A little less than 150 years ago, or in late December of 1864, the city of Savannah surrendered to Union troops led by General William Tecumseh Sherman. Here is the message sent by Sherman to Confederate General William J. Hardee on 12.17.64:
Gen. Sherman and troops entering Savannah just before Christmas 1864.
“I have already received guns that can cast heavy and destructive shot as far as the heart of your city. Also, I have for some days held and controlled every avenue by which the people and garrison of Savannah can be supplied, and I am therefore justified in demanding the surrender of the city of Savannah, and its dependent forts, and shall wait a reasonable time for your answer, before opening with heavy ordnance. Should you entertain the proposition, I am prepared to grant liberal terms to the inhabitants and garrison; but should I be forced to resort to assault, or the slower and surer process of starvation, I shall then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and shall make little effort to restrain my army — burning to avenge the national wrong which they attach to Savannah and other large cities which have been so prominent in dragging our country into civil war.”
While in Savannah, Sherman stayed at the Green-Meldrim House, 14 West Macon St — about seven or eight blocks from the Marshall House.
The following was posted from Savannah by an un-named N.Y. Times correspondent on 12.31.64:
“Quiet reigns in Savannah. With a good sense and judgment that contrasts favorably with the conduct of the New-Orleans Secessionists, when that city was first occupied by Gen. BUTLER, the citizens here submit gracefully to the rule of the successful invaders, and from the first hour of the occupation by our troops till now, have wisely abstained from every kind of aggressive demonstration. To the praise of our soldiers, it should also be recorded that they have exhibited the utmost consideration toward the people of the city, and have, one and all, studiously refrained from every act that could be possibly construed as an affront to their sensitive and wounded pride. The natural consequence of this mutual forbearance is witnessed in the pleasant spirit of cordiality, and even fraternity, that begins to exist between the ‘invaders’ and the citizens, and from which we hope for the best results in the future. It shows that the ‘undying Southern hate’ for Yankees, which rebel papers love to prate about, is a ferocious delusion, that exists only in rebel print.”