Diary of Orrin Brown—Dec 12, 1864

Robert Knox Sneden - Map of Savannah Nov 1864

Diary of Orrin Brown, outside Savannah, Georgia

Monday–Dec. 12th

We have had a freezeing cold night and the men are shivering around their camp fires this morning. Our foragers came in this moring with a nice lot of rice four. There have been occational Canonadeing all along the line today. The weather was a little warmer in the middle of the day but cool again toward night.

The Union Army now settled down for a siege of Savannah, a city of 22,292 in 1860.  In 1732, British Gen. James Oglethorpe founded the first settlement in Georgia based on an elaborate town plan that is still considered a monument to urban design. However, in 1864, Confederate Gen. William J. Hardee had entrenched about 10,000 Rebel troops in the city awaiting the 62,000 troops in Sherman’s vanguard.  Hardee had flooded rice fields surrounding the city, leaving only narrow raised roads like a medieval castle.

The XX Corps dug in on the far Left flank on the Savannah River, near Williamson’s Plantation extending across the Charleston & Savannah railroad.  The XIV Corps camped next across the Central railroad, extending to the XVII Corps on the Right Wing taking position astride the Savannah and Ogeechee canal near Lawson’s Plantation.  The XV Corps then set its right on the Atlantic and Gulf railroad.  As Slocum recounted (p.158 in the Official Records):

Our line was established as close as possible to that of the enemy, and the time spent in preparation for an assault upon his works.  Batteries were established on the river in such positions as prevented any boats from passing.

On the 12th, two gunboats (the CSS Macon and CSS Sampson) and a side-wheel tugboat (the CSS Resolute) tried to run downriver.  The Resolute was captured by the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry after running aground on retreat.

For a much more detailed discussion of this setting up for the siege, see this post on To The Sound of The Guns blog.



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