James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  of Sherman, the only news of him was from the Richmond newspapers which came through Grant’s lines and from other Southern journals, copious extracts from which were printed in the Northern dailies. The President was apprehensive for his safety; and, if Grant’s recollection be correct, there was for a time considerable anxiety among people at the North who had husbands, sons or brothers in the invading army. The first word of his security was received in Washington on the evening of December 14; four days later came a despatch from Sherman himself, saying that he had opened communication with the fleet. On the night of December 20 the Confederates evacuated Savannah. Sherman took possession of the city and sent his celebrated despatch to President Lincoln, who received it opportunely on the evening of Christmas Day. “I beg to present you,” the General said, “as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” 1  12   When the balance of probabilities seemed to indicate that Hood would invade Tennessee, Sherman, on parting with General J. D. Cox, whom he was sending northward, said, “If there’s to be any hard fighting you will have it to do.” 2 This turned out to be the case. Tempted by the division of the Union Army and aiming to “distract Sherman’s advance into Georgia,” 3 Hood on November 21 took the offensive and began his movement upon Nashville. His energy and alertness secured for him the advantage of superior numbers over General John M. Schofield, who endeavored to retard the Confederate advance so that Thomas might gain time for a concentration of the Union
Note 1. Authorities: O. R., XXXIX, Pts. 1, 2, 3; XLIV; XLV, Pt. 2; V; W. Sherman; J. D. Cox; Force; Nichols; Whitelaw Reid, I. [back]
Note 2. J. D. Cox, 21; do. Reminiscences, II, 326. [back]
Note 3. O. R., XLV, Pt. 1, 1215. [back]