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[171]

‘But to-day fair Savannah is ours’ Byers' line celebrates a triumph fresh when this charming view of the Savannah River was taken. Drooping live-oaks and tangled vines give the scene an air of almost tropical luxuriance. The far gleam of the river from across the level marshes adds just the picture to accompany the song ‘that echoed o'er river and lea.’ The march from Atlanta to Savannah is the operation usually thought of when the famous phrase, ‘March to the Sea’ is uttered. It was November 15, 1864, when Sherman's army ‘swept out from Atlanta's grim walls’ after the total destruction of the military resources of the city. The undertaking was considered one of unparalleled daring. For more than a month the North heard not a word of Sherman and his men. Conjectures as to his whereabouts and activities were of the wildest. But, as a matter of fact, the undertaking was proving one long holiday. There were no Confederate troops sufficient to check the Northern forces. Their foraging parties provided all the soldiers could desire. Indeed, Sherman wrote his wife, ‘We have lived sumptuously,—turkeys, chickens, and sweet potatoes all the way.’ Yet the greatness of the expedition grew on him. Before the end of the year he wrote, ‘Like one who has walked a narrow plank, I look back and wonder if I really did it.’ He did well to wonder. The journals of the civilized world were loud in his praise. Scores of poems heralded him. Byers' song gave additional fame by its captivatingly romantic title.

 

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