In capturing Savannah
not only obtained a great prize in ordnance and cotton, which, after a fashion somewhat Oriental
, he designated as a “Christmas gift” to his master in Washington
He also obtained a position of great military value.
From the banks of the Savannah River
, he beheld opened before him all the avenues into and through South Carolina
, and discovered a new route, reaching to what had now become the last and contracted theatre of war in the Confederacy
The Northern newspapers declared that when Sherman
's legions looked across the Savannah
to the shores of Carolina
, they sent up a “howl of delight.”
There was a terrible gladness in the realization of so many hopes and wishes — in seeing the most hated State of the South
almost prostrate, and offering the prospect of outrage with impunity.
It had been the first idea of Gen. Grant
, anticipating the arrival of Sherman
, that, after establishing a base on the sea-coast, with necessary garrison to include all his artillery and cavalry, he should come by water to City Point
with the remainder of his command, to ensure the capture of Lee
's army or to smother it with numbers.
But this plan of operations was changed.
“On the 18th of December,” writes Gen. Grant
, “having received information of the defeat and utter rout of Hood
's army by Gen. Thomas
, and that, owing to the great difficulty of procuring ocean transportation, it would take over two months to transport Sherman
's army, and doubting whether he might not contribute as much towards the desired result by operating from where he was, I wrote to him to that effect, and asked him for his views as to what would be best to do. A few days after this I received a communication from Gen. Sherman
, of date of 16th of December, acknowledging the receipt of my order of the 6th, and informing me of his preparations to carry it into effect as soon as he could get transportation.
Also, that he had expected upon reducing Savannah
, instantly to march to Columbia, South Carolina
, thence to Raleigh
, and thence to report to me; but that this would consume about six weeks time after the fall of Savannah
, whereas by sea he could probably reach me by the middle of January.
The confidence he manifested in this letter of being able to march up and join me, pleased me; and, without waiting for a reply to my letter of the 18th, I directed him, on the 28th of December, to make preparations to start, as he proposed, without delay, to break up the railroads in North
and South Carolina
, and join the armies operating against Richmond
, as soon as he could.”
The middle of January saw Sherman
's troops actually in motion for the Carolina
His right wing, under Howard
, was taken by