Union occupation of Savannah, Georgia
Union forces led by Maj. Gen. William Sherman reached Savannah near the Georgia coast in December 1864, and the news spread quickly throughout Northern newspapers this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. "Savannah Occupied by Gen. Sherman" read one headline on a dispatch from The Associated Press dated Dec. 25, 1864. It said Sherman had recently taken 800 prisoners, guns and ammunition. And in a famous line remembered long after, Sherman wrote President Abraham Lincoln: "I beg to present to you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousands bales of cotton." AP dispatches said Confederate ironclad vessels were blown up and the navy yard burned at Savannah. The dispatch said the city of some 20,000 was quiet, and one officer called it an "almost bloodless victory."