This Week in the Civil War - #988
Sherman’s triumphant army marched into Savannah, Georgia on Wednesday, December 21, 1864. The Twentieth Corps became the first Union troops to enter the city; Sherman was not present. He had journeyed up the coastline to a strategy session to block the potential escape of Savannah’s defenders-- on the very route which they used to escape while the conference was being held. Sherman was extremely disappointed in Hardee’s escape, but little could have been done to stop his evacuation. Hardee had been planning such a move since Jefferson Davis advised him to see to the preservation of his army. When Sherman arrived in Savannah, he found government auditors totaling the value of cotton seized by his army; one auditor suggested that Sherman wire Lincoln with a Christmas gift of Savannah.