Gen. Sherman has given to the nation a magnificent Christmas Gift. The city of Savannah, which the rebels boasted they would defend to the last, is ours. The rebel Gen. Hardee, anticipating a movement to cut off his retreat, evacuated the place on the 20th, crossing to the north side of the Savannah river, leaving 150 heavy guns, a large amount of ammunition and material, $20,000,000 worth of cotton, railroad stock, 800 rebel prisoners, &c. The only thing that prevents the capture from proving a complete success, is the fact that Gen. Hardee escaped with the main body of his army. Had he remained a day or two longer, it is evident his escape would have been prevented, and this consideration hastened his departure. It remains to be seen, however, whether he will be successful in getting off his whole force or not, as Gen. Foster has been understood for some time past to be between Savannah and Charleston.
As it is, the result is a glorious one, and will thrill the hearts of loyal men with enthusiasm. It is the crowning triumph of Gen. Sherman's most extraordinary march, and affords another evidence that the rebellion is hastening to its downfall.
The occupation of the city of Savannah, it is believed, will give to our gunboats the control of the Savannah river to Augusta, thus separating the Gulf from the Atlantic States.
It is evident that the bolt is preparing to fall upon Wilmington next, and advices from that quarter will be looked for with intense interest. We attributed little importance at present to the reported capture of Fort Eisher, the principal defence at the mouth of Cape Fear river, and prefer to wait for its repetition, at least, before putting implicit faith in it.
We are at last obtaining from rebel sources, some information in reference to Gen. Davidson's raid from Baton Rouge, which proves to have been much more extensive than we had suspected. It is now reluctantly confessed that it extended over the southern part of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and the western part of Florida. The rebels at Mobile seem to have been too weak to attempt any defence of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and the expedition therefore crossed that road meeting with but little resistance. Gen. Davidson's command is reported to have reached Pascagoola on the Gulf coast west of Mobile, though we should think it more probably, from the course the expedition is reported to have taken, that Pensacola, in western Florida, is intended.
We have some additional news of Hood's disaster in Tennessee. It is estimated that his total losses in his recent campaign have amounted to over 24,000 men, and 57 guns, besides other material. The fate of the remnant of his force is undetermined.
The winter campaign in the Gulf and Southern Atlantic States promises to be a most active and fruitful one. The result of the expedition against Savannah has proved that all the strongholds of the rebels on the coast can be reduced in the same manner by a rear attack. Charleston will probably receive Sherman's attention next.