Diary of Orrin Brown—
We had a quite a frosty night but it is getting warmer and the sky is clear. There is considerable canonadeing all along the line today and there has been quite a battle on our right this afternoon with success to our forces, we captured a fort and a brigad of rebbels, the report came into camp today that our fleet captured Fort McCalester yesterday. My mess had a nice dish of Pigs feet today, we go on Picket tonight at 4 PM and stay 24 hours. We left camp at 4 PM and were plased 5 privates and a Corporal on a post to stay all night & relieve on another every two hours. We were only about 20 rods from the rebbel line so we could hear them talking.
On the 13th of December 1864, three brigades of Gen. William B. Hazen‘s 2nd Division, XV Corps (on the Right Wing) moved on Fort McAllister, defended by Confederate Maj. George A. Anderson with about 250 veteran troops. The fort had withstood a half dozen attacks from the sea, but this time the challenge came by land. Hazen’s 4,000 Union troops spread out in the woods and advanced through artillery fire and buried torpedoes. It took them all of 15 minutes to take the fort, opening the Ogeechee River to Federal control. Most importantly, this allowed supplies (and mail) to reach Sherman’s troops as they quickly ate through forage from the March to the Sea.
The site is a Georgia State Park today, 10 miles of I-95 south of Savannah.