This Day in Georgia Civil War History
December 12, 1864
Sherman Ordered Fort McAllister to be Taken
General William T. Sherman wrote in his memoirs of this day ordering a new bridge to be built south of Savannah, and for Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River to be taken - opening a line of communication to the sea, which could also be used a means of supplying his army.
“I instructed General Howard to send a division with all his engineers to King’s Bridge, fourteen and a half miles southwest from Savannah, to rebuild it. On the evening of the 12th I rode over myself, and spent the night at Mr. King’s house, where I found General Howard, with General Hazen’s division of the Fifteenth Corps. His engineers were hard at work on the bridge, which they finished that night, and at sunrise Hazen’s division passed over. I gave General Hazen, in person, his orders to march rapidly down the right bank of the Ogeechee and without hesitation to assault and carry Fort McAllister by storm. I knew it to be strong in heavy artillery, as against an approach from the sea, but believed it open and weak to the rear. I explained to General Hazen fully that on his action depended the safety of the whole army and the success of the campaign.” Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Marching Through Georgia: William T. Sherman’s Personal Narrative of His March Through Georgia (New York: Arno Press, 1978), p. 160.