On January 16, 1865, Union General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15 which confiscated as Federal property a strip of coastal land extending about 30 miles inland from the Atlantic and stretching from Charleston, South Carolina 245 miles south to Jacksonville, Florida. The order gave most of the roughly 400,000 acres to newly emancipated slaves in forty-acre sections. Those lands became the basis for the slogan “forty acres and a mule” based on the belief that ex-slaves throughout the old Confederacy would be given the confiscated lands of former plantation owners.