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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

December 16, 1864

Sherman Wrote Grant on Hardee’s Helpless Condition

From outside Savannah, General William T. Sherman wrote to General Ulysses S. Grant on the hopeless condition of native Georgian General William J. Hardee, who commanded what little Confederate forces available to defend Savannah.

“… If General Hardee is alarmed, or fears starvation, he may surrender; otherwise I will bombard the city … . I think Hardee, in Savannah, has good artillerists, some 5,000 or 6,000 infantry, and it may be a mongrel mass of 8,000 to 10,000 militia… . There must be 25,000 citizens – men, women, and children – in Savannah that must also be fed, and how he is to feed them beyond a few days I cannot imagine, as I know that his requisitions for corn on the interior counties were not filled, and we are in possession of the rice fields and mills which could alone be of service to him in this neighborhood. He can draw nothing from South Carolina, save from a small corner down in the southeast, and that by a disused wagon road… .” Source: U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1893, reprinted by The National Historical Society, 1971), Series I, Vol. XLIV, pp. 726-728.