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Savannah, A Christmas Gift: Southern City in the Civil War Cross-Hairs (1861-1865)

SAVANNAH Georgia (November 12, 2013) — The South’s storytelling makes history come alive. Come for a Savannah visit during the Christmas holidays — a time centric to the American Civil War when most people of Savannah and Georgia supported the southern Confederacy.

What did a Federal Treasury agent, Albert Gallatine Browne, do to earn his place in Savannah’s Civil War history?

Civil War Savannah GA | Harper's Weekly illustration

Civil War illustration from Harper’s Weekly (printed February 11, 1865), sketched depicts troops in review on in front of the City Exchange (City Hall) Bay Street at Bull Street — U.S. Custom House in Savannah, Georgia (background).

It was Browne who suggested to General William Sherman that the general make Savannah a Christmas gift to President Abraham Lincoln. The general’s telegram arrived to Lincoln on Christmas Eve 1864. Source: General Sherman’s Christmas: Savannah 1864 by Stanley Weintraub, Albert Brown [sic Alfred in Mr. Weintraub’s book]

Is Browne the treasury agent who confiscated and later returned the bales of cotton owned by Juliette Gordon’s mother?  In legal actions, like this one again Browne, 1,864 bales (928,106 lbs.) of southern grown cotton were in dispute.

Visit Fort Pulaski National Monument, one of the first battle sites of the Civil War. Attend a candle lantern evening at the fort, Friday, December 13 or Saturday, December 14, 2013.

Of course, we’d love for you to stay at our cozy Green Palm Inn, two seamen’s cottages (ca. 1897) near Greene Square and the Savannah waterfront.  It was on Greene Square at the Second African Baptist Church that General Sherman proclaimed, “Forty Acres and a Mule” would be given to freed slaves of the South (January 16, 1865).

Did you know there was a hymn written during the Civil War with words rhyming words “hosanna” and “Savannah”?

Sherman’s in Savannah.

LIKE the tribes of Israel,
Fed on quails and manna,
Sherman and his glorious band
Journeyed through the rebel land
Fed from Heaven’s all bounteous hand,
Marching on Savannah.

As the moving pillar shone
streamed the starry banner,
All the day in rosy light,
Beaming glory all the night,
Till it swooped in eagle flight
Down on doomed Savannah.

Glory be to God on high!
Shout the loud hosanna!
Treason’s wilderness is past,
Canaan’s shore is won at last;
Peal a nation’s trumpet-blast,–
Sherman’s in Savannah!


Albert Gallatin Browne was born in Salem, Mass., on December 8, 1805, to James Browne and Lydia Vincent Browne. Before the Civil War, Browne was a partner in the ship chandler and ropemaker firm of Whiton, Browne, and Wheelwright of Boston and Salem. During the Civil War, Browne served as the special supervising agent, 5th Special Agency of the U.S. Treasury Department in Beaufort, Port Royal, and Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. He was in charge of seizing supplies and goods left behind by the Confederate Army for shipment to the North and supervising trade and commerce in areas of the Confederacy occupied by U.S. forces. Under certain acts, the agency received and collected abandoned, captured, and seizable property. Albert G. Browne died in 1885. Source: Massachuchett’s Historical Society

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