In view of this destruction, it is understandable that Sherman quoted "war is hell" (Sherman, William T.,Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. Westport, Conn.:Greenwood Press, 1972). Finally, on December 20, Sherman's men reached the city of Savannah and from there Sherman telegraphed to 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" (Sherman, William T., Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. Westport, Conn.:Greenwood Press, 1972.
Grant had decided that the only way to win and finish the war would be to attack with numbers. He knew that the Federal forces held more than a modest advantage in terms of men and supplies. This in mind, Grant directed Sherman to turn around and start heading back toward Virginia. He immediately started making preparations to provide assistance to Sherman on the journey. General John M. Schofield and his men were to detach from the Army of the Cumberland, which had just embarrassingly defeated the Confederates at Nashville, and proceed toward North Carolina. His final destination was to be Goldsboro, which was roughly half the distance between Savannah and Rich