Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To William T. Sherman [1]

Executive Mansion, Washington,
My dear General Sherman. Dec. 26, 1864.

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 partPage  182 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 A. LINCOLN.

Annotation

[1]   ALS, DLC; LS copy, DLC-Stanton Papers. The signed copy in the Stanton Papers is in John Hay's handwriting and is endorsed by Lincoln at the top of the first page ``(Original sent by Gen. Logan).'' General Sherman's despatch to Lincoln from Savannah, Georgia, via Fort Monroe, Virginia, December 22, 1864, was received on December 25: ``I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25000 bales of cotton.'' (DLC-RTL).

Sherman replied on January 6, 1865: ``I am gratified at the receipt of your letter of Dec 26, at the hand of General Logan. Especially to observe that you appreciate the division I made of my army, and that each part was duly proportioned to its work. The motto, `Nothing ventured Nothing won' which you refer to is most appropriate, and should I venture too much and happen to lose I shall bespeak your charitable influence. I am ready for the Great Next as soon as I can complete certain preliminaries, and learn of Genl Grant his and your preference of intermediate `objectives.' '' (DLC-RTL).