December 22, 1864: A Christmas present for Lincoln

Sherman in Savannah

Sherman has taken Savannah without a shot fired, and famously presents it as a Christmas present to the President. I also include a more detailed dispatch to Grant from John G. Foster, the commander of the Union-occupied territories of the southern Atlantic coast.

Official Records 92:783


SAVANNAH, GA., December 22, 1864.
(Via Fort Monroe 6,45 p. m. 25th.)
His Excellency President LINCOLN:

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.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General.

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Official Records 92:786

STEAMER GOLDEN GATE,
Savannah River, December 22, 1864-7 a. m.
(Received 7 a. m. 25th.)
Lieutenant-General GRANT:

I have the honor to report that I have just returned from General Sherman’s headquarters in Savannah. I send Major Gray, of my staff, as bearer of dispatches from General Sherman to you, and also a message to the President. The city of Savannah was occupied on the morning of the 21st.

General Hardee, anticipating the contemplated assault, escaped with the main body of his infantry and light artillery on the afternoon and night of the 20th by crossing the river to the Union Causeway opposite the city. The rebel iron clads were blown up and the navy-yard burned. All the rest of the city is intact and contains 20,000 citizens quiet and well disposed. The captures include 800 prisoners, 150 guns, 13 locomotives in good order, 190 cars, a large supply of ammunition and material of war, 3 steamers, and 32,000 bales of cotton safely stored in warehouses.

All these valuable fruits of an almost bloodless victory have been, like Atlanta, fairly won. I opened communication with the city with my steamers to-day, taking up what torpedoes we could see, and passing safely over others. Arrangements are made to clear the channel of all obstructions.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Major-General, Commanding Department of the South.

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