September 21, 1864: Sherman proposes a grand strategy

William Tecumseh Sherman

Sherman has a plan that sort of sounds like he forgot who was in charge of the Union armies. In any case, his idea is that while the fleet threatens Mobile as a distraction, Grant should take Savannah, and then Sherman can take Augusta. Not quite how it works out, I’m predicting.

Official Records:

In the Field, Atlanta, September 21, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT, City Point, Va.:

Lieutenant-Colonel Porter will start back in the morning, and will bring you full answer to your letter, also all my official reports of the past. I prefer that General Canby and a part of Farragut’s fleet should continue to threaten Mobile City, but not attempt its capture; that a small force with gun-boats ascend the Appalachicola to the arsenal and up to Columbus, if possible; that you take city of Savannah by a coup de main at the same time or soon after your active movements about Petersburg and the mouth of Cape Fear River. Savannah in our possession, and boats at liberty to work up the Savannah River, I am willing to start for Augusta in the manner I proposed in my letter of last night, which Colonel Porter will bring. I beg you to give my personal congratulations to Sheridan and my earnest hope that he will push Early back on Lynchburg. He can’t do much up the Tennessee and Virginia Valley; it is too long. Burbridge will attempt the capture and destruction of the salt -works about Abingdon from Kentucky and Knoxville. Schofield has gone to Knoxville to make the arrangements. All well.



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