“I knocked daylight through Georgia, and in retreating to the s[outh] like a sensible man I gathered up some plunder and walked into this beautiful City, whilst you & Thomas gave Hood Forest, a taste of what they have to Expect by trying to meddle with our Conquered Territory…”
On December 21, 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army ended his March to the Sea upon reaching Savannah, Georgia. The campaign began on November 15 of that year, when Sherman and his troops left Atlanta, Georgia. Along the way, Sherman and his troops destroyed military targets, industry, infrastructure and civilian property. This letter was written one month after the end of Sherman’s successful campaign to General James H. Wilson who had been put in charge of Sherman’s cavalry.
I got yours of January 5, and am glad to reciprocate your Kind expressions. I remember well our talks at the Camp fire at Gaylesville and think we have Cause of personal Congratulation that we have worked out the Calculation of that time. I knocked daylight through Georgia, and in retreating to the s[outh] like a sensible man I gathered up some plunder and walked into this beautiful City, whilst you & Thomas gave Hood Forest, a taste of what they have to Expect by trying to meddle with our Conquered Territory. Kirkpatrick did very well and by Circling round pretty freely he Completely bamboozled Wheeler and so befuddled Hardee that he had no idea what was going on. – It is time for me to be off again for Columbia, but it has been raining hard and the Country is all under water, but I will soon be off. Kirkpatrick will have to keep close to our Infantry as Wheeler has a superior force but Kirkpatrick did whip him fairly at Waynesboro and thinks he can do it [ag]ain. I want Thomas to make the trip to Selma but can only give him general instructions.
I know that there is plenty of Forage in Alabama after you get 60 miles south of the Tennessee River all along down the Tombigbee and Black [Rivers] to arrive in large fields of Corn last fall, also below Talladega on the Coosa. The proper Route is from Decatur & Eastport to Columbia, then Tuscaloosa, Selma, and up the Coosa or Tallapoosa to Rome.
[written in another hand]
My route north is well inland
W. T. Sherman