7 thoughts on “December 22, 1864: Christmas Comes Early

  1. Leo December 22, 2014 / 6:45 pm

    I can’t make out every word, but I’m still impressed.

    • Andy Hall December 22, 2014 / 11:04 pm

      Savannah, Dec 22 1864

      To his Excellency,
      President Lincoln

      I beg to present you as a Christmas Gift the City of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.

      W. T. Sherman
      Maj Genl

      One of the most famous messages of the war.

  2. Bert December 23, 2014 / 1:56 pm

    This may be a dumb question… the top seems to say “By telegraph from Fort Monroe.” So is this written by Sherman for his telegrapher, or is this note in the hand of the receiving telegrapher?

    And yes, the only possibly more famous message of the war might be “No terms, except unconditional and immediate surrender, can be accepted. I propose to move immediately on your works.”

    • John Foskett December 24, 2014 / 12:13 pm

      I believe that Sherman wrote out the message (obviously not a telegram) and had it delivered from Savannah to .Fortress Monroe by steamer. From that point it would have been telegraphed to Washington. I’d guess that the entry at the top is the telegrapher’s notation recording how it was sent to Washington.

      • hankc9174 December 25, 2014 / 12:05 pm

        I always wondered how this message was transmitted. How long for a packet steamer to get to Fort monroe? But was there telegraph connection from there to Washington?

        • Andy Hall December 25, 2014 / 1:37 pm

          Four hundred seventy-five nautical miles, give or take, so call it 60 hours at 8 knots. Less with a fast dispatch steamer and cooperative winter weather off Hatteras.

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