Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Abraham Lincoln to Major General William T. Sherman, December 26, 1864

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Dec. 26, 1864.

My dear General Sherman.

Many, many, thanks for your Christmas-gift – the capture of Savannah.

When you were about leaving Atlanta for the Atlantic coast, I was anxious, if not fearful; but feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that “nothing risked, nothing gained” I did not interfere. Now, the undertaking being a success, the honor is all yours; for I believe none of us went farther than to acquiesce. And, taking the work of Gen. Thomas into the count, as it should be taken, it is indeed a great success. Not only does it afford the obvious and immediate military advantages; but, in showing to the world that your army could be divided, putting the stronger part to an important new service, and yet leaving enough to vanquish the old opposing force of the whole – Hood's army – it brings those who sat in darkness, to see a great light. But what next? I suppose it will be safer if I leave Gen. Grant and yourself to decide.

Please make my grateful acknowledgments to your whole army, officers and men.

Yours very truly

SOURCES: Roy P. Basler, editor, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume , p. 181-2. This letter can also be found among the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.

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