On December 22, 1864, United States General William Tecumseh Sherman sent a message to President Abraham 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.”
 
The capture of the rich port city of Savannah ended Sherman’s rampage through the state of Georgia, which began with the burning of Atlanta six weeks earlier. Sherman practiced a “scorched earth policy” on his campaign. “We are not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war,” Sherman wrote. To force Georgians to feel the “hard hand of war,” Sherman and his troops destroyed hundreds of kilometers of railroads, bridges, and telegraph lines. They burned crops and confiscated livestock
 
Sherman and his troops traveled east from Atlanta without secure supply lines or even reliable methods of communication. They were escorted by a cavalry unit made up of Southerners loyal to the Union, and were joined by thousands of refugees—most of them former slaves.
ammunition
Noun
material fired, scattered, dropped, or detonated from a weapon, including bombs and bullets.
bale
Noun

bundle of cotton weighing 227 kilograms (500 pounds).

campaign
Noun

activities designed to achieve a social, political, or military goal.

cavalry
Noun

military unit that serves on horseback.

city
Noun

large settlement with a high population density.

communication
Noun

sharing of information and ideas.

confiscate
Verb

to take or seize by some authority.

Noun

agricultural produce.

destroy
Verb

to ruin or make useless.

disaster
Noun

terrible and damaging event.

escort
Verb

to accompany or guide.

hostile
Adjective

confrontational or unfriendly.

livestock
noun, plural noun

animals raised for sale and profit.

organize
Verb

to coordinate and give structure to.

Noun

place on a body of water where ships can tie up or dock and load and unload cargo.

present
Verb

to formally offer or submit.

railroad
Noun

road constructed with metal tracks on which trains travel.

rampage
Noun

somewhat uncontrolled, violent behavior.

Noun

person who flees their home, usually due to natural disaster or political upheaval.

reliable
Adjective

dependable or consistent.

scorched earth policy
Noun

a military strategy which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area.

secure
Verb

to guarantee, or make safe and certain.

slave
Noun

person who is owned by another person or group of people.

supply
Noun

amount of a product that is available to consumers.

telegraph
Noun

system of communication involving devices connected through electrical wires.

troop
Noun

a soldier.

Union
Adjective

having to do with states supporting the United States (north) during the U.S. Civil War.

war
Noun

large-scale armed conflict.

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