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The Town and Port of Savannah

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1297, p. 42.

January 14, 1865


The town and port of Savannah, which General Sherman has captured without a siege, by the retirement of the Confederate General Hardee, whose forces were unable to defend the place, is situated on the right bank of the River Savannah, eighteen miles from the sea. It is the terminus of three railroads connecting it with the neighbouring States of Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. The Savannah river, indeed, marks the frontier between South Carolina and the State of Georgia, to which the town or city of Savannah belongs. The population was, previously to the war, about 25,000, and the place was a thriving mart for cotton, rice and lumber, but especially for the Sea-Island cotton, the most valuable kind that is grown, produced nowhere except in the low lands along this coast. The harbour is good, there being from 18 ft. to 21 ft. of water at ebb-tide over the bar at the mouth of the river, while vessels drawing 13 ft. can get up to the wharves of the town, and those drawing 15 ft. or 16 ft. may go as far as Five-fathom Hole, three miles below the town. There is steam navigation up the river to Augusta, a distance of 140 miles. The town itself stands upon a sandy flat, about 40 ft. above the water. It is laid out with great regularity, in spacious streets and squares, crossing each other at right angles; the streets are lined with a double row of trees, and the squares have inclosed gardens in the centre, like those of London. There are fourteen or fifteen churches, one of which, the Independent Presbyterian, is an elegant and costly structure of granite; a Jewish synagogue, an academy, a courthouse, gaol, exchange, barracks, arsenal, theatre, market-house, and various charitable institutions. The accompanying Map or Plan will give some idea of the capabilities of the place for military fortification.

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