December 13th, 1864

Dec. 13th, Federal forces overwhelm the garrison at Fort McAllister after a spirited fight the fort is captured.  Sherman watched the assault from a rice mill across the river.  With the Ogeechee River open, supplies begin to flow in to the army.  Sherman has a 1000′ long wharf built at King’s Bridge on the Ogeechee River.  This area is now a park with a boat ramp where the Hwy. 17 crosses the Ogeechee River.

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Fort. McAllister protected the Ogeechee River with these heavy guns.  General Sherman needed supplies and in order for the Union Navy to reach Sherman, the Fort had to be captured.
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Earthworks and artillery protecting the side of the fort vulnerable to attack by land.
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The structures in the fort were primarily earthen mounds that housed a variety of things, like this hotshot furnace.
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One of the earthen mounds was the powder magazine and storage area, others served as bunk rooms.
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Looking west and across the Ogeechee River.  General Sherman watched the assault from the tower of a rice mill just across the river.
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Looking downstream, east, from the site of King’s Bridge toward Fort McAllister.
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A modern bridge stands where the original bridge was on U.S. 17 at the Ogeechee River.  It was here that Sherman had his engineers build a 1000′ foot long wharf in order to bring in supplies from the Union Navy.  A community park and boat ramp are now at the site.
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In 2014 I was fortunate enough to be able to photograph the reenactment of the assault on Fort McAllister.  It took place at the original location on the actual anniversary.  Here, a Confederate cannon fires on the approaching Federals.
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More Confederate cannon fire.
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Federal forces outnumbered the Confederates and were quick to overrun the fort.
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A Confederate reenactor takes a break between skirmishes.
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Federal reenactors helping the wounded during the battle.
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Confederate reenactor keeps watch for approaching Federal troops.
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Confederate soldier smokes his pipe between firefights.
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December 12th, 1864

Dec. 12th, Kilpatrick is dispatched with his cavalry to locate an assault route to Fort McAllister.  Fort McAllister protects the mouth of the Ogeechee River and must be taken in order for Sherman to begin supplying his army.  After locating a route and informing Sherman, Kilpatrick rides to Midway and makes his headquarters at the Midway Church and then sends forces to Sunbury in an attempt to contact the Federal Fleet.

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Looking west across the Ogeechee River from Fort McAllister.  Sherman need to capture this fort in order to open the river for the Union Navy to bring in supplies.  Kilpatrick’s Cavalry found a route to the fort by land, which they reported to General Sherman.  Kilpatrick then moved southwest to Midway.
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Midway Church, constructed in 1792 as a replacement for a previous meeting house that was burned in 1779.  Kilpatrick’s Cavalry camped here at the church and Kilpatrick used it as a headquarters while he operated in the area.
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Across the road on the far side of the church is a walled cemetery where many notable people from Georgia’s history are buried.  After raiding and looting the surrounding plantations, the Federal Cavalry soldiers used the cemetery as a coral for the livestock they liberated from near by citizens. 

December 5th, 1864

Dec. 5th, 1864:

General Hardee is now well aware of the Sherman’s intent to move on Savannah and has placed his command between Sherman and Savannah.  The Right and Left Wings are both moving in a south easterly direction using the main roads into Savannah.  On the 5th, Sherman, traveling with the 17th Corps reaches the Ogeechee Church in what is now Oliver.  He took possession of a private home for his headquarters and remained here for several days to coordinate the movements of his command.  They were now within 50 miles of Savannah.

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Here at Ogeechee Church, a small force of Confederate soldiers about 4,000 strong, established a line here in an attempt to hold the Federal advance in check.  After skirmishing with Sherman’s 17th Corps on the 4th, the Confederates were forced to withdraw during the night as they learned Federal forces were crossing the river on their and right in an attempt to surround them.  On the 5th, Sherman moved into the area and established a headquarters at a private residence.  This church was used as a battlefield landmark and was used by Federal forces as well.
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The Railroad to Savannah, looking south along the straight and flat tracks from Oliver towards Savannah.  The Federals continued to destroy as much of the railroad as possible during their march towards Savannah.

150 Years Ago Today: Dec. 10th – 17th, 1864

Dec. 10th, Sherman begins to lay siege to the defenses of Savannah and artillery exchanges become a frequent occurrence.  In order to keep up a siege, Sherman know he will need supplies and must make contact with the Federal Navy just off the coast. 

Dec. 12th, Kilpatrick is dispatched with his cavalry to locate an assault route to Fort McAllister.  Fort McAllister protects the mouth of the Ogeechee River and must be taken in order for Sherman to begin supplying his army.  After locating and route and informing Sherman, Kilpatrick rides to Midway and makes his headquarters at the Midway Church and then sends forces to Sunbury in an attempt to contact the Federal Fleet.

Dec. 13th, Federal forces overwhelm the garrison at Fort McAllister after a spirited fight the fort is captured.  Sherman watched the assault from a rice mill across the river.  With the Ogeechee River open, supplies begin to flow in to the army.  Sherman has a 1000′ long wharf built at King’s Bridge on the Ogeechee River.  This area is now a park with a boat ramp where the Hwy. 17 crosses the Ogeechee River.

Dec. 17th, General Hardee, commander of the Confederate forces in Savannah, sends a request to Confederate President Jeff Davis for reinforcements from Lee’s Army in Virgina, but receives word that Lee can not spare any troops.  General Sherman, knowing he has the upper hand, sends a request for Hardee’s surrender, but it is rejected by Hardee and the siege continues.