An artist’s rendition of general William T. Sherman overlooking the city the Savannah, Ga. In ~ the conclusion that his destructive ‘March come the Sea.’ In December 1863, Sherman gifted the city to president Abraham Lincoln together a Christmas present in a holiday tiding that has end up being a component of Civil war lore.

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When you do your Christmas shopping, what carry out you give the male who has everything? How about an entire city?

At Christmas 1864, william T. Sherman did just that for President Abraham Lincoln in ~ the conclusion that his disastrous March to the Sea. The general readily available the key port city that Savannah, Georgia, as a Christmas current to Lincoln, a vacation tiding that has end up being a component of Civil battle lore.

Sherman’s five-week march native Atlanta to Savannah that loss is taken into consideration a decisive blow by modern historians, yet the movement was very risky. The high command in Washington was concerned with Sherman’s plan as he wanted to breakthrough deep into opponent territory without a supply line or communications.

As a result, Lincoln and other Union authorities were uncertain regarding Sherman’s precise location for about a month. “When who asked Lincoln around Sherman’s progress, that shrugged and said, “I understand where the went in at, yet I can not tell what hole he will come the end of,” stated Dr. Samuel Wheeler, a research historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. “When Lincoln received word that Sherman had actually indeed to be successful, his relief must have actually been enormous.”

Wheeler also notes that the autumn of 1864 had been “exceptionally tense” because that Lincoln, in component because that a stressful re-election campaign. “He went with an excruciating duration in the run as much as the election of 1864 and shared the famous opinion that he would certainly not be re-elected,” Wheeler said. “After the election, all eyes turned towards bringing the war to a conclusion. That, the course, lugged a whole new series that anxieties.”

Sherman’s 62,000 men left for the sea Nov. 15, 1864 through 20 job of rations and also when those were exhausted, live off the land. He moved rapidly through Georgia with little opposition, however as he approached Savannah and its well-off stores, food and other provides were running alarmingly low. A prolonged battle because that the city posed a danger to the army’s survival.

Fortunately for Sherman, the surcharge Confederate garrison withdrew and the city surrendered Dec. 21, 1864. That was shortly visited by a U.S. Treasury agent, A.G. Browne, that was ~ above the step to insurance claim the cotton, rice and government buildings.

Known because that his hatred of bureaucrats, Sherman curtly refused Browne’s demands. Preventing a confrontation, the certified dealer sidestepped the concern with a diplomatic suggestion – the Sherman sell the city together a Christmas present to Lincoln. Saying “the President specifically enjoys together pleasantry.” Browne further noted a message can be telegraphed from a surrounding communications hub because that receipt through Lincoln ~ above Christmas Eve.

Sherman accepted Browne’s advice and dashed off a short message the read, “I beg to current to you together a Christmas gift, the city the Savannah.” ever practical, Sherman included that the city came v “150 heavy guns and also plenty that ammunition, also around 25,000 bales of cotton.”

Lincoln obtained the wire Dec. 24, 1864. The telegram captured the imagination of the country and it was reprinted in significant newspapers, including page among the new York Times, through the subhead “Sherman’s Christmas Present.”

“Lincoln was very pleased to obtain his ‘Christmas gift’ native Sherman,” remarked Wheeler. “It was probably the ideal gift Lincoln can have got that year.”

On the work after Christmas, Lincoln wrote Sherman through “many, countless thanks for your Christmas gift” and also conceded the he “was anxious, if not fearful” of the general’s march indigenous Atlanta. But, “the undertaking gift a success,” Lincoln offered the glory to his general, composing “the honor is every yours.”

“Lincoln was not interested in receiving individual credit,” commented Wheeler. “There’s an old saying, ‘It’s exceptional what friend can attain if friend don’t treatment who gets the credit.’ i think Lincoln’s management of his generals personifies the statement.”

The males of Sherman’s army celebrated Christmas in the rain in Savannah. After ~ hearing a congratulatory bespeak from their commander, they to be dismissed for dinner, one undertaking appreciated by some much more than others. William Humphrey the Jacksonville, Illinois, the fife major of the 101st Illinois, composed that his Christmas meals to be “breakfast, rice and beef. Dinner, rice. Supper, beef and rice.”

The Christmas season the 1864 would prove to it is in the critical in the field in the polite War, together the Southern armies surrendered the complying with spring. Sherman’s present of Savannah has end up being a hallmark that the shattering success of his march come the sea, though the general has to be roundly criticize in some circles for forcing the battle on the southern people.

Tom Emery is a freelance writer and also historical researcher indigenous Carlinville, Ill. He might be got to at 217-710-8392 or ilcivilwar



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