Today in History, December 22: 1864 – “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.”. General William Tecumseh Sherman wired this message to President Lincoln after his army siezed one of the few remaining port cities in the South.
The message was not merely well received. It ended a six week cliff hanger for the President and the people of the North. That was when Gen. Sherman had taken the daring move of leaving the conquered city of Atlanta, thus cutting his army off from it’s supply lines. The large army would be solely dependent upon the supplies it could obtain from the land. Everything that was not needed to feed or provision the Union Army in a huge swath between the two cities was destroyed to prevent it’s use by the South.
Sherman had several objectives: Take Savannah to prevent supplies reaching the Confederacy from overseas, join up with the Navy, and bring the horrors of war to the Southern populace in an effort to demoralize them and shorten the war.