Diary of Orrin Brown—Jan 25, 1865

Meldrim house, Sherman's HQ in Savannah, 1865Diary of Orrin Brown, outside Savannah, Georgia

Wednesday–Jan. 25th

We had a pretty cold night and it has been cool all day we received orders about 11 Oclock last night to be ready to march at 7 this morning and we marched out about two miles and haulted for the train to pass. Our regt. was rear guard today. We went into camp about 5 PM. We haulted an hour for dinner but had nothing to cook but coffee, it is very cool this evening. I read 5 Chapt. in the Testament today. We have marched about 11 miles today.

And so Pvt. Orrin Brown’s sojourn in Savannah comes to an end.  Federal troops had been departing the city since mid-month, and the XIV Corps started on the march on the 20th, but heavy rain lead to flooding and even muddier roads than they had found on the way into Savannah a month earlier.  While I doubt the sentiment was universal, many residents had welcomed Gen. W.T. Sherman’s arrival.  On 25 January 1865, the Richmond Times Dispatch reprinted a letter in a New York newspaper from a Savannah lady originally from that state.  It read, in part:

What fools some people have been! They will see their folly when too late, I fear… I find I have a great many friends, and I assure you it is very pleasant, after having been so long alone.

Overall, Savannah seems to have suffered little from occupation, although there were certainly structures burned and misused.  For one, the City capitulated relatively rapidly in December, once Confederate forces evacuated.  For another, the City contributed relatively little to the Confederate war machine, other than as a port.  Since the Yankees intended to continue to use the City as THEIR port those facilities were spared, and a division of the XIX Corps brought down from the North to continue the garrison.   The time had arrived for Sherman to march North and join his friend U.S. Grant in opposition to Robert E. Lee.



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