While riding out of Atlanta on the morning of November 16, 1864, Sherman paused to look at the ruins of Atlanta behind him. In his memoirs he remembered the day vividly:
"We rode out of Atlanta by the Decatur road, filled by the marching troops and wagons of the Fourteenth Corps; and reaching the hill, just outside of the old rebel works, we naturally paused to look back upon the scenes of our past battles. We stood upon the very ground whereon was fought the bloody battle of July 22d, and could see the copse of wood where McPherson fell. Behind us lay Atlanta, smouldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in air, and hanging like a pall over the ruined city."
Sherman turned his 62,000 man army east and marched toward Savannah laying waste to the Georgia countryside. His goal was to break the South's ability to feed an army and wage war. Historians estimate that Sherman's army seized 5,000 horses, 4,000 mules, and 13,000 head of cattle. The army seized 9.5 million pounds of corn and 10.5 million pounds of fodder. Three hundred miles of railroads were destroyed along with numerous bridges and telegraph lines. Sherman himself estimated that he caused $100,000,00 in damages, $1.5 billion in today's money. His scorched earth policy did much to destroy the South's ability and desire to continue the war. On December 22 Sherman telegraphed President Lincoln and presented to him the city of Savannah as a Christmas present.