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Good question.

Grant had told Sherman to "make Georgia howl", and Sherman had not been slow to follow orders - destroying farms, wrecking railroads, totally devastating Southern morale.

To burn down the wonderful city of Savannah, as he had earlier burned down Atlanta, would have been the supreme punitive measure. So why didn't he do it?

As he stopped in the outskirts of Savannah, he was certainly preparing for a major battle with the Confederates occupying the city, which would have caused a lot of damage, even if he had stopped short of actual arson.

But the Confederate army escaped across the river into South Carolina (the state that had started the war), and Sherman's thoughts were no longer on Georgia. There were enemy to be pursued and fresh punitive raids to be carried out in the Palmetto State, where he would take his troops a few weeks later.

There remains one touching anecdote about Sherman's reluctance to harm Savannah. Apparently he had once loved a girl from there, and identified the city with her memory. Recently a piece of semi-fiction was published on this theme, in which the lady herself makes an appearance, though there is no historical record of this ever happening.

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13y ago
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13y ago

Sherman thought their was a treasure in Savannah that the union army needed.

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Q: Why wasn't Savannah burned during the civil war?
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