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

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  Chapter XIV   SHERMAN with an army of 60,000, which was substantially the same as that which he had led from Atlanta to Savannah, started northward from Savannah on February 1, in the execution of a plan devised by himself, and on March 23 reached Goldsborough, North Carolina, having covered the 425 miles in fifty days. His progress to the sea had been a frolic; the march northward a long wrestle with the elements. At the outset the first division encountered a deluging rain, causing a rise in the Savannah river which burst its dikes, washed over the road and nearly drowned many of the troops. Waiting until this flood abated and passing successfully the difficulties occasioned by the high water in the neighborhood of Savannah, the army plunged into the swamps of the Combahee and Edisto, and floundered through the flat quagmires of the river countries of the Pedee and Cape Fear. They crossed five large navigable rivers,—which the almost continuous rains of the winter had converted into lakes,—at times marching through icy water waist deep. “One day,” as Sherman related the incident, “while my men were wading a river which was surrounded for miles by swamps on each side, after they had been in the water for about an hour without much prospect of reaching the other side, one of them cried out to his chum, ‘Say, Tommy, I’m blowed if I don’t believe we’ve struck this river lengthways!’” 1 Where the country was not actually under water, there was deep mud; the incessant downpour made roads which were always
Note 1. Horace Porter, Century, Sept. 1897, 739. [back]