact when our scouts left it.


The rebel papers make no mention of the ludicrous fact that Milledgeville was surrendered to our scouts two days before the main army reached the town. – These scouts were met by the Mayor, who insisted on surrendering the place, only asking what private property should be respected. – These triumphant captors, after their informal entrée, proceeded to open the Penitentiary, releasing about one hundred and fifty inmates, some of them members of the Federal army, confined for what were really military offenses. Very few of the citizens remained, and those who did were not disturbed. On leaving Milledgeville, our forces burned the State buildings, exploded a quantity of ammunition and destroyed the depots.


While in Milledgeville, a citizen made a complaint to Sherman having been robbed of a considerable amount in money and a valuable gold watch, establishing the fact with abundant evidence. SHERMAN immediately issued an order declaring that any of his army found engaged in stealing money or articles of no military value, of ravishing or wantonly burning private property, would be shot. The order was not violated, so far as could be ascertained.


Our scouts assert that Sherman has completely destroyed the great railroad quadrilateral, of which Atlanta, Macon, Augusta, and Savannah are the four corners. The railroad leading east from Atlanta to Augusta is destroyed for over seventy miles, including bridges over the Yellow and contiguous rivers. The railroad running south from Atlanta to Macon, is destroyed for eighty miles. The railroad running east from Macon to Savannah is destroyed for a distance estimated at from ninety to one hundred miles. The railroad running between Augusta and Savannah is destroyed from Wanesboro (sic) to Savannah, a distance of over eighty miles. The Gulf Railroad has been cut, and SHERMAN’s position, when last heard from, insures that he holds the Charleston and Savannah Railroad.

We learn that this wholesale work of destruction was carried on leisurely, and with an eye of completeness. Every rail was heated and bent; every tie, bridge, water station, tank, wood-shed, and depot building, burned, and every culvert blown up. For miles on the Macon and Savannah, and the Augusta and Savannah Roads, the track is carried over marshy territory by extensive trestlework. – this is all burned, and will be very difficult to replace. In all, SHERMAN has completely destroyed nearly 400 miles of railroad track, and as he was nearly a month in doing it, we may readily believe that it is well done.


The Hopes that SHERMAN would reach Millen in time to release the body of our prisoners were not realized. The rebels had abundant opportunity to remove them by rail and on foot. They were hurried to Columbia, South Carolina, via Savannah, several days before our advance reached Millen.


On the 15th Inst., HAZEN’s division (General SHERMAN's former command) of the 15th Corps, was ordered to storm Fort MacAllister after a demand for its surrender had been refused. The charge was made in column at the double-quick, and in less than fifteen minutes from the time the word to storm was given, our flag floated from the fort, which is strongly built of sand, with deep ditches and massive parapets. The garrison, consisting of three hundred men, were captured, together with twenty-three fine guns of heavy caliber. The loss of the division in the charge was seventy killed and wounded. The great strength of Fort MacAllister renders its capture by storm a feat of arms second to no valorous achievement of the war. It was Gen. HAZEN’s division which bore the brunt of HARDEE's attack upon our right at Jonesboro the day before the rebel evacuation of Atlanta, so its talent for defense and offense is pretty firmly established. Gen. SHERMAN may be justly proud to say, as he did in describing the assault, "that was once my division."


General SHERMAN feels certain that Savannah is his legitimate property, and the position of his forces around it at this moment would seem fully to justify his anticipations. The main body of his army is on the west of the city, stretching around it somewhat on the south. He has passed a body of infantry north of the Savannah River, the only direction of escape for the garrison.

The situation is simply this: SHERMAN with an army of veterans, out numbering the garrison four to one – perhaps more – is beleaguering Savannah, holding all the railroad communications, and has passed a body of troops north of the Savannah River, almost directly in the rear of the force which has been confronting General FOSTER at Pocotaligo, and hindered a seizure of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad north of the river. – The only avenue for the garrison to escape, is over a marshy [country], between FOSTER’s army, near Pocotaligo, and SHERMAN’s force, north of the Savannah River, and it is only through this interval (which may at any moment be closed,) that further reinforcements or supplies can enter Savannah. Since the war began we have never had such immense advantage over the garrison of any city in the South. At the very initiation of the investment we hold all railroads and have very nearly closed all outlet and inlet.

The water batteries below Savannah are on the south side of the river, and are liable to fall as Fort McAllister fell, provided enough firm land can be found in the rear of them to permit the movement of a sufficient body of troops.


SHERMAN has now as safe and convenient a base of supplies as GRANT. Indeed in some respects he has advantages over the armies on the James. His supplies ascend the Ogeechee river a short distance, and reach him after landing by a few miles transportation over a splendid shell road. – His flanks are protected by the Savannah river on the left, and the Ogeechee on the right, while his rear is approachable only through a strip of country south of Millen, flanked on both sides by impenetrable swamps. Unlimited supplies can be sent from Port Royal, and any number of heavy guns from the same well stocked post. He is five days from New York, three days from Fortress Monroe. He is in an invigorating winter climate, as you may imagine from the fact that I write with my coat off and my pocket-handkerchief in easy supporting distance, and I am thirty miles north of the latitude of Savannah. The weather is deliciously spring-line; just such a day as you would think clever for a Northern June.


SHERMAN related that during the march he was often assailed by good humored request from the ranks to be taken to South Carolina. There is a settled conviction in SHERMAN’s veterans that it is part of their mission to make the tour of the hot-beds of treason, and if they do we fancy the flower pots will suffer somewhat. With the talent for desolating a country, acquired and acquiring by that army, we are led to expect that the next census of the State that first fired on the flag now planted again on its borders will be very easily taken; It will be impossible to restrain the men; and it is almost impossible to wish to have them restrained from wiping from existence so foul an enemy to the Republic

The Union Sentinel
Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa
Friday, December 30, 1864


From the Louisville Journal

A soldier in SHERMAN’s army with throat cut from ear to ear, was thought to be mortally wounded by a council of surgeons: but the one under whose immediate care he was, thought he was justified in making an experiment for the good of others at the same time having great hopes of saving the man. He first commenced his task but cutting through where the two upper ribs meet the sternum and through this orifice for forty days he has been fed five gallons of milk per week, and sometimes his appetite required five per day. He is fat and hearty, and the surgeon thinks in two weeks he will have him able, and the inside of his throat so nearly healed, as to allow him to swallow by the natural passage. He at first introduced a stomach pump, and thus fed his patient, and after a few hours would clear his stomach in the same manner, thus producing artificial digestion, till it was no longer necessary. A silver tube is now used to feed him.

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2009

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