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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

December 30, 1864

Richmond Newspaper Reprinted Report on Savannah Evacuation

The Richmond Times Dispatch reprinted a report from an Augusta newspaper on the evacuation of Savannah.

The evacuation of Savannah. The Augusta Chronicle publishes some particulars of the evacuation of Savannah, derived from one who left the city the night before our troops. It says: “When he left the city on Monday, several hundred families were without anything to eat. Provisions were exceedingly scarce. During the past week several assaults were made on our lines, but were repulsed signally. Our works around the city were very strong, and the place, in all probability, would have been held had it not been for the fall of Fort McAllister. “The usual garrison of Fort McAllister numbered about one hundred and twenty five men. A day or two before it fell, however, about six hundred more troops were sent to their aid. By its fall we lost between seven and eight hundred men. The fort was attacked on the north side by Sherman’s forces. No particulars of the fight have, as yet, been received. It is known, however, that no attack was made on the south, or water side. It is also now known if the fort had been as strong on the land side as it was on the water side, it never could have been captured. After Sherman captured the fort he communicated with the fleet and procured a bountiful supply of ammunition - an article which he was deprived of by Providence in Atlanta.–Sherman also transferred the heavy guns from Fort McAllister to a position from which he could shell the city in case he wished to. “No demand was made for the surrender of the city until Saturday. On that day he demanded the unconditional surrender of the city. General Beauregard, in substance, informed him that ‘he knew the way to the city and could take it if he was able.’ General Beauregard left the city on Sunday. “The residents of Savannah did not expect that the city would be captured. They were totally unprepared for such a result. But very few of them succeeded in getting away. Those who did were obliged to leave most of their effects behind. The best order was maintained throughout the siege. All the whiskey was locked up. The stills were all seized by the authorities. The four local companies were assigned to police duty and kept law-breakers quiet. One or two small fires occurred, but little property, however, was damaged. All the rice on the plantations in the vicinity of the city fell into the hands of the Yankees. Some estimate the amount at five hundred thousand bushels. “The Confederate Government succeeded in removing most of its stores.–The main loss sustained by it was the loss of the siege guns about the place and the gunboats. One report is, that all the gunboats were blown up to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy.–Some believe, however, that the Longawa succeeded in making her way up the river. “The pontoon bridge, across which our troops passed, was built at the foot of one of the streets of the city. During the siege several attempts to destroy our communication on the Carolina side were made, all of which proved futile. “Bishop Elliot was in the city on Monday. Our informant does net know whether he left the place or not. There were two small steamboats at Savannah when the siege commenced. It is reported that the Yankees captured the Firefly and that the Macon was scuttled. A large portion of the Central railroad cars were sent down the Savannah and Gulf railroad before that line was interrupted. “Both of the printing offices in the city fell into the hands of the Yankees. Both editors left before the capitulation. “A gentleman from Savannah says that some of our troops, when leaving, broke open stores and helped themselves to everything they saw, carrying away what they fancied and wantonly destroying much property they could not remove.”