A tie might have been more appropriate. But it was 1864, the country was locked in a nasty civil war and the Christmas spirit was wearing a little thin, even among the Whos down in Whoville. Union General William T. Sherman had spent most of his holiday season marching from Atlanta toward the Atlantic Ocean, being quite the Grinch along the way, destroying pretty much everything in his path. “I’ll stop Christmas from coming” he was heard to frequently mutter.
Sherman and his troops reached Savannah just before Christmas and, as the story goes, his heart grew three sizes that day. He didn’t destroy Savannah. Instead he sent a junior officer all the way back to Washington D.C. to personally deliver a Christmas card to President Lincoln on December 22. A message in the card read: “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.” And a partridge in a pear tree.