The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Vol. II., Part 3
William T. Sherman

Part 3 out of 4

on until you have a force that is numerically double that of your
antagonist, so that with one part you can watch him, and with the
other push out boldly from your left flank, occupy the Southside
Railroad, compel him to attack you in position, or accept battle on
your own terms.

We ought to ask our country for the largest possible armies that
can be raised, as so important a thing as the self-existence of a
great nation should not be left to the fickle chances of war.

Now that Mobile is shut out to the commerce of our enemy, it calls
for no further effort on our part, unless the capture of the city
can be followed by the occupation of the Alabama River and the
railroad to Columbus, Georgia, when that place would be a
magnificent auxiliary to my further progress into Georgia; but,
until General Canby is much reinforced, and until he can more
thoroughly subdue the scattered armies west of the Mississippi, I
suppose that much cannot be attempted by him against the Alabama
River and Columbus, Georgia.

The utter destruction of Wilmington, North Carolina, is of
importance only in connection with the necessity of cutting off all
foreign trade to our enemy, and if Admiral Farragut can get across
the bar, and move quickly, I suppose he will succeed. From my
knowledge of the mouth of Cape Fear River, I anticipate more
difficulty in getting the heavy ships across the bar than in
reaching the town of Wilmington; but, of course, the soundings of
the channel are well known at Washington, as well as the draught of
his iron-clads, so that it must be demonstrated to be feasible, or
else it would not be attempted. If successful, I suppose that Fort
Caswell will be occupied, and the fleet at once sent to the
Savannah River. Then the reduction of that city is the next
question. It once in our possession, and the river open to us, I
would not hesitate to cross the State of Georgia with sixty
thousand men, hauling some stores, and depending on the country for
the balance. Where a million of people find subsistence, my army
won't starve; but, as you know, in a country like Georgia, with few
roads and innumerable streams, an inferior force can so delay an
army and harass it, that it would not be a formidable object; but
if the enemy knew that we had our boats in the Savannah River I
could rapidly move to Milledgeville, where there is abundance of
corn and meat, and could so threaten Macon and Augusta that the
enemy world doubtless give up Macon for Augusta; then I would move
so as to interpose between Augusta and Savannah, and force him to
give us Augusta, with the only powder-mills and factories remaining
in the South, or let us have the use of the Savannah River. Either
horn of the dilemma will be worth a battle. I would prefer his
holding Augusta (as the probabilities are); for then, with the
Savannah River in our possession, the taking of Augusta would be a
mere matter of time. This campaign can be made in the winter.

But the more I study the game, the more am I convinced that it
would be wrong for us to penetrate farther into Georgia without an
objective beyond. It would not be productive of much good. I can
start east and make a circuit south and back, doing vast damage to
the State, but resulting in no permanent good; and by mere
threatening to do so, I hold a rod over the Georgians, who are not
over-loyal to the South. I will therefore give it as my opinion
that your army and Canby's should be reinforced to the maximum;
that, after you get Wilmington, you should strike for Savannah and
its river; that General Canby should hold the Mississippi River,
and send a force to take Columbus, Georgia, either by way of the
Alabama or Appalachicola River; that I should keep Hood employed
and put my army in fine order for a march on Augusta, Columbia, and
Charleston; and start as soon as Wilmington is sealed to commerce,
and the city of Savannah is in our possession.

I think it will be found that the movements of Price and Shelby,
west of the Mississippi, are mere diversions. They cannot hope to
enter Missouri except as raiders; and the truth is, that General
Rosecrans should be ashamed to take my troops for such a purpose.
If you will secure Wilmington and the city of Savannah from your
centre, and let General Canby leave command over the Mississippi
River and country west of it, I will send a force to the Alabama
and Appalachicola, provided you give me one hundred thousand of the
drafted men to fill up my old regiments; and if you will fix a day
to be in Savannah, I will insure our possession of Macon and a
point on the river below Augusta. The possession of the Savannah
River is more than fatal to the possibility of Southern
independence. They may stand the fall of Richmond, but not of all

I will have a long talk with Colonel Porter, and tell him every
thing that may occur to me of interest to you.

In the mean time, know that I admire your dogged perseverance and
pluck more than ever. If you can whip Lee and I can march to the
Atlantic, I think Uncle Abe will give us a twenty days' leave of
absence to see the young folks.

Yours as ever,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

WASHINGTON, September 16, 1864.

General W. T. SHERMAN, Atlanta, Georgia.

My DEAR GENERAL: Your very interesting letter of the 4th is just
received. Its perusal has given me the greatest pleasure. I have
not written before to congratulate you on the capture of Atlanta,
the objective point of your brilliant campaign, for the reason that
I have been suffering from my annual attack of "coryza," or
hay-cold. It affects my eyes so much that I can scarcely see to
write. As you suppose, I have watched your movements most
attentively and critically, and I do not hesitate to say that your
campaign has been the most brilliant of the war. Its results are
less striking and less complete than those of General Grant at
Vicksburg, but then you have had greater difficulties to encounter,
a longer line of communications to keep up, and a longer and more
continuous strain upon yourself and upon your army.

You must have been very considerably annoyed by the State negro
recruiting-agents. Your letter was a capital one, and did much
good. The law was a ridiculous one; it was opposed by the War
Department, but passed through the influence of Eastern
manufacturers, who hoped to escape the draft in that way. They
were making immense fortunes out of the war, and could well afford
to purchase negro recruits, and thus save their employees at home.

I fully agree with you in regard to the policy of a stringent
draft; but, unfortunately, political influences are against us, and
I fear it will not amount to much. Mr. Seward's speech at Auburn,
again prophesying, for the twentieth time, that the rebellion would
be crushed in a few months, and saying that there would be no
draft, as we now had enough soldiers to end the war, etc., has done
much harm, in a military point of view. I have seen enough of
politics here to last me for life. You are right in avoiding them.
McClellan may possibly reach the White House, but he will lose the
respect of all honest, high-minded patriots, by his affiliation
with such traitors and Copperheads as B---, V---, W---, S---, & Co.
He would not stand upon the traitorous Chicago platform, but he had
not the manliness to oppose it. A major-general in the United
States Army, and yet not one word to utter against rebels or the
rebellion! I had much respect for McClellan before he became a
politician, but very little after reading his letter accepting the

Hooker certainly made a mistake in leaving before the capture of
Atlanta. I understand that, when here, he said that you would
fail; your army was discouraged and dissatisfied, etc., etc. He is
most unmeasured in his abuse of me. I inclose you a specimen of
what he publishes in Northern papers, wherever he goes. They are
dictated by himself and written by W. B. and such worthies. The
funny part of the business is, that I had nothing whatever to do
with his being relieved on either occasion. Moreover, I have never
said any thing to the President or Secretary of War to injure him
in the slightest degree, and he knows that perfectly well. His
animosity arises from another source. He is aware that I know some
things about his character and conduct in California, and, fearing
that I may use that information against him, he seeks to ward off
its effect by making it appear that I am his personal enemy, am
jealous of him, etc. I know of no other reason for his hostility
to me. He is welcome to abuse me as much as he pleases; I don't
think it will do him much good, or me much harm. I know very
little of General Howard, but believe him to be a true, honorable
man. Thomas is also a noble old war-horse. It is true, as you
say, that he is slow, but he is always sure.

I have not seen General Grant since the fall of Atlanta, and do not
know what instructions he has sent you. I fear that Canby has not
the means to do much by way of Mobile. The military effects of
Banks's disaster are now showing themselves by the threatened
operations of Price & Co. toward Missouri, thus keeping in check
our armies west of the Mississippi.

With many thanks for your kind letter, and wishes for your future
success, yours truly,


ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 20, 1864.

Major General HALLECK, Chief of Staff, Washington D.C.

GENERAL: I have the honor herewith to submit copies of a
correspondence between General Hood, of the Confederate Army, the
Mayor of Atlanta, and myself, touching the removal of the
inhabitants of Atlanta.

In explanation of the tone which marks some of these letters, I
will only call your attention to the fact that, after I had
announced my determination, General Hood took upon himself to
question my motives. I could not tamely submit to such
impertinence; and I have also seen that, in violation of all
official usage, he has published in the Macon newspapers such parts
of the correspondence as suited his purpose. This could have had
no other object than to create a feeling on the part of the people;
but if he expects to resort to such artifices, I think I can meet
him there too.

It is sufficient for my Government to know that the removal of the
inhabitants has been made with liberality and fairness, that it has
been attended with no force, and that no women or children have
suffered, unless for want of provisions by their natural protectors
and friends.

My real reasons for this step were:

We want all the houses of Atlanta for military storage and

We want to contract the lines of defense, so as to diminish the
garrison to the limit necessary to defend its narrow and vital
parts, instead of embracing, as the lines now do, the vast suburbs.
This contraction of the lines, with the necessary citadels and
redoubts, will make it necessary to destroy the very houses used by
families as residences.

Atlanta is a fortified town, was stubbornly defended, and fairly
captured. As captors, we have a right to it.

The residence here of a poor population would compel us, sooner or
later, to feed them or to see them starve under our eyes.

The residence here of the families of our enemies would be a
temptation and a means to keep up a correspondence dangerous and
hurtful to our cause; a civil population calls for provost-guards,
and absorbs the attention of officers in listening to everlasting
complaints and special grievances that are not military.

These are my reasons; and, if satisfactory to the Government of the
United States, it makes no difference whether it pleases General
Hood and his people or not. I am, with respect, your obedient

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 7, 1864.

General HOOD, commanding Confederate Army.

GENERAL: I have deemed it to the interest of the United States that
the citizens now residing in Atlanta should remove, those who
prefer it to go south, and the rest north. For the latter I can
provide food and transportation to points of their election in
Tennessee, Kentucky, or farther north. For the former I can
provide transportation by cars as far as Rough and Ready, and also
wagons; but, that their removal may be made with as little
discomfort as possible, it will be necessary for you to help the
families from Rough and Ready to the care at Lovejoy's. If you
consent, I will undertake to remove all the families in Atlanta who
prefer to go south to Rough and Ready, with all their movable
effects, viz., clothing, trunks, reasonable furniture, bedding,
etc., with their servants, white and black, with the proviso that
no force shall be used toward the blacks, one way or the other. If
they want to go with their masters or mistresses, they may do so;
otherwise they will be sent away, unless they be men, when they may
be employed by our quartermaster. Atlanta is no place for families
or non-combatants, and I have no desire to send them north if you
will assist in conveying them south. If this proposition meets
your views, I will consent to a truce in the neighborhood of Rough
and Ready, stipulating that any wagons, horses, animals, or persons
sent there for the purposes herein stated, shall in no manner be
harmed or molested; you in your turn agreeing that any care,
wagons, or carriages, persons or animals sent to the same point,
shall not be interfered with. Each of us might send a guard of,
say, one hundred men, to maintain order, and limit the truce to,
say, two days after a certain time appointed.

I have authorized the mayor to choose two citizens to convey to you
this letter, with such documents as the mayor may forward in
explanation, and shall await your reply. I have the honor to be
your obedient servant.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding United States Forces in

GENERAL: Your letter of yesterday's date, borne by James M. Ball
and James R. Crew, citizens of Atlanta, is received. You say
therein, "I deem it to be to the interest of the United States that
the citizens now residing in Atlanta should remove," etc. I do not
consider that I have any alternative in this matter. I therefore
accept your proposition to declare a truce of two days, or such
time as may be necessary to accomplish the purpose mentioned, and
shall render all assistance in my power to expedite the
transportation of citizens in this direction. I suggest that a
staff-officer be appointed by you to superintend the removal from
the city to Rough and Ready, while I appoint a like officer to
control their removal farther south; that a guard of one hundred
men be sent by either party as you propose, to maintain order at
that place, and that the removal begin on Monday next.

And now, sir, permit me to say that the unprecedented measure you
propose transcends, in studied and ingenious cruelty, all acts ever
before brought to my attention in the dark history of war.

In the name of God and humanity, I protest, believing that you will
find that you are expelling from their homes and firesides the
wives and children of a brave people. I am, general, very
respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. HOOD, General.

IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 10, 1864.

General J. B. HOOD, commanding Army of Tennessee, Confederate Army.

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of this date, at the hands of Messrs. Ball and Crew, consenting to
the arrangements I had proposed to facilitate the removal south of
the people of Atlanta, who prefer to go in that direction. I
inclose you a copy of my orders, which will, I am satisfied,
accomplish my purpose perfectly.

You style the measures proposed "unprecedented," and appeal to the
dark history of war for a parallel, as an act of "studied and
ingenious cruelty." It is not unprecedented; for General Johnston
himself very wisely and properly removed the families all the way
from Dalton down, and I see no reason why Atlanta should be
excepted. Nor is it necessary to appeal to the dark history of
war, when recent and modern examples are so handy. You yourself
burned dwelling-houses along your parapet, and I have seen to-day
fifty houses that you have rendered uninhabitable because they
stood in the way of your forts and men. You defended Atlanta on a
line so close to town that every cannon-shot and many musket-shots
from our line of investment, that overshot their mark, went into
the habitations of women and children. General Hardee did the same
at Jonesboro, and General Johnston did the same, last summer, at
Jackson, Mississippi. I have not accused you of heartless cruelty,
but merely instance these cases of very recent occurrence, and
could go on and enumerate hundreds of others, and challenge any
fair man to judge which of us has the heart of pity for the
families of a "brave people."

I say that it is kindness to these families of Atlanta to remove
them now, at once, from scenes that women and children should not
be exposed to, and the "brave people" should scorn to commit their
wives and children to the rude barbarians who thus, as you say,
violate the laws of war, as illustrated in the pages of its dark

In the name of common-sense, I ask you not to appeal to a just God
in such a sacrilegious manner. You who, in the midst of peace and
prosperity, have plunged a nation into war--dark and cruel war--who
dared and badgered us to battle, insulted our flag, seized our
arsenals and forts that were left in the honorable custody of
peaceful ordnance-sergeants, seized and made "prisoners of war" the
very garrisons sent to protect your people against negroes and
Indians, long before any overt act was committed by the (to you)
hated Lincoln Government; tried to force Kentucky and Missouri into
rebellion, spite of themselves; falsified the vote of Louisiana;
turned loose your privateers to plunder unarmed ships; expelled
Union families by the thousands, burned their houses, and declared,
by an act of your Congress, the confiscation of all debts due
Northern men for goods had and received! Talk thus to the marines,
but not to me, who have seen these things, and who will this day
make as much sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South as the
best-born Southerner among you! If we must be enemies, let us be
men, and fight it out as we propose to do, and not deal in arch
hypocritical appeals to God and humanity. God will judge us in due
time, and he will pronounce whether it be more humane to fight with
a town full of women and the families of a brave people at our back
or to remove them in time to places of safety among their own
friends and people.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

September 12, 1864

Major-General W. T, SHERMAN, commanding Military Division of the

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of the 9th inst., with its inclosure in reference to the women,
children, and others, whom you have thought proper to expel from
their homes in the city of Atlanta. Had you seen proper to let the
matter rest there, I would gladly have allowed your letter to close
this correspondence, and, without your expressing it in words,
would have been willing to believe that, while "the interests of
the United States," in your opinion, compelled you to an act of
barbarous cruelty, you regretted the necessity, and we would have
dropped the subject; but you have chosen to indulge in statements
which I feel compelled to notice, at least so far as to signify my
dissent, and not allow silence in regard to them to be construed as

I see nothing in your communication which induces me to modify the
language of condemnation with which I characterized your order. It
but strengthens me in the opinion that it stands "preeminent in the
dark history of war for studied and ingenious cruelty." Your
original order was stripped of all pretenses; you announced the
edict for the sole reason that it was "to the interest of the
United States." This alone you offered to us and the civilized
world as an all-sufficient reason for disregarding the laws of God
and man. You say that "General Johnston himself very wisely and
properly removed the families all the way from Dalton down." It is
due to that gallant soldier and gentleman to say that no act of his
distinguished career gives the least color to your unfounded
aspersions upon his conduct. He depopulated no villages, nor
towns, nor cities, either friendly or hostile. He offered and
extended friendly aid to his unfortunate fellow-citizens who
desired to flee from your fraternal embraces. You are equally
unfortunate in your attempt to find a justification for this act of
cruelty, either in the defense of Jonesboro, by General Hardee, or
of Atlanta, by myself. General Hardee defended his position in
front of Jonesboro at the expense of injury to the houses; an
ordinary, proper, and justifiable act of war. I defended Atlanta
at the same risk and cost. If there was any fault in either case,
it was your own, in not giving notice, especially in the case of
Atlanta, of your purpose to shell the town, which is usual in war
among civilized nations. No inhabitant was expelled from his home
and fireside by the orders of General Hardee or myself, and
therefore your recent order can find no support from the conduct of
either of us. I feel no other emotion other than pain in reading
that portion of your letter which attempts to justify your shelling
Atlanta without notice under pretense that I defended Atlanta upon
a line so close to town that every cannon-shot and many
musket-balls from your line of investment, that overshot their mark,
went into the habitations of women and children. I made no complaint
of your firing into Atlanta in any way you thought proper. I make
none now, but there are a hundred thousand witnesses that you fired
into the habitations of women and children for weeks, firing far
above and miles beyond my line of defense. I have too good an
opinion, founded both upon observation and experience, of the skill
of your artillerists, to credit the insinuation that they for several
weeks unintentionally fired too high for my modest field-works, and
slaughtered women and children by accident and want of skill.

The residue of your letter is rather discussion. It opens a wide
field for the discussion of questions which I do not feel are
committed to me. I am only a general of one of the armies of the
Confederate States, charged with military operations in the field,
under the direction of my superior officers, and I am not called
upon to discuss with you the causes of the present war, or the
political questions which led to or resulted from it. These grave
and important questions have been committed to far abler hands than
mine, and I shall only refer to them so far as to repel any unjust
conclusion which might be drawn from my silence. You charge my
country with "daring and badgering you to battle." The truth is,
we sent commissioners to you, respectfully offering a peaceful
separation, before the first gun was fired on either aide. You say
we insulted your flag. The truth is, we fired upon it, and those
who fought under it, when you came to our doors upon the mission of
subjugation. You say we seized upon your forts and arsenals, and
made prisoners of the garrisons sent to protect us against negroes
and Indians. The truth is, we, by force of arms, drove out
insolent intruders and took possession of our own forts and
arsenals, to resist your claims to dominion over masters, slaves,
and Indians, all of whom are to this day, with a unanimity
unexampled in the history of the world, warring against your
attempts to become their masters. You say that we tried to force
Missouri and Kentucky into rebellion in spite of themselves. The
truth is, my Government, from the beginning of this struggle to
this hour, has again and again offered, before the whole world, to
leave it to the unbiased will of these States, and all others, to
determine for themselves whether they will cast their destiny with
your Government or ours; and your Government has resisted this
fundamental principle of free institutions with the bayonet, and
labors daily, by force and fraud, to fasten its hateful tyranny
upon the unfortunate freemen of these States. You say we falsified
the vote of Louisiana. The truth is, Louisiana not only separated
herself from your Government by nearly a unanimous vote of her
people, but has vindicated the act upon every battle-field from
Gettysburg to the Sabine, and has exhibited an heroic devotion to
her decision which challenges the admiration and respect of every
man capable of feeling sympathy for the oppressed or admiration for
heroic valor. You say that we turned loose pirates to plunder your
unarmed ships. The truth is, when you robbed us of our part of the
navy, we built and bought a few vessels, hoisted the flag of our
country, and swept the seas, in defiance of your navy, around the
whole circumference of the globe. You say we have expelled Union
families by thousands. The truth is, not a single family has been
expelled from the Confederate States, that I am aware of; but, on
the contrary, the moderation of our Government toward traitors has
been a fruitful theme of denunciation by its enemies and
well-meaning friends of our cause. You say my Government, by acts
of Congress, has confiscated "all debts due Northern men for goods
sold and delivered." The truth is, our Congress gave due and ample
time to your merchants and traders to depart from our shores with
their ships, goods, and effects, and only sequestrated the property
of our enemies in retaliation for their acts--declaring us
traitors, and confiscating our property wherever their power
extended, either in their country or our own. Such are your
accusations, and such are the facts known of all men to be true.

You order into exile the whole population of a city; drive men,
women and children from their homes at the point of the bayonet,
under the plea that it is to the interest of your Government, and
on the claim that it is "an act of kindness to these families of
Atlanta." Butler only banished from New Orleans the registered
enemies of his Government, and acknowledged that he did it as a
punishment. You issue a sweeping edict, covering all the
inhabitants of a city, and add insult to the injury heaped upon the
defenseless by assuming that you have done them a kindness. This
you follow by the assertion that you will "make as much sacrifice
for the peace and honor of the South as the best-born Southerner."
And, because I characterize what you call as kindness as being real
cruelty, you presume to sit in judgment between me and my God; and
you decide that my earnest prayer to the Almighty Father to save
our women and children from what you call kindness, is a
"sacrilegious, hypocritical appeal."

You came into our country with your army, avowedly for the purpose
of subjugating free white men, women, and children, and not only
intend to rule over them, but you make negroes your allies, and
desire to place over us an inferior race, which we have raised from
barbarism to its present position, which is the highest ever
attained by that race, in any country, in all time. I must,
therefore, decline to accept your statements in reference to your
kindness toward the people of Atlanta, and your willingness to
sacrifice every thing for the peace and honor of the South, and
refuse to be governed by your decision in regard to matters between
myself, my country, and my God.

You say, "Let us fight it out like men." To this my reply is--for
myself, and I believe for all the free men, ay, and women and
children, in my country--we will fight you to the death! Better
die a thousand deaths than submit to live under you or your
Government and your negro allies!

Having answered the points forced upon me by your letter of the 9th
of September, I close this correspondence with you; and,
notwithstanding your comments upon my appeal to God in the cause of
humanity, I again humbly and reverently invoke his almighty aid in
defense of justice and right. Respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. HOOD, General.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 11, 1864
Major-General W. T. SHERMAN.

Sir: We the undersigned, Mayor and two of the Council for the city
of Atlanta, for the time being the only legal organ of the people
of the said city, to express their wants and wishes, ask leave most
earnestly but respectfully to petition you to reconsider the order
requiring them to leave Atlanta.

At first view, it struck us that the measure world involve
extraordinary hardship and loss, but since we have seen the
practical execution of it so far as it has progressed, and the
individual condition of the people, and heard their statements as
to the inconveniences, loss, and suffering attending it, we are
satisfied that the amount of it will involve in the aggregate
consequences appalling and heart-rending.

Many poor women are in advanced state of pregnancy, others now
having young children, and whose husbands for the greater part are
either in the army, prisoners, or dead. Some say: "I have such a
one sick at my house; who will wait on them when I am gone?"
Others say: "What are we to do? We have no house to go to, and no
means to buy, build, or rent any; no parents, relatives, or
friends, to go to." Another says: "I will try and take this or
that article of property, but such and such things I must leave
behind, though I need them much." We reply to them: "General
Sherman will carry your property to Rough and Ready, and General
Hood will take it thence on." And they will reply to that: "But I
want to leave the railroad at such a place, and cannot get
conveyance from there on."

We only refer to a few facts, to try to illustrate in part how this
measure will operate in practice. As you advanced, the people
north of this fell back; and before your arrival here, a large
portion of the people had retired south, so that the country south
of this is already crowded, and without houses enough to
accommodate the people, and we are informed that many are now
staying in churches and other out-buildings.

This being so, how is it possible for the people still here (mostly
women and children) to find any shelter? And how can they live
through the winter in the woods--no shelter or subsistence, in the
midst of strangers who know them not, and without the power to
assist them much, if they were willing to do so?

This is but a feeble picture of the consequences of this measure.
You know the woe, the horrors, and the suffering, cannot be
described by words; imagination can only conceive of it, and we ask
you to take these things into consideration.

We know your mind and time are constantly occupied with the duties
of your command, which almost deters us from asking your attention
to this matter, but thought it might be that you had not considered
this subject in all of its awful consequences, and that on more
reflection you, we hope, would not make this people an exception to
all mankind, for we know of no such instance ever having occurred
--surely never in the United States--and what has this helpless
people done, that they should be driven from their homes, to wander
strangers and outcasts, and exiles, and to subsist on charity?

We do not know as yet the number of people still here; of those who
are here, we are satisfied a respectable number, if allowed to
remain at home, could subsist for several months without
assistance, and a respectable number for a much longer time, and
who might not need assistance at any time.

In conclusion, we most earnestly and solemnly petition you to
reconsider this order, or modify it, and suffer this unfortunate
people to remain at home, and enjoy what little means they have.
Respectfully submitted
E. E. RAWSON, Councilman.
S. C. Warns, Councilman.

IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 12, 1864.

JAMES M. CALHOUN, Mayor, E. E. RAWSON and S. C. Wares, representing
City Council of Atlanta.

GENTLEMEN: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a
petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from
Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your
statements of the distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall
not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the
humanities of the case, but to prepare for the future struggles in
which millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep
interest. We must have peace, not only at Atlanta, but in all
America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates
our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat
the rebel armies which are arrayed against the laws and
Constitution that all must respect and obey. To defeat those
armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses,
provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to
accomplish our purpose. Now, I know the vindictive nature of our
enemy, that we may have many years of military operations from this
quarter; and, therefore, deem it wise and prudent to prepare in
time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with
its character as a home for families. There will be no
manufactures, commerce, or agriculture here, for the maintenance of
families, and sooner or later want will compel the inhabitants to
go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for
the transfer,--instead of waiting till the plunging shot of
contending armies will renew the scenes of the past months. Of
course, I do not apprehend any such thing at this moment, but you
do not suppose this army will be here until the war is over. I
cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot
impart to you what we propose to do, but I assert that our military
plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can
only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any
direction as easy and comfortable as possible.

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is
cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into
our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can
pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I
will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace.
But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the
United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will
go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The
United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once
had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and
I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes
various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit
the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national
Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and
roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your
protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come
from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot
resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into
rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who
desire a government, and those who insist on war and its

You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these
terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way
the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet
at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting
that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

We don't want your negroes, or your horses, or your houses, or your
lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just
obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have,
and, if it involves the destruction of your improvements, we cannot
help it.

You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that
live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek for
truth in other quarters, the better. I repeat then that, by the
original compact of Government, the United States had certain
rights in Georgia, which have never been relinquished and never
will be; that the South began war by seizing forts, arsenals,
mints, custom-houses, etc., etc., long before Mr. Lincoln was
installed, and before the South had one jot or tittle of
provocation. I myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee,
and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children
fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding
feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands
upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands,
and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes home to you;
you feel very different. You deprecate its horrors, but did not
feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammunition, and
moulded shells and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee,
to desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who
only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the
Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle.
I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and
war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect and early

But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any
thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with
you to shield your homes and families against danger from every

Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble, feed and
nurse them, and build for them, in more quiet places, proper
habitations to shield them against the weather until the mad
passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more
to settle over your old homes at Atlanta. Yours in haste,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 14, 1864.

General J. B. HOOD, commanding Army of the Tennessee, Confederate

GENERAL: Yours of September 12th is received, and has been
carefully perused. I agree with you that this discussion by two
soldiers is out of place, and profitless; but you must admit that
you began the controversy by characterizing an official act of mine
in unfair and improper terms. I reiterate my former answer, and to
the only new matter contained in your rejoinder add: We have no
"negro allies" in this army; not a single negro soldier left
Chattanooga with this army, or is with it now. There are a few
guarding Chattanooga, which General Steedman sent at one time to
drive Wheeler out of Dalton.

I was not bound by the laws of war to give notice of the shelling
of Atlanta, a "fortified town, with magazines, arsenals,
founderies, and public stores;" you were bound to take notice. See
the books.

This is the conclusion of our correspondence, which I did not
begin, and terminate with satisfaction. I am, with respect, your
obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.

WASHINGTON, September 28, 1864,

Major-General SHERMAN, Atlanta, Georgia.

GENERAL: Your communications of the 20th in regard to the removal
of families from Atlanta, and the exchange of prisoners, and also
the official report of your campaign, are just received. I have
not had time as yet to examine your report. The course which you
have pursued in removing rebel families from Atlanta, and in the
exchange of prisoners, is fully approved by the War Department.
Not only are you justified by the laws and usages of war in
removing these people, but I think it was your duty to your own
army to do so. Moreover, I am fully of opinion that the nature of
your position, the character of the war, the conduct of the enemy
(and especially of non-combatants and women of the territory which
we have heretofore conquered and occupied), will justify you in
gathering up all the forage and provisions which your army may
require, both for a siege of Atlanta and for your supply in your
march farther into the enemy's country. Let the disloyal families
of the country, thus stripped, go to their husbands, fathers, and
natural protectors, in the rebel ranks; we have tried three years
of conciliation and kindness without any reciprocation; on the
contrary, those thus treated have acted as spies and guerrillas in
our rear and within our lines. The safety of our armies, and a
proper regard for the lives of our soldiers, require that we apply
to our inexorable foes the severe rules of war. We certainly are
not required to treat the so-called non-combatant rebels better
than they themselves treat each other. Even herein Virginia,
within fifty miles of Washington, they strip their own families of
provisions, leaving them, as our army advances, to be fed by us, or
to starve within our lines. We have fed this class of people long
enough. Let them go with their husbands and fathers in the rebel
ranks; and if they won't go, we must send them to their friends and
natural protectors. I would destroy every mill and factory within
reach which I did not want for my own use. This the rebels have
done, not only in Maryland and Pennsylvania, but also in Virginia
and other rebel States, when compelled to fall back before our
armies. In many sections of the country they have not left a mill
to grind grain for their own suffering families, lest we might use
them to supply our armies. We most do the same.

I have endeavored to impress these views upon our commanders for
the last two years. You are almost the only one who has properly
applied them. I do not approve of General Hunter's course in
burning private homes or uselessly destroying private property.
That is barbarous. But I approve of taking or destroying whatever
may serve as supplies to us or to the enemy's army.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General, Chief of Staff

In order to effect the exchange of prisoners, to facilitate the
exodus of the people of Atlanta, and to keep open communication
with the South, we established a neutral camp, at and about the
railroad-station next south of Atlanta, known as "Rough and Ready,"
to which point I dispatched Lieutenant-Colonel Willard Warner, of
my staff, with a guard of one hundred men, and General Hood sent
Colonel Clare, of his staff, with a similar guard; these officers
and men harmonized perfectly, and parted good friends when their
work was done. In the mean time I also had reconnoitred the entire
rebel lines about Atlanta, which were well built, but were entirely
too extensive to be held by a single corps or division of troops,
so I instructed Colonel Poe, United States Engineers, on my staff,
to lay off an inner and shorter line, susceptible of defense by a
smaller garrison.

By the middle of September all these matters were in progress, the
reports of the past campaign were written up and dispatched to
Washington, and our thoughts began to turn toward the future.
Admiral Farragut had boldly and successfully run the forts at the
entrance to Mobile Bay, which resulted in the capture of Fort
Morgan, so that General Canby was enabled to begin his regular
operations against Mobile City, with a view to open the Alabama
River to navigation. My first thoughts were to concert operations
with him, either by way of Montgomery, Alabama, or by the
Appalachicula; but so long a line, to be used as a base for further
operations eastward, was not advisable, and I concluded to await
the initiative of the enemy, supposing that he would be forced to
resort to some desperate campaign by the clamor raised at the South
on account of the great loss to them of the city of Atlanta.

General Thomas occupied a house on Marietta Streets which had a
veranda with high pillars. We were sitting there one evening,
talking about things generally, when General Thomas asked leave to
send his trains back to Chattanooga, for the convenience and
economy of forage. I inquired of him if he supposed we would be
allowed much rest at Atlanta, and he said he thought we would, or
that at all events it would not be prudent for us to go much
farther into Georgia because of our already long line of
communication, viz., three hundred miles from Nashville. This was
true; but there we were, and we could not afford to remain on the
defensive, simply holding Atlanta and fighting for the safety of
its railroad. I insisted on his retaining all trains, and on
keeping all his divisions ready to move at a moment's warning. All
the army, officers and men, seemed to relax more or less, and sink
into a condition of idleness. General Schofield was permitted to
go to Knoxville, to look after matters in his Department of the
Ohio; and Generals Blair and Logan went home to look after
politics. Many of the regiments were entitled to, and claimed,
their discharge, by reason of the expiration of their term of
service; so that with victory and success came also many causes of

The rebel General Wheeler was still in Middle Tennessee,
threatening our railroads, and rumors came that Forrest was on his
way from Mississippi to the same theatre, for the avowed purpose of
breaking up our railroads and compelling us to fall back from our
conquest. To prepare for this, or any other emergency, I ordered
Newton's division of the Fourth Corps back to Chattanooga, and
Corse's division of the Seventeenth Corps to Rome, and instructed
General Rousseau at Nashville, Granger at Decatur, and Steadman at
Chattanooga, to adopt the most active measures to protect and
insure the safety of our roads.

Hood still remained about Lovejoy's Station, and, up to the 15th of
September, had given no signs of his future plans; so that with
this date I close the campaign of Atlanta, with the following
review of our relative losses during the months of August and
September, with a summary of those for the whole campaign,
beginning May 6 and ending September 15, 1864. The losses for
August and September are added together, so as to include those
about Jonesboro:

Killed and Missing Wounded Total
Grand Aggregate..... 1,408 3,731 5,139

Hood's losses, as reported for the same period, page 577,
Johnston's "Narrative:"

Killed Wounded Total
482 3,223 3,705

To which should be added:

Prisoners captured by us:............ 3,738

Giving his total loss ............... 7,440

On recapitulating the entire losses of each army during the entire
campaign, from May to September, inclusive, we have, in the Union
army, as per table appended:

Killed ........................ 4,423
Wounded ....................... 22,822
Missing........................ 4,442
Aggregate Loss ......... 31,627

In the Southern army, according to the reports of Surgeon Foard
(pp. 576, 577, Johnston's "Narrative ")

Total killed ................ 3,044
Total killed and wounded..... 21,996
Prisoners captured by us .... 12,983

Aggregate loss to the
Southern Army .......... 34,979

The foregoing figures are official, and are very nearly correct. I
see no room for error save in the cavalry, which was very much
scattered, and whose reports are much less reliable than of the
infantry and artillery; but as Surgeon Foard's tables do not
embrace Wheeler's, Jackson's, and Martin's divisions of cavalry, I
infer that the comparison, as to cavalry losses, is a "stand-off."

I have no doubt that the Southern officers flattered themselves
that they had filled and crippled of us two and even six to one, as
stated by Johnston; but they were simply mistaken, and I herewith
submit official tabular statements made up from the archives of the
War Department, in proof thereof.

I have also had a careful tabular statement compiled from official
records in the adjutant-general's office, giving the "effective
strength" of the army under my command for each of the months of
May, June, July, August, and September, 1864, which enumerate every
man (infantry, artillery, and cavalry) for duty. The
recapitulation clearly exhibits the actual truth. We opened the
campaign with 98,797 (ninety-eight thousand seven hundred and
ninety-seven) men. Blair's two divisions joined us early in June,
giving 112,819 (one hundred and twelve thousand eight hundred and
nineteen), which number gradually became reduced to 106,070 (one
hundred and six thousand and seventy men), 91,675 (ninety-one
thousand six hundred and seventy-five), and 81,758 (eighty-one
thousand seven hundred and fifty-eight) at the end of the campaign.
This gradual reduction was not altogether owing to death and
wounds, but to the expiration of service, or by detachments sent to
points at the rear.




By the middle of September, matters and things had settled down in
Atlanta, so that we felt perfectly at home. The telegraph and
railroads were repaired, and we had uninterrupted communication to
the rear. The trains arrived with regularity and dispatch, and
brought us ample supplies. General Wheeler had been driven out of
Middle Tennessee, escaping south across the Tennessee River at
Bainbridge; and things looked as though we were to have a period of

One day, two citizens, Messrs. Hill and Foster, came into our lines
at Decatur, and were sent to my headquarters. They represented
themselves as former members of Congress, and particular friends of
my brother John Sherman; that Mr. Hill had a son killed in the
rebel army as it fell back before us somewhere near Cassville, and
they wanted to obtain the body, having learned from a comrade where
it was buried. I gave them permission to go by rail to the rear,
with a note to the commanding officer, General John E. Smith, at
Cartersville, requiring him to furnish them an escort and an
ambulance for the purpose. I invited them to take dinner with our
mess, and we naturally ran into a general conversation about
politics and the devastation and ruin caused by the war. They had
seen a part of the country over which the army had passed, and
could easily apply its measure of desolation to the remainder of
the State, if necessity should compel us to go ahead.

Mr. Hill resided at Madison, on the main road to Augusta, and
seemed to realize fully the danger; said that further resistance on
the part of the South was madness, that he hoped Governor Brown, of
Georgia, would so proclaim it, and withdraw his people from the
rebellion, in pursuance of what was known as the policy of
"separate State action." I told him, if he saw Governor Brown, to
describe to him fully what he had seen, and to say that if he
remained inert, I would be compelled to go ahead, devastating the
State in its whole length and breadth; that there was no adequate
force to stop us, etc.; but if he would issue his proclamation
withdrawing his State troops from the armies of the Confederacy, I
would spare the State, and in our passage across it confine the
troops to the main roads, and would, moreover, pay for all the corn
and food we needed. I also told Mr. Hill that he might, in my
name, invite Governor Brown to visit Atlanta; that I would give him
a safeguard, and that if he wanted to make a speech, I would
guarantee him as full and respectable an audience as any he had
ever spoken to. I believe that Mr. Hill, after reaching his home
at Madison, went to Milledgeville, the capital of the State, and
delivered the message to Governor Brown. I had also sent similar
messages by Judge Wright of Rome, Georgia, and by Mr. King, of
Marietta. On the 15th of September I telegraphed to General
Halleck as follows:

My report is done, and will be forwarded as soon as I get in a few
more of the subordinate reports. I am awaiting a courier from
General Grant. All well; the troops are in good, healthy camps,
and supplies are coming forward finely. Governor Brown has
disbanded his militia, to gather the corn and sorghum of the State.
I have reason to believe that he and Stephens want to visit me, and
have sent them hearty invitation. I will exchange two thousand
prisoners with Hood, but no more.

Governor Brown's action at that time is fully explained by the
following letter, since made public, which was then only known to
us in part by hearsay:

MILLEDGEVILLE, GEORGIA, September 10, 1864

General J. B. HOOD, commanding army of Tennessee.

GENERAL: As the militia of the State were called out for the
defense of Atlanta during the campaign against it, which has
terminated by the fall of the city into the hands of the enemy, and
as many of these left their homes without preparation (expecting to
be gone but a few weeks), who have remained in service over three
months (most of the time in the trenches), justice requires that
they be permitted, while the enemy are preparing for the winter
campaign, to return to their homes, and look for a time after
important interests, and prepare themselves for such service as may
be required when another campaign commences against other important
points in the State. I therefore hereby withdraw said organization
from your command . . . .


This militia had composed a division under command of Major-General
Gustavus W. Smith, and were thus dispersed to their homes, to
gather the corn and sorghum, then ripe and ready for the

On the 17th I received by telegraph from President Lincoln this

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 1864

Major-General SHERMAN:

I feel great interest in the subjects of your dispatch, mentioning
corn and sorghum, and the contemplated visit to you.

A. LINCOLN, President of the United States.

I replied at once:

IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 17, 1864.

President LINCOLN, Washington., D. C.:

I will keep the department fully advised of all developments
connected with the subject in which you feel interested.

Mr. Wright, former member of Congress from Rome, Georgia, and Mr.
King, of Marietta, are now going between Governor Brown and myself.
I have said to them that some of the people of Georgia are engaged
in rebellion, began in error and perpetuated in pride, but that
Georgia can now save herself from the devastations of war preparing
for her, only by withdrawing her quota out of the Confederate Army,
and aiding me to expel Hood from the borders of the State; in which
event, instead of desolating the land as we progress, I will keep
our men to the high-roads and commons, and pay for the corn and
meat we need and take.

I am fully conscious of the delicate nature of such assertions, but
it would be a magnificent stroke of policy if we could, without
surrendering principle or a foot of ground, arouse the latent
enmity of Georgia against Davis.

The people do not hesitate to say that Mr. Stephens was and is a
Union man at heart; and they say that Davis will not trust him or
let him have a share in his Government.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

I have not the least doubt that Governor Brown, at that time,
seriously entertained the proposition; but he hardly felt ready to
act, and simply gave a furlough to the militia, and called a
special session of the Legislature, to meet at Milledgeville, to
take into consideration the critical condition of affairs in the

On the 20th of September Colonel Horace Porter arrived from General
Grant, at City Point, bringing me the letter of September 12th,
asking my general views as to what should next be done. He staid
several days at Atlanta, and on his return carried back to
Washington my full reports of the past campaign, and my letter of
September 20th to General Grant in answer to his of the 12th.

About this time we detected signs of activity on the part of the
enemy. On the 21st Hood shifted his army across from the Mason
road, at Lovejoy's, to the West Point road, at Palmetto Station,
and his cavalry appeared on the west side of the Chattahoochee,
toward Powder Springs; thus, as it were, stepping aside, and
opening wide the door for us to enter Central Georgia. I inferred,
however, that his real purpose was to assume the offensive against
our railroads, and on the 24th a heavy force of cavalry from
Mississippi, under General Forrest, made its appearance at Athena,
Alabama, and captured its garrison.

General Newton's division (of the Fourth Corps), and Corse's (of
the Seventeenth), were sent back by rail, the former to
Chattanooga, and the latter to Rome. On the 25th I telegraphed to
General Halleck:

Hood seems to be moving, as it were, to the Alabama line, leaving
open the road to Mason, as also to Augusta; but his cavalry is busy
on all our roads. A force, number estimated as high as eight
thousand, are reported to have captured Athena, Alabama; and a
regiment of three hundred and fifty men sent to its relief. I have
sent Newton's division up to Chattanooga in cars, and will send
another division to Rome. If I were sure that Savannah would soon
be in our possession, I should be tempted to march for
Milledgeville and Augusta; but I must first secure what I have.
Jeff. Davis is at Macon.

On the next day I telegraphed further that Jeff. Davis was with
Hood at Palmetto Station. One of our spies was there at the time,
who came in the next night, and reported to me the substance of his
speech to the soldiers. It was a repetition of those he had made
at Colombia, South Carolina, and Mason, Georgia, on his way out,
which I had seen in the newspapers. Davis seemed to be perfectly
upset by the fall of Atlanta, and to have lost all sense and
reason. He denounced General Jos. Johnston and Governor Brown as
little better than traitors; attributed to them personally the many
misfortunes which had befallen their cause, and informed the
soldiers that now the tables were to be turned; that General
Forrest was already on our roads in Middle Tennessee; and that
Hood's army would soon be there. He asserted that the Yankee army
would have to retreat or starve, and that the retreat would prove
more disastrous than was that of Napoleon from Moscow. He promised
his Tennessee and Kentucky soldiers that their feet should soon
tread their "native soil," etc., etc. He made no concealment of
these vainglorious boasts, and thus gave us the full key to his
future designs. To be forewarned was to be forearmed, and I think
we took full advantage of the occasion.

On the 26th I received this dispatch.

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA,September 26,1864-10 a.m.

Major-General SHERMAN, Atlanta
It will be better to drive Forrest out of Middle Tennessee as a
first step, and do any thing else you may feel your force
sufficient for. When a movement is made on any part of the
sea-coast, I will advise you. If Hood goes to the Alabama line,
will it not be impossible for him to subsist his army?
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.


IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 26, 1864.

GENERAL: I have your dispatch of to-day. I have already sent one
division (Newton's) to Chattanooga, and another (Corse's) to Rome.

Our armies are much reduced, and if I send back any more, I will
not be able to threaten Georgia much. There are men enough to the
rear to whip Forrest, but they are necessarily scattered to defend
the roads.

Can you expedite the sending to Nashville of the recruits that are
in Indiana and Ohio? They could occupy the forts.

Hood is now on the West Point road, twenty-four miles south of
this, and draws his supplies by that road. Jefferson Davis is
there to-day, and superhuman efforts will be made to break my road.

Forrest is now lieutenant-general, and commands all the enemy's

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

General Grant first thought I was in error in supposing that Jeff.
Davis was at Macon and Palmetto, but on the 27th I received a
printed copy of his speech made at Macon on the 22d, which was so
significant that I ordered it to be telegraphed entire as far as
Louisville, to be sent thence by mail to Washington, and on the
same day received this dispatch:

WASHINGTON, D. C., September 27, 1864-9 a.m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Atlanta:
You say Jeff Davis is on a visit to General Hood. I judge that
Brown and Stephens are the objects of his visit.
A. LINCOLN, President of the United States.

To which I replied:

IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 28, 1864.

President LINCOLN, Washington, D. C.:

I have positive knowledge that Mr. Davis made a speech at Macon, on
the 22d, which I mailed to General Halleck yesterday. It was
bitter against General Jos. Johnston and Governor Brown. The
militia are on furlough. Brown is at Milledgeville, trying to get
a Legislature to meet next month, but he is afraid to act unless in
concert with other Governors, Judge Wright, of Rome, has been here,
and Messrs. Hill and Nelson, former members of Congress, are here
now, and will go to meet Wright at Rome, and then go back to
Madison and Milledgeville.

Great efforts are being made to reenforce Hood's army, and to break
up my railroads, and I should have at once a good reserve force at
Nashville. It would have a bad effect, if I were forced to send
back any considerable part of my army to guard roads, so as to
weaken me to an extent that I could not act offensively if the
occasion calls for it.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

All this time Hood and I were carrying on the foregoing
correspondence relating to the exchange of prisoners, the removal
of the people from Atlanta, and the relief of our prisoners of war
at Andersonville. Notwithstanding the severity of their
imprisonment, some of these men escaped from Andersonville, and got
to me at Atlanta. They described their sad condition: more than
twenty-five thousand prisoners confined in a stockade designed for
only ten thousand; debarred the privilege of gathering wood out of
which to make huts; deprived of sufficient healthy food, and the
little stream that ran through their prison pen poisoned and
polluted by the offal from their cooking and butchering houses
above. On the 22d of September I wrote to General Hood, describing
the condition of our men at Andersonville, purposely refraining
from casting odium on him or his associates for the treatment of
these men, but asking his consent for me to procure from our
generous friends at the North the articles of clothing and comfort
which they wanted, viz., under-clothing, soap, combs, scissors,
etc.--all needed to keep them in health--and to send these stores
with a train, and an officer to issue them. General Hood, on the
24th, promptly consented, and I telegraphed to my friend Mr. James
E. Yeatman, Vice-President of the Sanitary Commission at St. Louis,
to send us all the under-clothing and soap he could spare,
specifying twelve hundred fine-tooth combs, and four hundred pairs
of shears to cut hair. These articles indicate the plague that
most afflicted our prisoners at Andersonville.

Mr. Yeatman promptly responded to my request, expressed the
articles, but they did not reach Andersonville in time, for the
prisoners were soon after removed; these supplies did, however,
finally overtake them at Jacksonville, Florida, just before the war

On the 28th I received from General Grant two dispatches

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA; September 27, 1864-8.30 a.m.
Major-General SHERMAN:
It is evident, from the tone of the Richmond press and from other
sources of information, that the enemy intend making a desperate
effort to drive you from where you are. I have directed all new
troops from the West, and from the East too, if necessary, in case
none are ready in the West, to be sent to you. If General
Burbridge is not too far on his way to Abingdon, I think he had
better be recalled and his surplus troops sent into Tennessee.
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA; September 27, 1864-10.30 a.m.
Major-General SHERMAN:
I have directed all recruits and new troops from all the Western
States to be sent to Nashville, to receive their further orders
from you. I was mistaken about Jeff. Davis being in Richmond on
Thursday last. He was then on his way to Macon.
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

Forrest having already made his appearance in Middle Tennessee, and
Hood evidently edging off in that direction, satisfied me that the
general movement against our roads had begun. I therefore
determined to send General Thomas back to Chattanooga, with another
division (Morgan's, of the Fourteenth Corps), to meet the danger in
Tennessee. General Thomas went up on the 29th, and Morgan's
division followed the same day, also by rail. And I telegraphed to
General Halleck

I take it for granted that Forrest will cut our road, but think we
can prevent him from making a serious lodgment. His cavalry will
travel a hundred miles where ours will ten. I have sent two
divisions up to Chattanooga and one to Rome, and General Thomas
started to-day to drive Forrest out of Tennessee. Our roads should
be watched from the rear, and I am glad that General Grant has
ordered reserves to Nashville. I prefer for the future to make the
movement on Milledgeville, Millen, and Savannah. Hood now rests
twenty-four miles south, on the Chattahoochee, with his right on
the West Point road. He is removing the iron of the Macon road. I
can whip his infantry, but his cavalry is to be feared.

There was great difficulty in obtaining correct information about
Hood's movements from Palmetto Station. I could not get spies to
penetrate his camps, but on the 1st of October I was satisfied that
the bulk of his infantry was at and across the Chattahoochee River,
near Campbellton, and that his cavalry was on the west side, at
Powder Springs. On that day I telegraphed to General Grant:

Hood is evidently across the Chattahoochee, below Sweetwater. If
he tries to get on our road, this side of the Etowah, I shall
attack him; but if he goes to the Selma & Talladega road, why will
it not do to leave Tennessee to the forces which Thomas has, and
the reserves soon to come to Nashville, and for me to destroy
Atlanta and march across Georgia to Savannah or Charleston,
breaking roads and doing irreparable damage? We cannot remain on
the defensive.

The Selma & Talladega road herein referred to was an unfinished
railroad from Selma, Alabama, through Talladega, to Blue Mountain,
a terminus sixty-five miles southwest of Rome and about fifteen
miles southeast of Gadsden, where the rebel army could be supplied
from the direction of Montgomery and Mobile, and from which point
Hood could easily threaten Middle Tennessee. My first impression
was, that Hood would make for that point; but by the 3d of October
the indications were that he would strike our railroad nearer us,
viz., about Kingston or Marietta.

Orders were at once made for the Twentieth Corps (Slocum's) to hold
Atlanta and the bridges of the Chattahoochee, and the other corps
were put in motion for Marietta.

The army had undergone many changes since the capture of Atlanta.
General Schofield had gone to the rear, leaving General J. D. Cog
in command of the Army of the Ohio (Twenty-third Corps). General
Thomas, also, had been dispatched to Chattanooga, with Newton's
division of the Fourth Corps and Morgan's of the Fourteenth Corps,
leaving General D. S. Stanley, the senior major-general of the two
corps of his Army of the Cumberland, remaining and available for
this movement, viz., the Fourth and Fourteenth, commanded by
himself and Major-General Jeff. C. Davis; and after General Dodge
was wounded, his corps (the Sixteenth) had been broken up, and its
two divisions were added to the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps,
constituting the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Major-General
O. O. Howard. Generals Logan and Blair had gone home to assist in
the political canvass, leaving their corps, viz., the Fifteenth and
Seventeenth, under the command of Major-Generals Osterhaus and T.
E. G. Ransom.

These five corps were very much reduced in strength, by detachments
and by discharges, so that for the purpose of fighting Hood I had
only about sixty thousand infantry and artillery, with two small
divisions of cavalry (Kilpatrick's and Garrard's). General Elliott
was the chief of cavalry to the Army of the Cumberland, and was the
senior officer of that arm of service present for duty with me.

We had strong railroad guards at Marietta and Kenesaw, Allatoona,
Etowah Bridge, Kingston, Rome, Resaca, Dalton, Ringgold, and
Chattanooga. All the important bridges were likewise protected by
good block-houses, admirably constructed, and capable of a strong
defense against cavalry or infantry; and at nearly all the regular
railroad-stations we had smaller detachments intrenched. I had
little fear of the enemy's cavalry damaging our roads seriously,
for they rarely made a break which could not be repaired in a few
days; but it was absolutely necessary to keep General Hood's
infantry off our main route of communication and supply. Forrest
had with him in Middle Tennessee about eight thousand cavalry, and
Hood's army was estimated at from thirty-five to forty thousand
men, infantry and artillery, including Wheeler's cavalry, then
about three thousand strong.

We crossed the Chattahoochee River during the 3d and 4th of
October, rendezvoused at the old battle-field of Smyrna Camp, and
the next day reached Marietta and Kenesaw. The telegraph-wires had
been cut above Marietta, and learning that heavy masses of
infantry, artillery, and cavalry, had been seen from Kenesaw
(marching north), I inferred that Allatoona was their objective
point; and on the 4th of October I signaled from Mining's Station
to Kenesaw, and from Kenesaw to Allatoona, over the heads of the
enemy, a message for General Corse, at Rome, to hurry back to the
assistance of the garrison at Allatoona. Allatoona was held by, a
small brigade, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tourtellotte, my
present aide-de-camp. He had two small redoubts on either side of
the railroad, overlooking the village of Allatoona, and the
warehouses, in which were stored over a million rations of bread.

Reaching Kenesaw Mountain about 8 a.m. of October 5th (a beautiful
day), I had a superb view of the vast panorama to the north and
west. To the southwest, about Dallas, could be seen the smoke of
camp-fires, indicating the presence of a large force of the enemy,
and the whole line of railroad from Big Shanty up to Allatoona
(full fifteen miles) was marked by the fires of the burning
railroad. We could plainly see the smoke of battle about,
Allatoona, and hear the faint reverberation of the cannon.

From Kenesaw I ordered the Twenty-third Corps (General Cox) to
march due west on the Burnt Hickory road, and to burn houses or
piles of brush as it progressed, to indicate the head of column,
hoping to interpose this corps between Hood's main army at Dallas
and the detachment then assailing Allatoona. The rest of the army
was directed straight for Allatoona, northwest, distant eighteen
miles. The signal-officer on Kenesaw reported that since daylight
he had failed to obtain any answer to his call for Allatoona; but,
while I was with him, he caught a faint glimpse of the tell-tale
flag through an embrasure, and after much time he made out these
letters-" C.," "R.," "S.," "E.," "H.," "E.," "R.," and translated
the message--"Corse is here." It was a source of great relief, for
it gave me the first assurance that General Corse had received his
orders, and that the place was adequately garrisoned.

I watched with painful suspense the indications of the battle
raging there, and was dreadfully impatient at the slow progress of
the relieving column, whose advance was marked by the smokes which
were made according to orders, but about 2 p.m. I noticed with
satisfaction that the smoke of battle about Allatoona grew less and
less, and ceased altogether about 4 p.m. For a time I attributed
this result to the effect of General Cog's march, but later in the
afternoon the signal-flag announced the welcome tidings that the
attack had been fairly repulsed, but that General Corse was
wounded. The next day my aide, Colonel Dayton, received this
characteristic dispatch:

ALLATOONA, GEORGIA, October 6, 1884-2 P.M.
Captain L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp:
I am short a cheek-bone and an ear, but am able to whip all h--l
yet! My losses are very heavy. A force moving from Stilesboro' to
Kingston gives me some anxiety. Tell me where Sherman is.
JOHN M. CORSE, Brigadier-General.

Inasmuch as the, enemy had retreated southwest, and would probably
next appear at Rome, I answered General Corse with orders to get
back to Rome with his troops as quickly as possible.

General Corse's report of this fight at Allatoona is very full and
graphic. It is dated Rome, October 27, 1864; recites the fact that
he received his orders by signal to go to the assistance of
Allatoona on the 4th, when he telegraphed to Kingston for cars, and
a train of thirty empty cars was started for him, but about ten of
them got off the track and caused delay. By 7 p.m. he had at Rome
a train of twenty cars, which he loaded up with Colonel Rowett's
brigade, and part of the Twelfth Illinois Infantry; started at 8
p.m., reached Allatoona (distant thirty-five miles) at 1 a.m. of
the 5th, and sent the train back for more men; but the road was in
bad order, and no more men came in time. He found Colonel
Tourtellotte's garrison composed of eight hundred and ninety men;
his reenforcement was one thousand and fifty-four: total for the
defense, nineteen hundred and forty-four. The outposts were
already engaged, and as soon as daylight came he drew back the men
from the village to the ridge on which the redoubts were built.

The enemy was composed of French's division of three brigades,
variously reported from four to five thousand strong. This force
gradually surrounded the place by 8 a.m., when General French sent
in by flag of truce this note:

AROUND ALLATOONA, October 5, 1884.

Commanding Officer, United States Forces, Allatoona:

I have placed the forces under my command in such positions that
you are surrounded, and to avoid a needless effusion of blood I
call on you to surrender your forces at once, and unconditionally.

Five minutes will be allowed you to decide. Should you accede to
this, you will be treated in the most honorable manner as prisoners
of war.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully yours,

Major-General commanding forces Confederate States.

General Corse answered immediately:

ALLATOONA, GEORGIA, October 5, 1864.

Major-General S. G. FRENCH, Confederate States, etc:

Your communication demanding surrender of my command I acknowledge
receipt of, and respectfully reply that we are prepared for the
"needless effusion of blood" whenever it is agreeable to you.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General commanding forces United States.

Of course the attack began at once, coming from front, flank, and
rear. There were two small redoubts, with slight parapets and
ditches, one on each side of the deep railroad-cut. These redoubts
had been located by Colonel Poe, United States Engineers, at the
time of our advance on Kenesaw, the previous June. Each redoubt
overlooked the storehouses close by the railroad, and each could
aid the other defensively by catching in flank the attacking force
of the other. Our troops at first endeavored to hold some ground
outside the redoubts, but were soon driven inside, when the enemy
made repeated assaults, but were always driven back. About 11 a.m.,
Colonel Redfield, of the Thirty-ninth Iowa, was killed, and Colonel
Rowett was wounded, but never ceased to fight and encourage his
men. Colonel Tourtellotte was shot through the hips, but continued
to command. General Corse was, at 1 p.m., shot across the face,
the ball cutting his ear, which stunned him, but he continued to
encourage his men and to give orders. The enemy (about 1.30 p.m.)
made a last and desperate effort to carry one of the redoubts, but
was badly cut to pieces by the artillery and infantry fire from the
other, when he began to draw off, leaving his dead and wounded on
the ground.

Before finally withdrawing, General French converged a heavy fire
of his cannon on the block-house at Allatoona Creek, about two
miles from the depot, set it on fire, and captured its garrison,
consisting of four officers and eighty-five men. By 4 p.m. he was
in full retreat south, on the Dallas road, and got by before the
head of General Cox's column had reached it; still several
ambulances and stragglers were picked up by this command on that
road. General Corse reported two hundred and thirty-one rebel
dead, four hundred and eleven prisoners, three regimental colors,
and eight hundred muskets captured.

Among the prisoners was a Brigadier-General Young, who thought that
French's aggregate loss would reach two thousand. Colonel
Tourtellotte says that, for days after General Corse had returned
to Rome, his men found and buried at least a hundred more dead
rebels, who had doubtless been wounded, and died in the woods near
Allatoona. I know that when I reached Allatoona, on the 9th, I saw
a good many dead men, which had been collected for burial.

Corse's entire loss, officially reported, was:

Killed. Wounded. Missing. Total.
142 353 212 707

I esteemed this defense of Allatoona so handsome and important,
that I made it the subject of a general order, viz., No. 86, of
October 7, 1864:

The general commanding avails himself of the opportunity, in the
handsome defense made of Allatoona, to illustrate the most
important principle in war, that fortified posts should be defended
to the last, regardless of the relative numbers of the party
attacking and attacked . . . . The thanks of this army are due
and are hereby accorded to General Corse, Colonel Tourtellotte,
Colonel Rowett, officers, and men, for their determined and gallant
defense of Allatoona, and it is made an example to illustrate the
importance of preparing in time, and meeting the danger, when
present, boldly, manfully, and well.

Commanders and garrisons of the posts along our railroad are hereby
instructed that they must hold their posts to the last minute, sure
that the time gained is valuable and necessary to their comrades at
the front.

By order of Major-General W. T. Sherman,
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-A-Camp.

The rebels had struck our railroad a heavy blow, burning every tie,
bending the rails for eight miles, from Big Shanty to above
Acworth, so that the estimate for repairs called for thirty-five
thousand new ties, and six miles of iron. Ten thousand men were
distributed along the break to replace the ties, and to prepare the
road-bed, while the regular repair-party, under Colonel W. W.
Wright, came down from Chattanooga with iron, spikes, etc., and in
about seven days the road was all right again. It was by such acts
of extraordinary energy that we discouraged our adversaries, for
the rebel soldiers felt that it was a waste of labor for them to
march hurriedly, on wide circuits, day and night, to burn a bridge
and tear up a mile or so of track, when they knew that we could lay
it back so quickly. They supposed that we had men and money
without limit, and that we always kept on hand, distributed along
the road, duplicates of every bridge and culvert of any importance.

A good story is told of one who was on Kenesaw Mountain during our
advance in the previous June or July. A group of rebels lay in the
shade of a tree, one hot day, overlooking our camps about Big
Shanty. One soldier remarked to his fellows:

"Well, the Yanks will have to git up and git now, for I heard
General Johnston himself say that General Wheeler had blown up the
tunnel near Dalton, and that the Yanks would have to retreat,
because they could get no more rations."

"Oh, hell!" said a listener, "don't you know that old Sherman
carries a duplicate tunnel along?"

After the war was over, General Johnston inquired of me who was our
chief railroad-engineer. When I told him that it was Colonel W. W.
Wright, a civilian, he was much surprised, said that our feats of
bridge-building and repairs of roads had excited his admiration;
and he instanced the occasion at Kenesaw in June, when an officer
from Wheeler's cavalry had reported to him in person that he had
come from General Wheeler, who had made a bad break in our road
about Triton Station, which he said would take at least a fortnight
to repair; and, while they were talking, a train was seen coming
down the road which had passed that very break, and had reached me
at Big Shanty as soon as the fleet horseman had reached him
(General Johnston) at Marietta

I doubt whether the history of war can furnish more examples of
skill and bravery than attended the defense of the railroad from
Nashville to Atlanta during the year 1864.

In person I reached Allatoona on the 9th of October, still in doubt
as to Hood's immediate intentions. Our cavalry could do little
against his infantry in the rough and wooded country about Dallas,
which masked the enemy's movements; but General Corse, at Rome,
with Spencer's First Alabama Cavalry and a mounted regiment of
Illinois Infantry, could feel the country south of Rome about
Cedartown and Villa Rica; and reported the enemy to be in force at
both places. On the 9th I telegraphed to General Thomas, at
Nashville, as follows:

I came up here to relieve our road. The Twentieth Corps remains at
Atlanta. Hood reached the road and broke it up between Big Shanty
and Acworth. He attacked Allatoona, but was repulsed. We have
plenty of bread and meat, but forage is scarce. I want to destroy
all the road below Chattanooga, including Atlanta, and to make for
the sea-coast. We cannot defend this long line of road.

And on the same day I telegraphed to General Grant, at City Point:

It will be a physical impossibility to protect the roads, now that
Hood, Forrest, Wheeler, and the whole batch of devils, are turned
loose without home or habitation. I think Hood's movements
indicate a diversion to the end of the Selma & Talladega road, at
Blue Mountain, about sixty miles southwest of Rome, from which he
will threaten Kingston, Bridgeport, and Decatur, Alabama. I
propose that we break up the railroad from Ohattanooga forward, and
that we strike out with our wagons for Milledgeville, Millen, and
Savannah. Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless for us to
occupy it; but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and
people, will cripple their military resources. By attempting to
hold the roads, we will lose a thousand men each month, and will
gain no result. I can make this march, and make Georgia howl! We
have on hand over eight thousand head of cattle and three million
rations of bread, but no corn. We can find plenty of forage in the
interior of the State.

Meantime the rebel General Forrest had made a bold circuit in
Middle Tennessee, avoiding all fortified points, and breaking up
the railroad at several places; but, as usual, he did his work so
hastily and carelessly that our engineers soon repaired the
damage--then, retreating before General Rousseau, he left the State
of Tennessee, crossing the river near Florence, Alabama, and got
off unharmed.

On the 10th of October the enemy appeared south of the Etowah River
at Rome, when I ordered all the armies to march to Kingston, rode
myself to Cartersville with the Twenty-third Corps (General Cox),
and telegraphed from there to General Thomas at Nashville:

It looks to me as though Hood was bound for Tuscumbia. He is now
crossing the Coosa River below Rome, looking west. Let me know if
you can hold him with your forces now in Tennessee and the expected
reenforeements, as, in that event, you know what I propose to do.

I will be at Kingston to-morrow. I think Rome is strong enough to
resist any attack, and the rivers are all high. If he turns up by
Summerville, I will get in behind him.

And on the same day to General Grant, at City Point:

Hood is now crossing the Coosa, twelve miles below Rome, bound
west. If he passes over to the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, had I not
better execute the plan of my letter sent you by Colonel Porter,
and leave General Thomas, with the troops now in Tennessee, to
defend the State? He will have an ample force when the
reenforcements ordered reach Nashville.

I found General John E. Smith at Cartersville, and on the 11th
rode on to Kingston, where I had telegraphic communications in all

From General Corse, at Rome, I learned that Hood's army had
disappeared, but in what direction he was still in doubt; and I was
so strongly convinced of the wisdom of my proposition to change the
whole tactics of the campaign, to leave Hood to General Thomas, and
to march across Georgia for Savannah or Charleston, that I again
telegraphed to General Grant:

We cannot now remain on the defensive. With twenty-five thousand
infantry and the bold cavalry he has, Hood can constantly break my
road. I would infinitely prefer to make a wreck of the road and of
the country from Chattanooga to Atlanta, including the latter city;
send back all my wounded and unserviceable men, and with my
effective army move through Georgia, smashing things to the sea.
Hood may turn into Tennessee and Kentucky, but I believe he will be
forced to follow me. Instead of being on the defensive, I will be
on the offensive. Instead of my guessing at what he means to do,
he will have to guess at my plans. The difference in war would be
fully twenty-five per pent. I can make Savannah, Charleston, or
the month of the Chattahoochee (Appalachicola). Answer quick, as I
know we will not have the telegraph long.

I received no answer to this at the time, and the next day went on
to Rome, where the news came that Hood had made his appearance at
Resaca, and had demanded the surrender of the place, which was
commanded by Colonel Weaver, reenforced by Brevet Brigadier-General
Raum. General Hood had evidently marched with rapidity up the
Chattooga Valley, by Summerville, Lafayette, Ship's Gap, and
Snake-Creek Gap, and had with him his whole army, except a small
force left behind to watch Rome. I ordered Resaca to be further
reenforced by rail from Kingston, and ordered General Cox to make a
bold reconnoissance down the Coosa Valley, which captured and
brought into Rome some cavalrymen and a couple of field-guns, with
their horses and men. At first I thought of interposing my whole
army in the Chattooga Valley, so as to prevent Hood's escape south;
but I saw at a glance that he did not mean to fight, and in that
event, after damaging the road all he could, he would be likely to
retreat eastward by Spring Place, which I did not want him to do;
and, hearing from General Raum that he still held Resaca safe, and
that General Edward McCook had also got there with some cavalry
reenforcements, I turned all the heads of columns for Resaca, viz.,
General Cox's, from Rome; General Stanley's, from McGuire's; and
General Howard's, from Kingston. We all reached Resaca during that
night, and the next morning (13th) learned that Hood's whole army
had passed up the valley toward Dalton, burning the railroad and
doing all the damage possible.

On the 12th he had demanded the surrender of Resaca in the
following letter:

IN THE FIELD, October 12,1861.

To the officer commanding the United Stales Forces at Resaca,

SIR: I demand the immediate and unconditional surrender of the post
and garrison under your command, and, should this be acceded to,
all white officers and soldiers will be parolled in a few days. If
the place is carried by assault, no prisoners will be taken. Most
respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. HOOD, General.

To this Colonel Weaver, then in command, replied:

RESACA, GEORGIA, October 12, 1884.

To General J. B. HOOD

Your communication of this date just received. In reply, I have to
state that I am somewhat surprised at the concluding paragraph, to
the effect that, if the place is carried by assault, no prisoners
will be taken. In my opinion I can hold this post. If you want it,
come and take it.

I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

CLARK R. WEAVER, Commanding Officer.

This brigade was very small, and as Hood's investment extended
only from the Oostenaula, below the town, to the Connesauga above,
he left open the approach from the south, which enabled General
Raum and the cavalry of Generals McCook and Watkins to reenforce
from Kingston. In fact, Hood, admonished by his losses at
Allatoona, did not attempt an assault at all, but limited his
attack to the above threat, and to some skirmishing, giving his
attention chiefly to the destruction of the railroad, which he
accomplished all the way up to Tunnel Hill, nearly twenty miles,
capturing en route the regiment of black troops at Dalton
(Johnson's Forty-fourth United States colored). On the 14th, I
turned General Howard through Snake-Creek Gap, and sent General
Stanley around by Tilton, with orders to cross the mountain to the
west, so as to capture, if possible, the force left by the enemy in
Snake-Creek Gap. We found this gap very badly obstructed by fallen
timber, but got through that night, and the next day the main army
was at Villanow. On the morning of the 16th, the leading division
of General Howard's column, commanded by General Charles R. Woods,
carried Ship's Gap, taking prisoners part of the Twenty-fourth
South Carolina Regiment, which had been left there to hold us in

The best information there obtained located Hood's army at
Lafayette, near which place I hoped to catch him and force him to
battle; but, by the time we had got enough troops across the
mountain at Ship's Gap, Hood had escaped down the valley of the
Chattooga, and all we could do was to follow him as closely as
possible. From Ship's Gap I dispatched couriers to Chattanooga,
and received word back that General Schofield was there,
endeavoring to cooperate with me, but Hood had broken up the
telegraph, and thus had prevented quick communication. General
Schofield did not reach me till the army had got down to
Gaylesville, about the 21st of October.

It was at Ship's Gap that a courier brought me the cipher message
from General Halleck which intimated that the authorities in
Washington were willing I should undertake the march across Georgia
to the sea. The translated dispatch named "Horse-i-bar Sound" as
the point where the fleet would await my arrival. After much time
I construed it to mean, "Ossabaw Sound," below Savannah, which was

On the 16th I telegraphed to General Thomas, at Nashville:

Send me Morgan's and Newton's old divisions. Reestablish the road,
and I will follow Hood wherever he may go. I think he will move to
Blue Mountain. We can maintain our men and animals on the country.

General Thomas's reply was:

NASHVILLE, October 17, 1864--10.30 a.m.

Major-General SHERMAN:

Your dispatch from Ship's Gap, 5 p.m. of the 16th, just received.
Schofield, whom I placed in command of the two divisions (Wagner's
and Morgan's), was to move up Lookout Valley this A.M., to
intercept Hood, should he be marching for Bridgeport. I will order
him to join you with the two divisions, and will reconstruct the
road as soon as possible. Will also reorganize the guards for
posts and block-houses .... Mower and Wilson have arrived, and are
on their way to join you. I hope you will adopt Grant's idea of
turning Wilson loose, rather than undertake the plan of a march
with the whole force through Georgia to the sea, inasmuch as
General Grant cannot cooperate with you as at first arranged.

GEORGE H. THOMAS, Major-General.

So it is clear that at that date neither General Grant nor General
Thomas heartily favored my proposed plan of campaign. On the same
day, I wrote to General Schofield at Chattanooga:

Hood is not at Dear Head Cove. We occupy Ship's Gap and Lafayette.
Hood is moving south via Summerville, Alpine, and Gadsden. If he
enters Tennessee, it will be to the west of Huntsville, but I think
he has given up all such idea. I want the road repaired to
Atlanta; the sick and wounded men sent north of the Tennessee; my
army recomposed; and I will then make the interior of Georgia feel
the weight of war. It is folly for us to be moving our armies on
the reports of scouts and citizens. We must maintain the
offensive. Your first move on Trenton and Valley Head was right
--the move to defend Caperton's Ferry is wrong. Notify General
Thomas of these my views. We must follow Hood till he is beyond
the reach of mischief, and then resume the offensive.

The correspondence between me and the authorities at Washington, as
well as with the several army commanders, given at length in the
report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, is full on all
these points.

After striking our road at Dalton, Hood was compelled to go on to
Chattanooga and Bridgeport, or to pass around by Decatur and
abandon altogether his attempt to make us let go our hold of
Atlanta by attacking our communications. It was clear to me that
he had no intention to meet us in open battle, and the lightness
and celerity of his army convinced me that I could not possibly
catch him on a stern-chase. We therefore quietly followed him down
the Chattooga Valley to the neighborhood of Gadsden, but halted the
main armies near the Coosa River, at the mouth of the Chattooga,
drawing our supplies of corn and meat from the farms of that
comparatively rich valley and of the neighborhood.

General Slocum, in Atlanta, had likewise sent out, under strong
escort, large trains of wagons to the east, and brought back corn,
bacon, and all kinds of provisions, so that Hood's efforts to cut
off our supplies only reacted on his own people. So long as the
railroads were in good order, our supplies came full and regular
from the North; but when the enemy broke our railroads we were
perfectly justified in stripping the inhabitants of all they had.
I remember well the appeal of a very respectable farmer against our
men driving away his fine flock of sheep. I explained to him that
General Hood had broken our railroad; that we were a strong, hungry
crowd, and needed plenty of food; that Uncle Sam was deeply
interested in our continued health and would soon repair these
roads, but meantime we must eat; we preferred Illinois beef, but
mutton would have to answer. Poor fellow! I don't believe he was
convinced of the wisdom or wit of my explanation. Very soon after
reaching Lafayette we organized a line of supply from Chattanooga
to Ringgold by rail, and thence by wagons to our camps about
Gaylesville. Meantime, also, Hood had reached the neighborhood of
Gadsden, and drew his supplies from the railroad at Blue Mountain.

On the 19th of October I telegraphed to General Halleck, at

Hood has retreated rapidly by all the roads leading south. Our
advance columns are now at Alpine and Melville Post-Office. I
shall pursue him as far as Gaylesville. The enemy will not venture
toward Tennessee except around by Decatur. I propose to send the
Fourth Corps back to General Thomas, and leave him, with that
corps, the garrisons, and new troops, to defend the line of the
Tennessee River; and with the rest I will push into the heart of
Georgia and come out at Savannah, destroying all the railroads of
the State. The break in our railroad at Big Shanty is almost
repaired, and that about Dalton should be done in ten days. We
find abundance of forage in the country.

On the same day I telegraphed to General L. C. Easton,
chief-quartermaster, who had been absent on a visit to Missouri,
but had got back to Chattanooga:

Go in person to superintend the repairs of the railroad, and make
all orders in my name that will expedite its completion. I want it
finished, to bring back from Atlanta to Chattanooga the sick and
wounded men and surplus stores. On the 1st of November I want
nothing in front of Chattanooga except what we can use as food and
clothing and haul in our wagons. There is plenty of corn in the
country, and we only want forage for the posts. I allow ten days
for all this to be done, by which time I expect to be at or near

I telegraphed also to General Amos Beckwith, chief-commissary in
Atlanta, who was acting as chief-quartermaster during the absence
of General Easton:

Hood will escape me. I want to prepare for my big raid. On the
1st of November I want nothing in Atlanta but what is necessary for
war. Send all trash to the rear at once, and have on hand thirty
days' food and but little forage. I propose to abandon Atlanta,
and the railroad back to Chattanooga, to sally forth to ruin
Georgia and bring up on the seashore. Make all dispositions
accordingly. I will go down the Coosa until I am sure that Hood
has gone to Blue Mountain.

On the 21st of October I reached Gaylesville, had my bivouac in an
open field back of the village, and remained there till the 28th.
During that time General Schofield arrived, with the two divisions
of Generals Wagner (formerly Newton's) and Morgan, which were
returned to their respective corps (the Fourth and Fourteenth), and
General Schofield resumed his own command of the Army of the Ohio,
then on the Coosa River, near Cedar Bluff. General Joseph A. Mower
also arrived, and was assigned to command a division in the
Seventeenth Corps; and General J. H. Wilson came, having been sent
from Virginia by General Grant, for the purpose of commanding all
my cavalry. I first intended to organize this cavalry into a corps
of three small divisions, to be commanded by General Wilson; but
the horses were well run down, and, at Wilson's instance, I
concluded to retain only one division of four thousand five hundred
men, with selected horses, under General Kilpatrick, and to send
General Wilson back with all the rest to Nashville, to be
reorganized and to act under General Thomas in the defense of
Tennessee. Orders to this effect were made on the 24th of October.

General Grant, in designating General Wilson to command my cavalry,
predicted that he would, by his personal activity, increase the
effect of that arm "fifty per cent.," and he advised that he should
be sent south, to accomplish all that I had proposed to do with the
main army; but I had not so much faith in cavalry as he had, and
preferred to adhere to my original intention of going myself with a
competent force.

About this time I learned that General Beauregard had reached
Hood's army at Gadsden; that, without assuming direct command of
that army, he had authority from the Confederate Government to
direct all its movements, and to call to his assistance the whole
strength of the South. His orders, on assuming command, were full
of alarm and desperation, dated:

October 17, 1864

In assuming command, at this critical juncture, of the Military
Division of the West, I appeal to my countrymen, of all classes and
sections, for their generous support. In assigning me to this
responsible position, the President of the Confederate States has
extended to me the assurance of his earnest support. The
Executives of your States meet me with similar expressions of their
devotion to our cause. The noble army in the field, composed of
brave men and gallant officers, are strangers to me, but I know


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