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Near Savannah in Chatham County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal

The 15th Corps Crosses the Ogeechee River

— March to the Sea Heritage Trail —

 
 
The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, December 5, 2018
1. The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal Marker
Inscription.  The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal was completed in 1830 after five years of construction using African slave and Irish immigrant labor, including many women. More than sixteen miles in length, its depth was maintained relatively constant by six locks, four to control elevation changes and one at each rider's entrance. The canal's flow powered several industries, notably sawmills, but also cotton, rice, fruit and, brick-making. Although restored after the Civil War, the canal went into decline near the end of the 19th century after damage caused by several storms, a local yellow fever epidemic blamed on the canal and increasing competition from railroads. The canal's western terminus connects to the Ogeechee River just south of the site of Dillon's Bridge. A 1/2 mile walking trail along the canal leads to the river.

By Wednesday, December 7, 1864, half of Union Major General Peter J. Osterhaus's 15th, Corps in the "Right Wing" of Major General William T. Sherman's army was located along the west bank of the Ogeechee River near Blitchton. Finding Jenks' Bridge burned all four 15th Corps divisions proceeded separately in search of crossing
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locations. Dillon's Bridge became a focal point.

After a sharp skirmish, the division of Brigadier General John M. Corse, crossed the Ogeechee River near Blitchton using a pontoon bridge on December 7th and 8th. They marched twelve miles south along the river's east bank to discover both Dillon's Bridge and a bridge across the Savannah and Ogechee Canal in flames. After driving away Confederates near the canal General Corse's division entrenched and camped on the canal's north side overnight while the bridge across it was rebuilt. While at the canal some of Corse's men relaxed, "Went in swimming to-day," said one Ilinoisan, "The water was quite warm." General Osterhaus reported that Corse "...pushed on and met some rebels at the Savannah Canal and drove them back to their main line, which he assaulted and carried."

After the skirmishing the canal suffered considerable damage. Federal soldiers dropped trees into the canal, cut its banks, damaged the lock gates and seized canal and Brigadier General William B. Hazen also used the pontoon bridge. Once across the river, most of the 15th Corps marched almost six miles to the east and entrenched near Salt Creek with General Hazen's division placed in reserve. By December 12th the entire Federal army was in position near Confederate-held Savannah. General Sherman's next move was to make contact
The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal Interpretive Marker on left image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, December 6, 2018
2. The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal Interpretive Marker on left
Another marker "The 15th Corps at the Savannah and Ogeechee Canal" is on the right.
with the Federal navy waiting off-shore with needed supplies.

[Photo captions]
Background: Savannah Ga. and Vicinity, in December 1864
Top left: "Scene along the Savannah and Ogeechee Canal, circa 1840"
Bottom left: The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal - 16.5 miles in length
Middle: Union Brigadier General John M. Corse before his promotion
Top Right: Union Major General Charles R. Woods

 
Erected 2018 by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number R23.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Sherman’s March to the Sea series list. A significant historical date for this entry is December 7, 1864.
 
Location. 32° 1.401′ N, 81° 19.029′ W. Marker is near Savannah, Georgia, in Chatham County. Marker is at the intersection of Fort Argyle Road (Georgia Route 204) and Bush Road, on the right when traveling east on Fort Argyle Road. Located near the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Museum and Nature Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 681 Fort Argyle Road, Savannah GA 31419, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The 15th Corps at the Savannah and Ogeechee Canal (within shouting distance of this marker);
The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, December 6, 2018
3. The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal
The marker can just be seen to the left of the right-side double trees.
Savannah-Ogeechee Canal (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); King's Bridge (approx. 3˝ miles away); Fort Argyle (approx. 5 miles away); Hazen's Division at the Canoochee River (approx. 5 miles away); Fort McAllister (approx. 5.1 miles away); "Dead Town" of Hardwicke (approx. 5.1 miles away); Courthouse Annex (approx. 5.2 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on the Savannah and Ogeechee Canal. (Submitted on December 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 8, 2018. It was originally submitted on December 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 428 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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May. 28, 2024