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In Their Own Words

December 06, 1864

Words of Praise for Sherman

Gen. William T. Sherman’s secretary, Maj. Henry Hitchcock, wrote in his diary for today:

“By dispatches of today we learn that XX’s advance is now a little ahead of ours, on the Springfield road. Davis XIV advance was at Buck’s P.O. last night and will be tonight at Sister’s Ferry on Savannah River … . XVII is at Ogeechee Church - and Howard’s XV w. of Ogeechee River, is at Branham’s Store. Howard has all facilities for crossing the river if necessary, and there is nothing between him and us to interfere, nor can be. Tomorrow we move again ‘on Savannah.’”

“I begin now to understand as never before what a science war is in the hands of a master, and what ‘strategy’ means. We have had an easy march, practically without opposition, because our movements have been directed as to utterly confound the enemy, and to circumvent him - literally. They have done exactly right five times in abandoning their purpose to stand and fight, - because each time our position gave us great advantage.”

Source: M.A. DeWolfe Howe (ed.), Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), pp. 148-149.