December 16, 1864

TO ELLEN EWING SHERMAN
Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, near Savannah, Dec. 16,1864

Dearest Ellen,

I have no doubt you have heard of my safe arrival on the Coast. The fact is I never doubted the fact, but these southern Blatherskites have been bragging of all manner of things but have done nothing. We came right along living on turkeys, chickens pigs &c. bringing along our wagons to be loaded as we started with bread &c. I suppose Jeff Davis will now have to feed the People of Georgia, instead of collecting provisions of them to feed his armies. We have destroyed nearly 200 miles of Railroad and are not yet done. As I approached Savannah I found every river & outlet fortified. The Ogeechee River emptying into Ossabaw Sound was best adapted to our use, but it was guarded by Fort McAlister, which has defied the Navy for 2 years. I ordered Howard to carry it with one Division. The detail fell on the 2nd Division of the 15th Corps and it was the handsomest thing I have seen in this war. The Division is the same I commanded at Shiloh in which Buckland, Hildebrand, Cockerill & others were, and Cockerill’s Regiment was about the 1st to reach the interior and its Garrison, but Cockerill is not in service now.

As soon as we got the Fort, I pulled down the Bay & opened Communication. General Foster & Admiral Dahlgren received me, manned the yards & cheered, the highest honor at sea. They had become really nervous as to our safety and were delighted at all I told them of our early success. I can now starve out Savannah unless Events call my army to Virginia. I would prefer to march through Columbia & Raleigh but the time would be too long, & we may go by sea. I have letters from Grant of the 3rd & 6th. I never saw a more confident army. The soldiers think I know everything and that they can do anything. The strength of Savannah lies in its swamps which can only be crossed by narrow causeways all of which are swept by heavy artillery. I came near being hit the 1st day, in approaching too near to reconnoiter. A negro’s head was shot off close by me.

The weather is and has been all we could have asked. It is now warm & pleasant, and the Live oaks are sublime, Japonicas in blossom in the open air, and the orange is but slightly touched by the Frost. I expect Rain soon and have heavy details at work corduroying the Roads, in anticipation of such an event. I have some heavy guns coming from Port Royal, and as soon as they come I shall demand the surrender of Savannah, but will not assault, as a few days will starve out its Garrison about 15,000, and its People 25,000. I do not apprehend any army to attempt to relieve Savannah, except Lee’s, and if he gives up Richmond it will be the best piece of strategy ever made, to make him let go there.

We have lived Sumptuously, turkeys, chickens and sweet potatoes all the way, but the poor women & children will starve. All I could tell them was, if Jeff Davis expects to found an empire on the ruins of the South, he ought to afford to feed the People. Charley promises to write fully. Dayton says he wrote yesterday, and the newspapers & mischief mongers will give you gorgeous details of our march across Georgia. It was just 30 days from Atlanta till I was sitting with the Admiral in a Sea Steamer at sea.

Grant’s letter of the 3rd proposed to bring you down to see me, but his of the 6th looked to my coming to James River. Await Events and trust to Fortune. I’ll turn up when & where you least expect me. I Should like to hear how you all are, but suppose of course you are at South Bend. Write me, care of Adjt. Genl. Washington D.C.

Love to all, Yours ever,
Sherman

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