December 17, 1864: Sherman demands the surrender of Savannah

Sherman and men in Atlanta

From Sherman’s official report:

On the 17th, a number of 30-pounder Parrott guns having reached King’s Bridge, I proceeded in person to the headquarters of Major-General Slocum, on the Augusta road, and dispatched thence into Savannah, by flag of truce, a formal demand for the surrender of the place; and on the following day received an answer from General Hardee refusing to surrender.

In the meantime further reconnaissances from our left flank had demonstrated that it was impracticable or unwise to push any considerable force across the Savannah River, for the enemy held the river opposite the city with iron-clad gun-boats, and could destroy any pontoons laid down by us between Hutchinson’s Island and the South Carolina shore, which would isolate any force sent over from that flank.

News of Sherman’s siege of Savannah reached the north. Sherman has demanded the surrender of the town, and Hardee refused. The last supply line to Savannah for the rebels runs northward toward South Carolina.


New York Times


WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 — 10 P.M.

Dispatches have been received to-day from Gen. FOSTER, who had a personal interview, on the morning of Wednesday, the 14th inst., with Gen. SHERMAN, at Fort McAllister, which had been taken by assault the preceding day.

Savannah was closely besieged, and its capture, with the rebel forces there, was confidently expected. It was to be summoned in two days, and if not surrendered, SHERMAN would open his batteries upon it.

Gen. FOSTER reports that SHERMAN’s army is in splendid condition, having lived on its march on the turkies, chickens, sweet potatoes and other good things of the richest part of Georgia.

E.M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

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