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Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete

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in line of battle to a more favorable position, we were met by the
rebel infantry of Hardee's and Lee's corps, who made a determined
and desperate attack on us at 11 A.M. of the 28th (yesterday).

My lines were only protected by logs and rails, hastily thrown up
in front of them.

The first onset was received and checked, and the battle commenced
and lasted until about three o'clock in the evening. During that
time six successive charges were made, which were six times
gallantly repulsed, each time with fearful loss to the enemy.

Later in the evening my lines were several times assaulted
vigorously, but each time with like result. The worst of the
fighting occurred on General Harrow's and Morgan L. Smith's fronts,
which formed the centre and right of the corps. The troops could
not have displayed greater courage, nor greater determination not
to give ground; had they shown less, they would have been driven
from their position.

Brigadier-Generals C. R. Woods, Harrow, and Morgan L. Smith,
division commanders, are entitled to equal credit for gallant
conduct and skill in repelling the assault. My thanks are due to
Major-Generals Blair and Dodge for sending me reenforeements at a
time when they were much needed. My losses were fifty killed, four
hundred and forty-nine wounded, and seventy-three missing:
aggregate, five hundred and seventy-two.

The division of General Harrow captured five battle-flags. There
were about fifteen hundred or two thousand muskets left on the
ground. One hundred and six prisoners were captured, exclusive of
seventy-three wounded, who were sent to our hospital, and are being
cared for by our surgeons. Five hundred and sixty-five rebels have
up to this time been buried, and about two hundred are supposed to
be yet unburied. A large number of their wounded were undoubtedly
carried away in the night, as the enemy did not withdraw till near
daylight. The enemy's loss could not have been less than six or
seven thousand men. A more detailed report will hereafter be made.

I am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

Major-General, commanding Fifteenth Army Corps.

General Howard, in transmitting this report, added:

I wish to express my high gratification with the conduct of the
troops engaged. I never saw better conduct in battle. General
Logan, though ill and much worn out, was indefatigable, and the
success of the day is as much attributable to him as to any one

This was, of coarse, the first fight in which General Howard had
commanded the Army of the Tennessee, and he evidently aimed to
reconcile General Logan in his disappointment, and to gain the
heart of his army, to which he was a stranger. He very properly
left General Logan to fight his own corps, but exposed himself
freely; and, after the firing had ceased, in the afternoon he
walked the lines; the men, as reported to me, gathered about him in
the most affectionate way, and he at once gained their respect and
confidence. To this fact I at the time attached much importance,
for it put me at ease as to the future conduct of that most
important army.

At no instant of time did I feel the least uneasiness about the
result on the 28th, but wanted to reap fuller results, hoping that
Davis's division would come up at the instant of defeat, and catch
the enemy in flank; but the woods were dense, the roads obscure,
and as usual this division got on the wrong road, and did not come
into position until about dark. In like manner, I thought that
Hood had greatly weakened his main lines inside of Atlanta, and
accordingly sent repeated orders to Schofield and Thomas to make an
attempt to break in; but both reported that they found the parapets
very strong and full manned.

Our men were unusually encouraged by this day's work, for they
realized that we could compel Hood to come out from behind his
fortified lines to attack us at a disadvantage. In conversation
with me, the soldiers of the Fifteenth Corps, with whom I was on
the most familiar terms, spoke of the affair of the 28th as the
easiest thing in the world; that, in fact, it was a common
slaughter of the enemy; they pointed out where the rebel lines had
been, and how they themselves had fired deliberately, had shot down
their antagonists, whose bodies still lay unburied, and marked
plainly their lines of battle, which must have halted within easy
musket-range of our men, who were partially protected by their
improvised line of logs and fence-rails. All bore willing
testimony to the courage and spirit of the foe, who, though
repeatedly repulsed, came back with increased determination some
six or more times.

The next morning the Fifteenth Corps wheeled forward to the left
over the battle-field of the day before, and Davis's division still
farther prolonged the line, which reached nearly to the ever-to-be-
remembered "Sandtown road."

Then, by further thinning out Thomas's line, which was well
entrenched, I drew another division of Palmer's corps (Baird's)
around to the right, to further strengthen that flank. I was
impatient to hear from the cavalry raid, then four days out, and
was watching for its effect, ready to make a bold push for the
possession of East Point. General Garrard's division returned to
Decatur on the 31st, and reported that General Stoneman had posted
him at Flat Rock, while he (Stoneman) went on. The month of July
therefore closed with our infantry line strongly entrenched, but
drawn out from the Augusta road on the left to the Sandtown road on
the right, a distance of full ten measured miles.

The enemy, though evidently somewhat intimidated by the results of
their defeats on the 22d and 28th, still presented a bold front at
all points, with fortified lines that defied a direct assault. Our
railroad was done to the rear of our camps, Colonel W. P. Wright
having reconstructed the bridge across the Chattahoochee in six
days; and our garrisons and detachments to the rear had so
effectually guarded the railroad that the trains from Nashville
arrived daily, and our substantial wants were well supplied.

The month, though hot in the extreme, had been one of constant
conflict, without intermission, and on four several occasions
--viz., July 4th, 20th, 22d, and 28th--these affairs had amounted to
real battles, with casualty lists by the thousands. Assuming the
correctness of the rebel surgeon Foard's report, on page 577 of
Johnston's "Narrative," commencing with July 4th and terminating
with July 31st, we have:

Aggregate loss of the enemy......... 10,841

Our losses, as compiled from the official returns for July,
1864, are:
Killed and Missing. Wounded. Total.

Aggregate loss of July....... 3,804 5,915 9,719

In this table the column of "killed and missing" embraces the
prisoners that fell into the hands of the enemy, mostly lost in the
Seventeenth Corps, on the 22d of July, and does not embrace the
losses in the cavalry divisions of Garrard and McCook, which,
however, were small for July. In all other respects the statement
is absolutely correct. I am satisfied, however, that Surgeon Foard
could not have been in possession of data sufficiently accurate to
enable him to report the losses in actual battle of men who never
saw the hospital. During the whole campaign I had rendered to me
tri-monthly statements of "effective strength," from which I
carefully eliminated the figures not essential for my conduct, so
that at all times I knew the exact fighting-strength of each corps,
division, and brigade, of the whole army, and also endeavored to
bear in mind our losses both on the several fields of battle and by
sickness, and well remember that I always estimated that during the
month of July we had inflicted heavier loss on the enemy than we
had sustained ourselves, and the above figures prove it
conclusively. Before closing this chapter, I must record one or
two minor events that occurred about this time, that may prove of

On the 24th of July I received a dispatch from Inspector-General
James A. Hardie, then on duty at the War Department in Washington,
to the effect that Generals Osterhaus and Alvan P. Hovey had been
appointed major-generals. Both of these had begun the campaign
with us in command of divisions, but had gone to the rear--the
former by reason of sickness, and the latter dissatisfied with
General Schofield and myself about the composition of his division
of the Twenty-third Corps. Both were esteemed as first-class
officers, who had gained special distinction in the Vicksburg
campaign. But up to that time, when the newspapers announced daily
promotions elsewhere, no prominent officers serving with me had
been advanced a peg, and I felt hurt. I answered Hardie on the
25th, in a dispatch which has been made public, closing with this
language: "If the rear be the post of honor, then we had better all
change front on Washington." To my amazement, in a few days I
received from President Lincoln himself an answer, in which he
caught me fairly. I have not preserved a copy of that dispatch,
and suppose it was burned up in the Chicago fire; but it was
characteristic of Mr. Lincoln, and was dated the 26th or 27th day
of July, contained unequivocal expressions of respect for those who
were fighting hard and unselfishly, offering us a full share of the
honors and rewards of the war, and saying that, in the cases of
Hovey and Osterhaus, he was influenced mainly by the
recommendations of Generals Grant and Sherman. On the 27th I
replied direct, apologizing somewhat for my message to General
Hardie, saying that I did not suppose such messages ever reached
him personally, explaining that General Grant's and Sherman's
recommendations for Hovey and Osterhaus had been made when the
events of the Vicksburg campaign were fresh with us, and that my
dispatch of the 25th to General Hardie had reflected chiefly the
feelings of the officers then present with me before Atlanta. The
result of all this, however, was good, for another dispatch from
General Hardie, of the 28th, called on me to nominate eight
colonels for promotion as brigadier-generals. I at once sent a
circular note to the army-commanders to nominate two colonels from
the Army of the Ohio and three from each of the others; and the
result was, that on the 29th of July I telegraphed the names of--
Colonel William Gross, Thirty-sixth Indiana; Colonel Charles C.
Walcutt, Forty-sixth Ohio; Colonel James W. Riley, One Hundred and
Fourth Ohio; Colonel L. P. Bradley, Fifty-first Illinois; Colonel
J. W. Sprague, Sixty-third Ohio; Colonel Joseph A. Cooper, Sixth
East Tennessee; Colonel John T. Croxton, Fourth Kentucky; Colonel
William W. Belknap, Fifteenth Iowa. These were promptly appointed
brigadier-generals, were already in command of brigades or
divisions; and I doubt if eight promotions were ever made fairer,
or were more honestly earned, during the whole war.




The month of August opened hot and sultry, but our position before
Atlanta was healthy, with ample supply of wood, water, and
provisions. The troops had become habituated to the slow and
steady progress of the siege; the skirmish-lines were held close up
to the enemy, were covered by rifle-trenches or logs, and kept up a
continuous clatter of musketry. The mainlines were held farther
back, adapted to the shape of the ground, with muskets loaded and
stacked for instant use. The field-batteries were in select
positions, covered by handsome parapets, and occasional shots from
them gave life and animation to the scene. The men loitered about
the trenches carelessly, or busied themselves in constructing
ingenious huts out of the abundant timber, and seemed as snug,
comfortable, and happy, as though they were at home. General
Schofield was still on the extreme left, Thomas in the centre, and
Howard on the right. Two divisions of the Fourteenth Corps
(Baird's and Jeff. C. Davis's) were detached to the right rear,
and held in reserve.

I thus awaited the effect of the cavalry movement against the
railroad about Jonesboro, and had heard from General Garrard that
Stoneman had gone on to Mason; during that day (August 1st) Colonel
Brownlow, of a Tennessee cavalry regiment, came in to Marietta from
General McCook, and reported that McCook's whole division had been
overwhelmed, defeated, and captured at Newnan. Of course, I was
disturbed by this wild report, though I discredited it, but made
all possible preparations to strengthen our guards along the
railroad to the rear, on the theory that the force of cavalry which
had defeated McCook would at once be on the railroad about
Marietta. At the same time Garrard was ordered to occupy the
trenches on our left, while Schofield's whole army moved to the
extreme right, and extended the line toward East Point. Thomas was
also ordered still further to thin out his lines, so as to set free
the other division (Johnson's) of the Fourteenth Corps (Palmer's),
which was moved to the extreme right rear, and held in reserve
ready to make a bold push from that flank to secure a footing on
the Mason Railroad at or below East Point.

These changes were effected during the 2d and 3d days of August,
when General McCook came in and reported the actual results of his
cavalry expedition. He had crossed the Chattahoochee River below
Campbellton, by his pontoon-bridge; had then marched rapidly across
to the Mason Railroad at Lovejoy's Station, where he had reason to
expect General Stoneman; but, not hearing of him, he set to work,
tore up two miles of track, burned two trains of cars, and cut away
five miles of telegraph-wire. He also found the wagon-train
belonging to the rebel army in Atlanta, burned five hundred wagons,
killed eight hundred mules; and captured seventy-two officers and
three hundred and fifty men. Finding his progress eastward, toward
McDonough, barred by a superior force, he turned back to Newnan,
where he found himself completely surrounded by infantry and
cavalry. He had to drop his prisoners and fight his way out,
losing about six hundred men in killed and captured, and then
returned with the remainder to his position at Turner's Ferry.
This was bad enough, but not so bad as had been reported by Colonel
Brownlow. Meantime, rumors came that General Stoneman was down
about Mason, on the east bank of the Ocmulgee. On the 4th of
August Colonel Adams got to Marietta with his small brigade of nine
hundred men belonging to Stoneman's cavalry, reporting, as usual,
all the rest lost, and this was partially confirmed by a report
which came to me all the way round by General Grant's headquarters
before Richmond. A few days afterward Colonel Capron also got in,
with another small brigade perfectly demoralized, and confirmed the
report that General Stoneman had covered the escape of these two
small brigades, himself standing with a reserve of seven hundred
men, with which he surrendered to a Colonel Iverson. Thus another
of my cavalry divisions was badly damaged, and out of the fragments
we hastily reorganized three small divisions under
Brigadier-Generals Garrard, McCook, and Kilpatrick.

Stoneman had not obeyed his orders to attack the railroad first
before going to Macon and Andersonville, but had crossed the
Ocmulgee River high up near Covington, and had gone down that river
on the east bank. He reached Clinton, and sent out detachments
which struck the railroad leading from Macon to Savannah at
Griswold Station, where they found and destroyed seventeen
locomotives and over a hundred cars; then went on and burned the
bridge across the Oconee, and reunited the division before Macon.
Stoneman shelled the town across the river, but could not cross
over by the bridge, and returned to Clinton, where he found his
retreat obstructed, as he supposed, by a superior force. There he
became bewildered, and sacrificed himself for the safety of his
command. He occupied the attention of his enemy by a small force
of seven hundred men, giving Colonels Adams and Capron leave, with
their brigades, to cut their way back to me at Atlanta. The former
reached us entire, but the latter was struck and scattered at some
place farther north, and came in by detachments. Stoneman
surrendered, and remained a prisoner until he was exchanged some
time after, late in September, at Rough and Ready.

I now became satisfied that cavalry could not, or would not, make a
sufficient lodgment on the railroad below Atlanta, and that nothing
would suffice but for us to reach it with the main army. Therefore
the most urgent efforts to that end were made, and to Schofield, on
the right, was committed the charge of this special object. He had
his own corps (the Twenty-third), composed of eleven thousand and
seventy-five infantry and eight hundred and eighty-five artillery,
with McCook's broken division of cavalry, seventeen hundred and
fifty-four men and horses. For this purpose I also placed the
Fourteenth Corps (Palmer) under his orders. This corps numbered at
the time seventeen thousand two hundred and eighty-eight infantry
and eight hundred and twenty-six artillery; but General Palmer
claimed to rank General Schofield in the date of his commission as
major-general, and denied the latter's right to exercise command
over him. General Palmer was a man of ability, but was not
enterprising. His three divisions were compact and strong, well
commanded, admirable on the defensive, but slow to move or to act
on the offensive. His corps (the Fourteenth) had sustained, up to
that time, fewer hard knocks than any other corps in the whole
army, and I was anxious to give it a chance. I always expected to
have a desperate fight to get possession of the Macon road, which
was then the vital objective of the campaign. Its possession by us
would, in my judgment, result in the capture of Atlanta, and give
us the fruits of victory, although the destruction of Hood's army
was the real object to be desired. Yet Atlanta was known as the
"Gate-City of the South," was full of founderies, arsenals, and
machine-shops, and I knew that its capture would be the death-knell
of the Southern Confederacy.

On the 4th of August I ordered General Schofield to make a bold
attack on the railroad, anywhere about East Point, and ordered
General Palmer to report to him for duty. He at once denied
General Schofield's right to command him; but, after examining the
dates of their respective commissions, and hearing their arguments,
I wrote to General Palmer.

August 4th.-10.45 p.m.

From the statements made by yourself and General Schofield to-day,
my decision is, that he ranks you as a major-general, being of the
same date of present commission, by reason of his previous superior
rank as brigadier-general. The movements of to-morrow are so
important that the orders of the superior on that flank must be
regarded as military orders, and not in the nature of cooperation.
I did hope that there would be no necessity for my making this
decision; but it is better for all parties interested that no
question of rank should occur in actual battle. The Sandtown road,
and the railroad, if possible, must be gained to-morrow, if it
costs half your command. I regard the loss of time this afternoon
as equal to the loss of two thousand men.

I also communicated the substance of this to General Thomas, to
whose army Palmer's corps belonged, who replied on the 5th:

I regret to hear that Palmer has taken the course he has, and I
know that he intends to offer his resignation as soon as he can
properly do so. I recommend that his application be granted.

And on the 5th I again wrote to General Palmer, arguing the point
with him, advising him, as a friend, not to resign at that crisis
lest his motives might be misconstrued, and because it might damage
his future career in civil life; but, at the same time, I felt it
my duty to say to him that the operations on that flank, during the
4th and 5th, had not been satisfactory--not imputing to him,
however, any want of energy or skill, but insisting that "the
events did not keep pace with my desires." General Schofield had
reported to me that night:

I am compelled to acknowledge that I have totally failed to make
any aggressive movement with the Fourteenth Corps. I have ordered
General Johnson's division to replace General Hascall's this
evening, and I propose to-morrow to take my own troops (Twenty-
third Corps) to the right, and try to recover what has been lost by
two days' delay. The force may likely be too small.

I sanctioned the movement, and ordered two of Palmers divisions--
Davis's and Baird's--to follow en echelon in support of Schofield,
and summoned General Palmer to meet me in person: He came on the
6th to my headquarters, and insisted on his resignation being
accepted, for which formal act I referred him to General Thomas.
He then rode to General Thomas's camp, where he made a written
resignation of his office as commander of the Fourteenth Corps, and
was granted the usual leave of absence to go to his home in
Illinois, there to await further orders. General Thomas
recommended that the resignation be accepted; that Johnson, the
senior division commander of the corps, should be ordered back to
Nashville as chief of cavalry, and that Brigadier-General Jefferson
C. Davis, the next in order, should be promoted major general, and
assigned to command the corps. These changes had to be referred to
the President, in Washington, and were, in due time, approved and
executed; and thenceforward I had no reason to complain of the
slowness or inactivity of that splendid corps. It had been
originally formed by General George H. Thomas, had been commanded
by him in person, and had imbibed some what his personal character,
viz., steadiness, good order, and deliberation nothing hasty or
rash, but always safe, "slow, and sure." On August 7th I
telegraphed to General Halleck:

Have received to-day the dispatches of the Secretary of War and of
General Grant, which are very satisfactory. We keep hammering away
all the time, and there is no peace, inside or outside of Atlanta.
To-day General Schofield got round the line which was assaulted
yesterday by General Reilly's brigade, turned it and gained the
ground where the assault had been made, and got possession of all
our dead and wounded. He continued to press on that flank, and
brought on a noisy but not a bloody battle. He drove the enemy
behind his main breastworks, which cover the railroad from Atlanta
to East Point, and captured a good many of the skirmishers, who are
of his best troops--for the militia hug the breastworks close. I
do not deem it prudent to extend any more to the right, but will
push forward daily by parallels, and make the inside of Atlanta too
hot to be endured. I have sent back to Chattanooga for two thirty-
pound Parrotts, with which we can pick out almost any house in
town. I am too impatient for a siege, and don't know but this is
as good a place to fight it out on, as farther inland. One thing
is certain, whether we get inside of Atlanta or not, it will be a
used-up community when we are done with it.

In Schofield's extension on the 5th, General Reilly's brigade had
struck an outwork, which he promptly attacked, but, as usual, got
entangled in the trees and bushes which had been felled, and lost
about five hundred men, in killed and wounded; but, as above
reported, this outwork was found abandoned the next day, and we
could see from it that the rebels were extending their lines,
parallel with the railroad, about as fast as we could add to our
line of investment. On the 10th of August the Parrott
thirty-pounders were received and placed in Position; for a couple
of days we kept up a sharp fire from all our batteries converging
on Atlanta, and at every available point we advanced our
infantry-lines, thereby shortening and strengthening the
investment; but I was not willing to order a direct assault, unless
some accident or positive neglect on the part of our antagonist
should reveal an opening. However, it was manifest that no such
opening was intended by Hood, who felt secure behind his strong
defenses. He had repelled our cavalry attacks on his railroad, and
had damaged us seriously thereby, so I expected that he would
attempt the same game against our rear. Therefore I made
extraordinary exertions to recompose our cavalry divisions, which
were so essential, both for defense and offense. Kilpatrick was
given that on our right rear, in support of Schofield's exposed
flank; Garrard retained that on our general left; and McCook's
division was held somewhat in reserve, about Marietta and the
railroad. On the 10th, having occasion to telegraph to General
Grant, then in Washington, I used this language:

Since July 28th Hood has not attempted to meet us outside his
parapets. In order to possess and destroy effectually his
communications, I may have to leave a corps at the railroad-bridge,
well intrenched, and cut loose with the balance to make a circle of
desolation around Atlanta. I do not propose to assault the works,
which are too strong, nor to proceed by regular approaches. I have
lost a good many regiments, and will lose more, by the expiration
of service; and this is the only reason why I want reenforcements.
We have killed, crippled, and captured more of the enemy than we
have lost by his acts.

On the 12th of August I heard of the success of Admiral Farragut in
entering Mobile Bay, which was regarded as a most valuable
auxiliary to our operations at Atlanta; and learned that I had been
commissioned a major-general in the regular army, which was
unexpected, and not desired until successful in the capture of
Atlanta. These did not change the fact that we were held in check
by the stubborn defense of the place, and a conviction was forced
on my mind that our enemy would hold fast, even though every house
in the town should be battered down by our artillery. It was
evident that we must decoy him out to fight us on something like
equal terms, or else, with the whole army, raise the siege and
attack his communications. Accordingly, on the 13th of August, I
gave general orders for the Twentieth Corps to draw back to the
railroad-bridge at the Chattahoochee, to protect our trains,
hospitals, spare artillery, and the railroad-depot, while the rest
of the army should move bodily to some point on the Macon Railroad
below East Point.

Luckily, I learned just then that the enemy's cavalry, under
General Wheeler, had made a wide circuit around our left flank, and
had actually reached our railroad at Tilton Station, above Resaca,
captured a drove of one thousand of our beef-cattle, and was strong
enough to appear before Dalton, and demand of its commander,
Colonel Raum, the surrender of the place. General John E. Smith,
who was at Kingston, collected together a couple of thousand men,
and proceeded in cars to the relief of Dalton when Wheeler
retreated northward toward Cleveland. On the 16th another
detachment of the enemy's cavalry appeared in force about Allatoona
and the Etowah bridge, when I became fully convinced that Hood had
sent all of his cavalry to raid upon our railroads. For some days
our communication with Nashville was interrupted by the destruction
of the telegraph-lines, as well as railroad. I at once ordered
strong reconnoissances forward from our flanks on the left by
Garrard, and on the right by Kilpatrick. The former moved with so
much caution that I was displeased; but Kilpatrick, on the
contrary, displayed so much zeal and activity that I was attracted
to him at once. He reached Fairburn Station, on the West Point
road, and tore it up, returning safely to his position on our right
flank. I summoned him to me, and was so pleased with his spirit
and confidence, that I concluded to suspend the general movement of
the main army, and to send him with his small division of cavalry
to break up the Macon road about Jonesboro, in the hopes that it
would force Hood to evacuate Atlanta, and that I should thereby not
only secure possession of the city itself, but probably could catch
Hood in the confusion of retreat; and, further to increase the
chances of success.

I ordered General Thomas to detach two brigades of Garrard's
division of cavalry from the left to the right rear, to act as a
reserve in support of General Kilpatrick. Meantime, also, the
utmost activity was ordered along our whole front by the infantry
and artillery. Kilpatrick got off during the night of the 18th,
and returned to us on the 22d, having made the complete circuit of
Atlanta. He reported that he had destroyed three miles of the
railroad about Jonesboro, which he reckoned would take ten days to
repair; that he had encountered a division of infantry and a
brigade of cavalry (Ross's); that he had captured a battery and
destroyed three of its guns, bringing one in as a trophy, and he
also brought in three battle-flags and seventy prisoners. On the
23d, however, we saw trains coming into Atlanta from the south,
when I became more than ever convinced that cavalry could not or
would not work hard enough to disable a railroad properly, and
therefore resolved at once to proceed to the execution of my
original plan. Meantime, the damage done to our own railroad and
telegraph by Wheeler, about Resaca and Dalton, had been repaired,
and Wheeler himself was too far away to be of any service to his
own army, and where he could not do us much harm, viz., up about
the Hiawaesee. On the 24th I rode down to the Chattahoochee
bridge, to see in person that it could be properly defended by the
single corps proposed to be left there for that purpose, and found
that the rebel works, which had been built by Johnston to resist
us, could be easily utilized against themselves; and on returning
to my camp, at that same evening, I telegraphed to General
Halleck as follows:

Heavy fires in Atlanta all day, caused by our artillery. I will be
all ready, and will commence the movement around Atlanta by the
south, tomorrow night, and for some time you will hear little of
us. I will keep open a courier line back to the Chattahoochee
bridge, by way of Sandtown. The Twentieth Corps will hold the
railroad-bridge, and I will move with the balance of the army,
provisioned for twenty days.

Meantime General Dodge (commanding the Sixteenth Corps) had been
wounded in the forehead, had gone to the rear, and his two
divisions were distributed to the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps.
The real movement commenced on the 25th, at night. The Twentieth
Corps drew back and took post at the railroad-bridge, and the
Fourth Corps (Stanley) moved to his right rear, closing up with the
Fourteenth Corps (Jeff. C. Davis) near Utoy Creek; at the same time
Garrard's cavalry, leaving their horses out of sight, occupied the
vacant trenches, so that the enemy did not detect the change at
all. The next night (26th) the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps,
composing the Army of the Tennessee (Howard), drew out of their
trenches, made a wide circuit, and came up on the extreme right of
the Fourth and Fourteenth Corps of the Army of the Cumberland
(Thomas) along Utoy Creek, facing south. The enemy seemed to
suspect something that night, using his artillery pretty freely;
but I think he supposed we were going to retreat altogether. An
artillery-shot, fired at random, killed one man and wounded
another, and the next morning some of his infantry came out of
Atlanta and found our camps abandoned. It was afterward related
that there was great rejoicing in Atlanta "that the Yankees were
gone;" the fact was telegraphed all over the South, and several
trains of cars (with ladies) came up from Macon to assist in the
celebration of their grand victory.

On the 28th (making a general left-wheel, pivoting on Schofield)
both Thomas and Howard reached the West Point Railroad, extending
from East Point to Red-Oak Station and Fairburn, where we spent the
next day (29th) in breaking it up thoroughly. The track was heaved
up in sections the length of a regiment, then separated rail by
rail; bonfires were made of the ties and of fence-rails on which
the rails were heated, carried to trees or telegraph-poles, wrapped
around and left to cool. Such rails could not be used again; and,
to be still more certain, we filled up many deep cuts with trees,
brush, and earth, and commingled with them loaded shells, so
arranged that they would explode on an attempt to haul out the
bushes. The explosion of one such shell would have demoralized a
gang of negroes, and thus would have prevented even the attempt to
clear the road.

Meantime Schofield, with the Twenty-third Corps, presented a bold
front toward East Point, daring and inviting the enemy to sally out
to attack him in position. His first movement was on the 30th, to
Mount Gilead Church, then to Morrow's Mills, facing Rough and
Ready. Thomas was on his right, within easy support, moving by
cross-roads from Red Oak to the Fayetteville road, extending from
Couch's to Renfrew's; and Howard was aiming for Jonesboro.

I was with General Thomas that day, which was hot but otherwise
very pleasant. We stopped for a short noon-rest near a little
church (marked on our maps as Shoal-Creek Church), which stood back
about a hundred yards from the road, in a grove of native oaks.
The infantry column had halted in the road, stacked their arms, and
the men were scattered about--some lying in the shade of the trees,
and others were bringing corn-stalks from a large corn-field across
the road to feed our horses, while still others had arms full of
the roasting-ears, then in their prime. Hundreds of fires were
soon started with the fence-rails, and the men were busy roasting
the ears. Thomas and I were walking up and down the road which led
to the church, discussing the chances of the movement, which he
thought were extra-hazardous, and our path carried us by a fire at
which a soldier was roasting his corn. The fire was built
artistically; the man was stripping the ears of their husks,
standing them in front of his fire, watching them carefully, and
turning each ear little by little, so as to roast it nicely. He
was down on his knees intent on his business, paying little heed to
the stately and serious deliberations of his leaders. Thomas's
mind was running on the fact that we had cut loose from our base of
supplies, and that seventy thousand men were then dependent for
their food on the chance supplies of the country (already
impoverished by the requisitions of the enemy), and on the contents
of our wagons. Between Thomas and his men there existed a most
kindly relation, and he frequently talked with them in the most
familiar way. Pausing awhile, and watching the operations of this
man roasting his corn, he said, "What are you doing?" The man
looked up smilingly "Why, general, I am laying in a supply of
provisions." "That is right, my man, but don't waste your
provisions." As we resumed our walk, the man remarked, in a sort
of musing way, but loud enough for me to hear: "There he goes,
there goes the old man, economizing as usual." "Economizing" with
corn, which cost only the labor of gathering and roasting!

As we walked, we could hear General Howard's guns at intervals,
away off to our right front, but an ominous silence continued
toward our left, where I was expecting at each moment to hear the
sound of battle. That night we reached Renfrew's, and had reports
from left to right (from General Schofield, about Morrow's Mills,
to General Howard, within a couple of miles of Jonesboro). The
next morning (August 31st) all moved straight for the railroad.
Schofield reached it near Rough and Ready, and Thomas at two points
between there and Jonesboro. Howard found an intrenched foe
(Hardee's corps) covering Jonesboro, and his men began at once to
dig their accustomed rifle-pits. Orders were sent to Generals
Thomas and Schofield to turn straight for Jonesboro, tearing up the
railroad-track as they advanced. About 3.00 p.m. the enemy
sallied from Jonesboro against the Fifteenth corps, but was easily
repulsed, and driven back within his lines. All hands were kept
busy tearing up the railroad, and it was not until toward evening
of the 1st day of September that the Fourteenth Corps (Davis)
closed down on the north front of Jonesboro, connecting on his
right with Howard, and his left reaching the railroad, along which
General Stanley was moving, followed by Schofield. General Davis
formed his divisions in line about 4 p.m., swept forward over some
old cotton-fields in full view, and went over the rebel parapet
handsomely, capturing the whole of Govan's brigade, with two
field-batteries of ten guns. Being on the spot, I checked Davis's
movement, and ordered General Howard to send the two divisions of
the Seventeenth Corps (Blair) round by his right rear, to get below
Jonesboro, and to reach the railroad, so as to cut off retreat in
that direction. I also dispatched orders after orders to hurry
forward Stanley, so as to lap around Jonesboro on the east, hoping
thus to capture the whole of Hardee's corps. I sent first Captain
Audenried (aide-de-camp), then Colonel Poe, of the Engineers, and
lastly General Thomas himself (and that is the only time during the
campaign I can recall seeing General Thomas urge his horse into a
gallop). Night was approaching, and the country on the farther
side of the railroad was densely wooded. General Stanley had come
up on the left of Davis, and was deploying, though there could not
have been on his front more than a skirmish-line. Had he moved
straight on by the flank, or by a slight circuit to his left, he
would have inclosed the whole ground occupied by Hardee's corps,
and that corps could not have escaped us; but night came on, and
Hardee did escape.

Meantime General Slocum had reached his corps (the Twentieth),
stationed at the Chattahoochee bridge, had relieved General A. S.
Williams in command, and orders had been sent back to him to feel
forward occasionally toward Atlanta, to observe the effect when we
had reached the railroad. That night I was so restless and
impatient that I could not sleep, and about midnight there arose
toward Atlanta sounds of shells exploding, and other sound like
that of musketry. I walked to the house of a farmer close by my
bivouac, called him out to listen to the reverberations which came
from the direction of Atlanta (twenty miles to the north of us),
and inquired of him if he had resided there long. He said he had,
and that these sounds were just like those of a battle. An
interval of quiet then ensued, when again, about 4 a.m., arose
other similar explosions, but I still remained in doubt whether the
enemy was engaged in blowing up his own magazines, or whether
General Slocum had not felt forward, and become engaged in a real

The next morning General Hardee was gone, and we all pushed forward
along the railroad south, in close pursuit, till we ran up against
his lines at a point just above Lovejoy's Station. While bringing
forward troops and feeling the new position of our adversary,
rumors came from the rear that the enemy had evacuated Atlanta, and
that General Slocum was in the city. Later in the day I received a
note in Slocum's own handwriting, stating that he had heard during
the night the very sounds that I have referred to; that he had
moved rapidly up from the bridge about daylight, and had entered
Atlanta unopposed. His letter was dated inside the city, so there
was no doubt of the fact. General Thomas's bivouac was but a short
distance from mine, and, before giving notice to the army in
general orders, I sent one of my staff-officers to show him the
note. In a few minutes the officer returned, soon followed by
Thomas himself, who again examined the note, so as to be perfectly
certain that it was genuine. The news seemed to him too good to be
true. He snapped his fingers, whistled, and almost danced, and, as
the news spread to the army, the shouts that arose from our men,
the wild hallooing and glorious laughter, were to us a full
recompense for the labor and toils and hardships through which we
had passed in the previous three months.

A courier-line was at once organized, messages were sent back and
forth from our camp at Lovejoy's to Atlanta, and to our telegraph-
station at the Chattahoochee bridge. Of course, the glad tidings
flew on the wings of electricity to all parts of the North, where
the people had patiently awaited news of their husbands, sons, and
brothers, away down in "Dixie Land;" and congratulations came
pouring back full of good-will and patriotism. This victory was
most opportune; Mr. Lincoln himself told me afterward that even he
had previously felt in doubt, for the summer was fast passing away;
that General Grant seemed to be checkmated about Richmond and
Petersburg, and my army seemed to have run up against an impassable
barrier, when, suddenly and unexpectedly, came the news that
"Atlanta was ours, and fairly won." On this text many a fine
speech was made, but none more eloquent than that by Edward
Everett, in Boston. A presidential election then agitated the
North. Mr. Lincoln represented the national cause, and General
McClellan had accepted the nomination of the Democratic party,
whose platform was that the war was a failure, and that it was
better to allow the South to go free to establish a separate
government, whose corner-stone should be slavery. Success to our
arms at that instant was therefore a political necessity; and it
was all-important that something startling in our interest should
occur before the election in November. The brilliant success at
Atlanta filled that requirement, and made the election of Mr.
Lincoln certain. Among the many letters of congratulation
received, those of Mr. Lincoln and General Grant seem most

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 3, 1864.

The national thanks are rendered by the President to Major-General
W. T. Sherman and the gallant officers and soldiers of his command
before Atlanta, for the distinguished ability and perseverance
displayed in the campaign in Georgia, which, under Divine favor,
has resulted in the capture of Atlanta. The marches, battles,
sieges, and other military operations, that have signalized the
campaign, must render it famous in the annals of war, and have
entitled those who have participated therein to the applause and
thanks of the nation.

President of the United States

CITY POINT VIRGINIA, September 4, 1864-9 P.M.

Major-General SHERMAN:
I have just received your dispatch announcing the capture of
Atlanta. In honor of your great victory, I have ordered a salute
to be fired with shotted guns from every battery bearing upon the
enemy. The salute will be fired within an hour, amid great

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

These dispatches were communicated to the army in general orders,
and we all felt duly encouraged and elated by the praise of those
competent to bestow it.

The army still remained where the news of success had first found
us, viz., Lovejoy's; but, after due refection, I resolved not to
attempt at that time a further pursuit of Hood's army, but slowly
and deliberately to move back, occupy Atlanta, enjoy a short period
of rest, and to think well over the next step required in the
progress of events. Orders for this movement were made on the 5th
September, and three days were given for each army to reach the
place assigned it, viz.: the Army of the Cumberland in and about
Atlanta; the Army of the Tennessee at East Point; and the Army of
the Ohio at Decatur.

Personally I rode back to Jonesboro on the 6th, and there inspected
the rebel hospital, full of wounded officers and men left by Hardee
in his retreat. The next night we stopped at Rough and Ready, and
on the 8th of September we rode into Atlanta, then occupied by the
Twentieth Corps (General Slocum). In the Court-House Square was
encamped a brigade, embracing the Massachusetts Second and Thirty-
third Regiments, which had two of the finest bands of the army, and
their music was to us all a source of infinite pleasure during our
sojourn in that city. I took up my headquarters in the house of
Judge Lyons, which stood opposite one corner of the Court-House
Square, and at once set about a measure already ordered, of which I
had thought much and long, viz., to remove the entire civil
population, and to deny to all civilians from the rear the expected
profits of civil trade. Hundreds of sutlers and traders were
waiting at Nashville and Chattanooga, greedy to reach Atlanta with
their wares and goods, with, which to drive a profitable trade with
the inhabitants. I gave positive orders that none of these
traders, except three (one for each separate army), should be
permitted to come nearer than Chattanooga; and, moreover, I
peremptorily required that all the citizens and families resident
in Atlanta should go away, giving to each the option to go south or
north, as their interests or feelings dictated. I was resolved to
make Atlanta a pure military garrison or depot, with no civil
population to influence military measures. I had seen Memphis,
Vicksburg, Natchez, and New Orleans, all captured from the enemy,
and each at once was garrisoned by a full division of troops, if
not more; so that success was actually crippling our armies in the
field by detachments to guard and protect the interests of a
hostile population.

I gave notice of this purpose, as early as the 4th of September, to
General Halleck, in a letter concluding with these words:

If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will
answer that war is war, and not popularity-seeking. If they want
peace, they and their relatives most stop the war.

I knew, of course, that such a measure would be strongly
criticised, but made up my mind to do it with the absolute
certainty of its justness, and that time would sanction its wisdom.
I knew that the people of the South would read in this measure two
important conclusions: one, that we were in earnest; and the other,
if they were sincere in their common and popular clamor "to die in
the last ditch," that the opportunity would soon come.

Soon after our reaching Atlanta, General Hood had sent in by a flag
of truce a proposition, offering a general exchange of prisoners,
saying that he was authorized to make such an exchange by the
Richmond authorities, out of the vast number of our men then held
captive at Andersonville, the same whom General Stoneman had hoped
to rescue at the time of his raid. Some of these prisoners had
already escaped and got in, had described the pitiable condition of
the remainder, and, although I felt a sympathy for their hardships
and sufferings as deeply as any man could, yet as nearly all the
prisoners who had been captured by us during the campaign had been
sent, as fast as taken, to the usual depots North, they were then
beyond my control. There were still about two thousand, mostly
captured at Jonesboro, who had been sent back by cars, but had not
passed Chattanooga. These I ordered back, and offered General Hood
to exchange them for Stoneman, Buell, and such of my own army as
would make up the equivalent; but I would not exchange for his
prisoners generally, because I knew these would have to be sent to
their own regiments, away from my army, whereas all we could give
him could at once be put to duty in his immediate army. Quite an
angry correspondence grew up between us, which was published at the
time in the newspapers, but it is not to be found in any book of
which I have present knowledge, and therefore is given here, as
illustrative of the events referred to, and of the feelings of the
actors in the game of war at that particular crisis, together with
certain other original letters of Generals Grant and Halleck, never
hitherto published.

CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, September 12, 1864

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

GENERAL: I send Lieutenant-Colonel Horace Porter, of my staff, with
this. Colonel Porter will explain to you the exact condition of
affairs here, better than I can do in the limits of a letter.
Although I feel myself strong enough now for offensive operations,
I am holding on quietly, to get advantage of recruits and
convalescents, who are coming forward very rapidly. My lines are
necessarily very long, extending from Deep Bottom, north of the
James, across the peninsula formed by the Appomattox and the James,
and south of the Appomattox to the Weldon road. This line is very
strongly fortified, and can be held with comparatively few men;
but, from its great length, necessarily takes many in the
aggregate. I propose, when I do move, to extend my left so as to
control what is known as the Southside, or Lynchburg & Petersburg
road; then, if possible, to keep the Danville road out. At the
same time this move is made, I want to send a force of from six to
ten thousand men against Wilmington. The way I propose to do this
is to land the men north of Fort Fisher, and hold that point. At
the same time a large naval fleet will be assembled there, and the
iron-clads will run the batteries as they did at Mobile. This will
give us the same control of the harbor of Wilmington that we now
have of the harbor of Mobile. What you are to do with the forces
at your command, I do not exactly see. The difficulties of
supplying your army, except when they are constantly moving beyond
where you are, I plainly see. If it had not been for Price's
movement, Canby could have sent twelve thousand more men to Mobile.
From your command on the Mississippi, an equal number could have
been taken. With these forces, my idea would have been to divide
them, sending one-half to Mobile, and the other half to Savannah.
You could then move as proposed in your telegram, so as to threaten
Macon and Augusta equally. Whichever one should be abandoned by
the enemy, you could take and open up a new base of supplies. My
object now in sending a staff-officer to you is not so much to
suggest operations for you as to get your views, and to have plans
matured by the time every thing can be got ready. It would
probably be the 5th of October before any of the plans here
indicated will be executed. If you have any promotions to
recommend, send the names forward, and I will approve them.

In conclusion, it is hardly necessary for me to say that I feel you
have accomplished the most gigantic undertaking given to any
general in this war, and with a skill and ability that will be
acknowledged in history as unsurpassed, if not unequaled. It gives
me as much pleasure to record this in your favor as it would in
favor of any living man, myself included.
Truly yours,

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

IN THE FIELD, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, September 20, 1864.

Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, Commander-in-Chief, City Point,

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge, at the hands of
Lieutenant Colonel Porter, of your staff, your letter of September
12th, and accept with thanks the honorable and kindly mention
of the services of this army in the great cause in which we are all

I send by Colonel Porter all official reports which are completed,
and will in a few days submit a list of names which are deemed
worthy of promotion.

I think we owe it to the President to save him the invidious task
of selection among the vast number of worthy applicants, and have
ordered my army commanders to prepare their lists with great care,
and to express their preferences, based upon claims of actual
capacity and services rendered.

These I will consolidate, and submit in such a form that, if
mistakes are made, they will at least be sanctioned by the best
contemporaneous evidence of merit, for I know that vacancies do not
exist equal in number to that of the officers who really deserve

As to the future, I am pleased to know that your army is being
steadily reinforced by a good class of men, and I hope it will go
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 would 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
familes 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

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 bayouet,
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 would 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

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