ELLEN EWING SHERMAN
Nashville, April 27, 1864
I wrote you a long letter yesterday sending you a check for $300. Last night, I got yours of the 23rd, one from Minnie same date and one from your father, all of which I answer today, for tomorrow I start for Chattanooga and at once prepare for the coming campaign. I will have 20,000 less men than I calculated for the Red River disaster, and two Divisions of McPherson, whose furlough won’t expire. These furloughs have as I feared impaired if not lost us this campaign. When men get home they forget their comrades here, and though Governors are very patriotic in offers of troops their acts fall far short of their promises. Our armies are now weaker than at any former period of the war. My old corps has dwindled away to 10,000 though we had promises that all the Regiments would come with two or three hundred Recruits each. But the recruits seem to have pocketed the money and like selfish men staid at home.
I will begin with Schofield 12,000 Infantry & 5000 cavalry. Thomas 40,000 Infantry & 5000 cavalry, and McPherson 20,000 Infantry and 5000 cavalry, combined it is a big army, and a good one, and it will take a strong opposition to Stop us once in motion.
Dalton will be our first Point, Kingston next, then Alatoona and then Atlanta. All the attacks of the enemy on Paducah, Fort Pillow and in North Carolina are to draw us off from our Concentration. As soon as we move, they will attempt to cut in behind & cut our Roads and fight us in front, so we are forced to detach men, to guard our Railroads all the way from Louisville to Chattanooga.
I send you parcels of photographs which I trust are the last I will have to endure for a long time. I will leave General Webster & Major Sawyer here, and take with me McCoy, Dayton, Audenreid and some chiefs of artillery subsistence engineers &c. but my staff will be comparatively small.
I expect to be at Chattanooga till May 5 and then on. Address your letters to Nashville.
W. T. Sherman