When Major General William Sherman entered Savannah with the Union army on Dec. 22, 1864, he expected to burn and pillage it. Another stop along his long March to the Sea, Savannah should have lain in ruins by nightfall. But Sherman was said to be so taken by the beauty of the city that he could not bring himself to destroy it, and instead gave it to President Lincoln as a Christmas gift. A city of second chances, Savannah was founded in 1733 when British General James Oglethorpe arrived with 120 of England's poor and unemployed. The founding of the colony was seen as a fresh start for destitute citizens and a chance to increase trade for the kingdom. Soon though, the city's cotton cultivation revenues helped fill the coffers of the new United States instead. The Savannah Historic District hosts some of the most architecturally significant buildings in the state. Georgian, Greek Revival, and Gothic styles can all be found here under the city's ubiquitous Spanish moss.
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