This Week in the Civil War - #987
At Savannah, Georgia during the early morning hours of Tuesday, December 20, 1864 Hardee’s Confederates who had unsuccessfully prevented Sherman from establishing valuable lines of communication and resupply with the Union Atlantic fleet withdrew from the city. When Federal forces realized that Hardee had evacuated, they quickly moved to cut off his escape route across the Savannah River. Union pursuers were unsuccessful, and Hardee’s Confederates moved into the southern part of South Carolina to concentrate with other Confederate forces. Hardee left behind 250 heavy guns and stores of cotton, but he successfully evacuated Savannah with 10,000 of his men when Confederate engineers constructed an ingenious pontoon bridge constructed of some 30 rice flats across the Savannah River. Savannah’s loss was a severe blow to the Confederate war effort.